Realizing a Dream…

My mother is a school teacher with a love of traveling.  I remember in elementary school being loaded up in her suburban to drive across the country.  Normally we headed to Wyoming and Montana (a good long drive from Florida!) because my dad is a devoted fly fisherman and has always had a true love for the area’s trout streams…

My brother and I taking turns fly fishing…

When we arrived after many days of driving, my dad would fly out and meet us.  What followed were days of riding horses to high mountain streams in search of trout.

During those long days of driving, I spent a lot of time daydreaming as I looked out of the car window.  As we approached the mountains of Wyoming, I would sometimes see cowboys moving cattle on horseback.  I would pretend that it was me and dream of the day when I could play cowgirl.

A great teacher who instilled a love of the outdoors and horses deep into my soul…Al, a horse and fly fishing enthusiast, getting ready to take me and my dad deep into the wilds of the Montana mountains.

As I grew older and became a competitive swimmer, the family driving trips ceased due to my swimming meet schedule but we still would fly out to the trout streams of Montana every summer before school started.  By high school, I had moved on from my childhood world of pretend, but the dream of riding horses and learning about cattle lay tucked somewhere deep in my heart.

When I met my farm boy from Nebraska at Dartmouth, little did I know that love would bring me to a farm in rural America where my childhood dreams would literally come true.  I have to admit that there is a lot more hard work involved than I had ever imagined, but the life that I lead in Nebraska is not far from what I dreamed of as a child.

Learning to be a cowgirl is a reality for her—she is lucky enough to live the dream…

Last Sunday, my middle daughter and I moved cattle on horseback down at our grass pasture.  That morning something triggered a sense of deja’ vu and memories of long ago dreams flooded my mind as the two of us moved the cattle.  I remembered that little girl looking out the car window and watching the cowboys, and realized that I had become the heroine of my childhood daydreams…

Trailing the cattle—Megan and Magnum lead the way while Dandy and I encouraged the cattle to follow…

My view of a cowboy has changed over the years.  I will never be exactly like those men moving cattle thirty years ago in the mountains of Montana, but I do spend my days caring for cattle and I have a love of horses that runs deep to my core.  I realized Sunday morning how much I loved what I do, and what a beautiful blessing it is to be able to teach it to my daughter.

Dandy’s ears show that he is alert and doing his job well. In turn, I take a moment to document “the dream” with my IPhone while on his back…

I do not know exactly what my parents had in mind when they took me to those mountains year after year, but those trips planted the idea of doing something different with my life—Something tied to nature in rural America.

Her hair is blonder than mine ever was, but she gets that same spark in her eyes when she gets to be a cowgirl

Today I live in a state where cattle outnumber people 4 to 1.  I spend my days caring for animals and raising my children in God’s Country.

What more could any little girl with big dreams wish for?


Filed under Foodie Work!, General

10 responses to “Realizing a Dream…

  1. J Cooper

    I started riding at age 3 on a gentle mare in a round pen, but the time I was a 6th grader my dad would pull me out of school on days when we gathered and shipped our calves. We are out the cattle biz now to concentrate on the farming but I miss those days and life’s lessons….

    • J–Those days make beautiful memories in addition to teaching wonderful life lessons. Thanks for reading and commenting. I am glad that my post brought back good memories for you.


  2. Bill

    Your parents are awesome.

  3. What a great heart-felt post. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Anne, you inspire me. I have always wanted to learn to ride. Instead of a horse, I got a bike. Need to put those riding lessons at the top of my bucket list! Adorable photo of you and your brother fishing btw 🙂

    • Hi Aimee,

      I not only enjoy riding, but I just plain love to be around my horses. They are amazing animals and teach me many things. I hope that you get your riding lessons some day!

      My brother and I might look adorable, but we were most likely plotting something ornery to do at the same time 🙂


  5. As a child, I always wanted to be a cowgirl too and luckily my parents allowed me to purchase my first horse. Nowadays, people tell me when they see me ride that they could do what I do. It makes me feels so blessed to have been given the chance to be a real cowgirl

    Where the Blacktop Begins

    • Nicole-

      Being able to understand and care for animals is a tremendous gift. It sounds as though we have both been blessed with the ability to do this!

      Thanks for reading and commenting,

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