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From “Cow Girl” to “CowGirl” – How I Bought my First Horse


I got bit by the “horse bug” at a really young age. It may have been the Breyer horses that my grandma gave to me for my birthday one year. However it happened, I was obsessed. My parents knew nothing about horses, but by the time I was 8, I was already scheming up a plan to fulfill my dream of being a horse-owner. Low and behold, for some reason, my parents wouldn’t just buy me a pony (which blows your mind when you’re 8 years old). Terrified that I would quickly grow tired of a horse, or not realize how much work they actually are, they came up with every excuse to try to deter me. But I would not give up! They agreed that I needed to prove that I was responsible enough to take care of a horse, and I was going to have to pay for it on my own. “How in the world is a kid my age going to pay for a horse?”, I thought. I wasn’t sure, but I was going to find a way.

One hot summer day, our neighbor, Ed, stopped by to say hello. Ed owns a cattle farm and while he was chatting with my father, he wanted to talk about something special with me. My dad, Ed, and I sat on the porch on our old farmhouse, and the conversation went something like this:

Ed: So, Olivia, now that you’re 8, I think it’s time you join 4-H and show a cow.
Olivia: A cow?
Ed: Yeah, you’re old enough to join 4-H now, and I think you need to be showing a steer at the fair.
Olivia: Are you kidding me? Why would I want a cow? I don’t want a cow. I want a horse.
Ed: Why would you want a horse? You could make some good money off a cow!

While I was slightly offended that Ed could not understand my need for a horse, a sudden light bulb popped into my head: “Maybe if I bought a cow, I could prove to my parents that I was responsible enough to take care of a horse, and then I could sell the cow at the fair and have enough money to buy my very own horse!” It seemed like a win-win situation in my book. My Dad agreed to this deal, and at 8 years old, I invested my life savings (which, at the time, was $500), into buying a steer. I named him Glitterboy, and every day for a year, I would get up early in the morning and I would feed my cow. Glitterboy and I would practice showmanship in the yard almost every day, and a year later at the fair, we won 3rd in our class!

Not only did I prove to my parents that I was responsible enough to take care of a horse, but I also had enough money to buy my very own horse! After a long search of local ads in newspapers, I found the one – a beautiful 8 year old Palomino Quarter Horse mare. Her name was Ima Cajun Princess, and she certainly lived up to her name – a complete Princess! She had a need for speed, and everything I learned about barrel racing, I learned on her! She taught me about patience, teamwork, and how to be fearless. Now, over 15 years later, she enjoys spending her days on our farm in Western PA, and teaching another horse-lover those same values she taught me. She was perfect in every way, and I do not think I would be where I am today as an equestrian without her.

Posted in Stories & Adventures

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