I’m so thrilled to have my friend, and writer, Lilian Darcy write for Montana Born. Lilian is a five-time RITA nominee. She’s award-winning — she’s so talented. And I’m so happy to be able to know her. I just love her story, MARRY ME, COWBOY. It’s feminine, it’s sexy, it’s lovely and it’s a great addition to Montana Born’s Copper Mountain Rodeo Series.
Those Horsey Girls
It was such a treat for me to write about an Australian girl who lives for horses and turns riding them into a profession, because this describes my daughter down to a T, and I’m so proud of her. She’s not a rodeo rider like MARRY ME, COWBOY heroine Tegan Ash, but like Tegan she’s come up through Pony Club and honed her riding skills in that wonderful, supportive horsey environment. Like Tegan, she’s attended the Pony Club of New South Wales annual State Camp, and in fact the T-shirt that Tegan wears in Chapter Four is an exact match to the one my daughter has from State Camp this year.
I love writing about strong women, and there’s nothing like a horsey girl for demonstrating all the ways women can be strong, especially a horsey girl who struggles to ride on a limited budget like my daughter and my heroine. They care about their animals more than they care about themselves, for a start. More than once I’ve been at competitions where there’s a rider down on the ground after a fall. She might have broken a collar-bone or earned bruises all along her side, she might be groaning or bleeding, but no matter how badly hurt she is, if she’s conscious the first thing she’ll ask is, “How’s my horse? Is my horse okay?”
Horsey girls and cowgirls are strong enough to be outside in the worst weather, feeding or rugging or unrugging their horses, checking their water supply, checking their fences. This January, my daughter had a test ride on a horse she was looking to buy when the temperature was over 43 degrees Centigrade. That’s 110 Fahrenheit. In the shade. She didn’t ride him for very long that day, not because she wasn’t coping with the heat, but because she was worried that he wouldn’t. Still, despite the short ride, she loved him and we bought him and he’s beautiful!
Horsey girls are generous enough to cheer their friends’ successes, even on the inevitable days when their own rides haven’t gone so well. Horsey girls are more than happy to have a boyfriend, if he’s the right kind of guy, but they don’t put up with bad behaviour from their equine partners so they sure has heck won’t put up with it from their boyfriends, either. Any man who falls in love with a horsey girl is going to have to keep up himself to her high standards, but if he does, he’ll have a life partner who is incredibly courageous and good-hearted and hard-working, with none of the high maintenance nonsense that some women expect. None of the human high maintenance, that is. Let’s just hope he can handle the horsey high maintenance, because some of those vet bills and equine dentist bills are going to make his eyes pop.
Horsey girls care. They beat themselves up when they have a bad competition, and you’ll never hear the good ones blaming the horse. “It was my fault we took that jump wrong,” they’ll say. “It was my fault the barrel went down.”
When you read Tegan’s story, I hope you’ll think of it as a celebration of all those horsey girls. Maybe you’re close to one, too. If so, I’d love to hear about her.
– Lilian Darcy