I’m a city girl now, but recently I spent time with a friend of my mother’s, Janet, and her son, Bill. These are my horse people from my past. Janet is 92, a retired school teacher. When she got older (her fifties), she transferred her love of trail riding and horse breeding to raise miniature horses. Not just for fun. She competed in cart events with her minis. She’s been featured in the Rose Parade more than once. She used to say she worked to support her horse habit. She told me she still has four “old men” in the stable and she still mucks out stalls every day. Did I mention she’s 92?
Bill is older than I am by maybe five years. He still wears blue jeans and boots, and rubs his hand over his hair as if wondering where his cowboy hat went to when he’s inside with company. Monday through Friday Bill works in administration at a university in the department that specializes in training large animal veterinarians. But just about every weekend you can find Bill at a rodeo where he competes in cutting horse competitions. He told me he doesn’t raise and train cutting horses anymore. It’s too expensive, costing in excess of a hundred thousand dollars! For one horse! He recently got “a sweet deal” (his words, not mine) on a cutting horse for $15,000!
Bill and Janet are examples of the contemporary west. Very few cowboys (or cowgirls) can make a living on the land. But they perpetuate the horse sport by finding “respectable” day work. Every once in awhile, I like to return to my roots and my horse people to reconnect with their passion and the nostalgia for the way it used to be. Still, it’s fun to read a story about a wealthy cowboy, one who’s built up a big spread but has never found the right woman.
His family committed a terrible wrong.
Ben Blackwell wants to make it right.
The last time Ben saw Rachel Thompson was when her best friend left him at the altar. Now Rachel’s suing the Blackwells over river water rights. Rachel’s a triple threat—rancher, fellow attorney and single mom—and Ben’s plan to win in court hits a snag when mutual attraction blooms. If he divulges a long-held secret, will his family forgive him? Will Rachel?