Friday, April 25, 2014

Rodeo: American as Apple Pie

If you share my passion for horses, anything horses normally peaks my interest.  With spring and summer comes trail riding, horse shows, and competitive events like RODEO!!!!  That prompted me to do a bit of research to learn more about the history of rodeo and bring you just a few facts.  Rodeo began back as early as the 1820s and 30s where cowboys and vaqueros would burn some of that extra energy during their down time testing each other’s skills.  After the Civil War this country sparked a competitive spirit and in 1872 the first actual competitive rodeo was held in Cheyenne, Wyoming.  As time went on, somewhere around 1910, rodeos became public entertainment.  Out of that era came Buffalo Bill Cody, Annie Oakley and many others.

As interest began to grow somewhere around the 1930s, rodeos went to the big cities all around the U.S. and formal organizations with standardizations were created such as the Calgary Stampede, Cheyenne Frontier Days and the Pendleton Round-Up.

Women began to get involved very early on, somewhere around the turn of the century.  Women brought “trick riding” to the event and it has blossomed since then to barrel racing, pole bending, and team roping.

By the 1970s, rodeo saw tremendous growth which brought media attention which brought big name sponsors thus big “purses”.  It gathered the attention of folks that had no connection to ranching or the cowboy way of life but saw rodeo as an athletic event with big pay-offs.

In my view, rodeo is as much of our heritage as Mom, hot dogs and Apple pie.  Rodeo contestants are a special breed.  To me they seem fearless when that bull rider climbs aboard that 2000 pound steer to see how long he can stay aboard until he is thrown off or that pick-up rider comes to his rescue.  Or that barrel racer that speeds around those barrels leaning over until their boots nearly drag on the ground.  Now that’s fearless!!!!

As summer rodeo season approaches, lets keep our fellow cowboys and cowgirls at the forefront, support their activities and wish for their well-being.   With the technology boom and the fast passed life we all live, we need to keep alive the spirit of generations past that have made us what we are today.  So take time to attend a rodeo, a roping or cutting, or barrel racing event.

We would love to hear about your “fearless” cowboy or cowgirl.  Give us an idea of their challenges, rewards and don’t forget their horses!!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Butterfly Dreams Farm: Committed to Improving the Lives of Autistic Children through Horses

My husband and I were recently reminded that miracles really do happen! We drove to Watkinsville,

Georgia, a small town near our home town, and paid a visit to Butterfly Dreams Farm a facility that

conducts Therapeutic and Hippotherapy Riding Programs. A nine acre facility where individuals and

professionals volunteer their time to assist children with special needs. Not knowing exactly what

to expect, we were greeted by a peacock, a flock of chickens, two baby goats and a stable of seven

beautiful horses. When we arrived there was a lesson in progress on Merlin, one of the retired high

level dressage horses. It was explained to us that this big fellow was enjoying his retirement, but his

long stride provides a rhythmic motion that allowed the autistic child to relax and fall right into his

long graceful gate. It was heartwarming to see this child conclude his lesson much more relaxed and

physically coordinated.

Butterfly Dreams Farm is a non-profit organization with a staff that includes a speech pathologist, a

physical therapist, four therapeutic riding instructors, a barn manager and seven gentle, patient and

loving horses. Volunteers are relied upon to help with all lessons and horse care. E-Tackroom and I

personally are proud to be able to say we are a part of Butterfly Dreams Farm with a mission to assist

this amazing group to raise money for their outstanding accomplishments. You will be hearing more

from us in the coming months as we become more involved.

With cold weather and blanketing our horses finally coming to a close and fly and nylon sheets the next

item on our list of essentials for our horses, E-Tackroom is proud to donate 10% of the sale on every

nylon and fly sheet to Butterfly Dreams Farm to assist with the children’s scholorships.