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Texas Adventures with Downunder Horsemanship: Part 1

Working at The Cheshire Horse is a great job for many reasons: I get to talk about horses all day, I’m constantly exposed to new products and new people, my co-workers are as horse crazy as I am, and my boss is totally on board when I ask for three weeks off in order to go to a Clinton Anderson clinic in Texas.

I’m honestly still not sure how all this happened, but I currently find myself in a hotel in Ohio with my dad (who generously volunteered to come with me) having completed the first day of a three-day trek to the Downunder Horsemanship Ranch in Stephenville, TX.

The building panic I am feeling reassures me that this is real, but the last thing I remember is sitting in the audience at Clinton Anderson’s Walkabout Tour in Albany a couple weeks ago and thinking, “Wow, I bet it would be amazing to take a clinic with him.” Fast forward, and here I am, a couple miles away from finding out first-hand.

Any shock I am experiencing about this trip must only pale in comparison to that of my unsuspecting horse Waylon. I bought him about three years ago as a very green but fun little project. I am a hunter rider through-and-through, but after doing some Western riding in college I decided that there was a cowgirl deep down inside of me that needed to come out. Spur-of-the-moment decisions are apparently a pattern for me, because not long after picking up western riding I went out and bought the most western looking Quarter Horse I could find. I even gave him the most western name I could think of — though I only throw in his last name of Jennings when he is really in trouble.

I guess that the cowgirl in me is buried a little deeper than I thought, so up until now I have pretty much only ridden Waylon in English tack. I knew there was no way I could take this horse to Texas — the cowboy capital of the world — and ride him in my usual hunter garb. So, the past few weeks have consisted of a complete cowgirl transformation. Luckily I work at The Cheshire Horse, and we have been continually expanding our western section. If you ask me, Waylon now looks completely legit in his new Professional’s Choice VenTech Boots, his Merino Wool cinch, and an uber fancy Equibrand saddle pad. Oh, and actually using a western saddle now has been a nice touch too!


The author and her horse, Waylon

While he pulls off the look quite convincingly, I look about as awkward as a young girl in full-on costume jewelry and clown makeup. Trading in my Tailoreds for Wranglers, and my tall boots for Tombstones has been quite the adjustment. I must say though, I now totally get the walking around in western spurs thing, even when you clearly are nowhere remotely close to a horse. The rhythmic jingle and distinctive look gives you a certain air, and it certainly adds confidence to your gait. However, I recently learned that nothing will wipe out my undeserved spur swagger than attempting to walk down a flight of stairs. That’s definitely going to leave a mark!

So, here we are, about to go to school in all our new clothes and hopefully learn a ton and make new friends. Waylon is currently in a lovely horse hotel down the road, sleeping in even better digs than we have at our Holiday Inn hotel. He is already exceeding my expectations and traveling like an absolute dream. Before I left The Cheshire Horse on Thursday, I restocked his EQ8 Gut Health grain and picked up UlcerGard, electrolytes, and mineral oil to make his trip as comfortable as possible. I’m sure my anxiety will skyrocket as we get closer to Texas, but as of now, we are all relaxed, happy, and enjoying the trip.

I will keep you updated on this crazy and exciting adventure, and I can’t wait to see where it takes us. Next stop, Arkansas!



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