Pistol Tote’n Cowgirl

March 2, 2011

  My history with horses…

Photo cowgirl on pony

Biggest smile this side of the moon!

My all time favorite photo of myself as a child is of me on a shaggy pinto pony. I’m wearing a red cowboy hat, a matching vest, a gun belt with a pair of cap pistols, and the biggest smile this side of the moon.

This simply marvelous event occurred because a traveling photographer was cruising down the street one hot, lazy summer day in my rural Florida neighborhood, saw all the kids playing in the yard, and knew there were bucks to be made. He stopped his pickup truck at the edge of our yard, unloaded the pony – complete with saddle and bridle – from the back, and asked who wanted their photo taken on the pony.

DUHH!! Every kid there would have traded a year’s allowance to have their picture taken on that pony! We all broke the sound barrier as we took off in separate directions for our respective parents.

When we returned the photographer pulled a hat, a vest, and pistols from the front of the truck. We stood there with mouths hanging open! Not only were we going to have our pictures taken on a PONY!! We were going to get to wear full cowboy outfits with fringe and everything!

The pony was a real sweetheart and had obviously been doing this for most of its life. His name was Shorty, and he was black and white with big eyes and a gentle disposition. He had a thick shaggy mane and was all dolled up in cowpony gear completel with a heart-shaped breastplate and naturally every parent wanted a photo of the littlest kids on it. Of course, I was one of the oldest and the biggest so I had to wait for what seemed hours for my turn.

Finally, after every other kid in the neighborhood had their turn, I was allowed to dress in the paraphernalia of a cowboy. When I was ready to get on the pony the photographer smiled, reached into the truck, and handed me a pair of leather chaps with fringes on them. I was absolutely ecstatic! I was no girl! I was SPECIAL. I was a COWGIRL.

I had never been on a pony before, but I watched Little Joe Cartwright and Matt Dillon mount all the time and I knew exactly how to do it. So when the photographer reached out to pick me up and put me on the pony I had a fit and told him in no uncertain terms, “I know how to get on!” Up I climbed, onto the pony.

When I poked my toe into the side of the pony and the stirrup surprised me by swinging forward as I mounted (that never happened to Little Joe or Matt), he helped by just putting his hand on my back to keep me from ending up flat on my back on the ground under the pony. My embarassment evaporated in my excitement at being on a real live pony!

He took five photos of me on the pony. Waving the gun around, hat forward, hat back, guns in holsters, and the last one with a gun in each hand.

After the photos were taken Mom made my whole summer when she paid him extra to lead the pony around with me on it. I was probably on the pony for all of ten minutes, but during that time I managed to convince him that I knew how to ride a horse from watching it on TV. He let me take the reins for the last circle and ‘steer’ the pony myself. I must have bored everyone to death bragging about that for at least a year.

About a week later the photographer returned with five proofs and I was allowed to choose the photo I liked best. I still have a copy of that photo.

What an awesome summer that was! It’s my first memory of actually sitting on a ‘horse’.

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One Response to “Pistol Tote’n Cowgirl”

  1. Mark Valcour said

    Awww! – that photo is just too cute!… It’s a lot of fun to read and see where the ‘trail’ began with you and yer horsies. I was looking forward to seeing lots of photos of your horses from over the years on this blog. But I never saw THAT photo coming!
    I have a ‘soft spot’ for pintos – and happy cowgirls too. I’ll date myself by saying: “Dale Evans’ got nothin’ on you!” Happy trails – and try to keep those pistols holstered!

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