Little Pieces of My Heart

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Her grandma swings her up in the saddle, to sit in front of me. She giggles and plops down with the horn between her little legs, and says “Go, ma, go!” Her tiny little hands grab a hold of the reins like this isn’t the first time she’s done this. My heart immediately melts, and there is a bit of a lump in my throat as her grandmother and I exchange a glance of knowingness. We take off towards the pairs of mother cows and their calves, while the two year old in my lap sings a concoction of songs learned in the back seat of the car and from daycare. Never have I seen her so at ease with the horses, or the cows for that matter. She is my baby; a little girl who usually wants nothing more to do with the horses than a quick pet of their neck or kiss on their face. But here she is, whooping and hollering and laughing as we push the pairs across the creek, into the corrals and up the alley. I worry about how in the world I am going to hold onto her as the pairs split and half of them turn back on me; but she doesn’t appear to care. My dad’s big horse picks up a trot, and while I brace myself for her to start crying, she starts laughing instead and says, “bumpy, momma, he’s bumpy!” I feel a big dumb grin spread across my face, and the sweetest warmth of pride spread through my heart. On one of the most stressful days of the year on our place, here she is, calming my nerves and soothing my jitters without even knowing any different. I always envisioned the day that my kids would be old enough to help us ride, and be excited about helping out on the ranch; but to be honest, what I imagined was nothing like the real thing.  The reality of how well they adapt to things that I never got to do as a little kid amazes the hell out of me.

She seems to know what she is doing...

She seems to know what she is doing…

Tired horses make the best babysitters and teachers. I could not have imagined that my four- and two- year olds would ride all afternoon while we preg-tested our cows, but they did. Of course I lucked out and had the best seat in the house, right behind the two year old on her grandpa’s horse. Her sister spent all afternoon in the saddle all by herself; of course her grammy was near at all times to help get old “Doc” moving along. The girls didn’t whine, cry, or ask to get off and on and back off again; they were clearly content and happy to help grammy and grandpa with the business at hand. Their dad and I were beyond proud that they were so excited to help; both of us envisioned a much more stressful afternoon spent chasing crabby little drama queens. Must have been the weather, the horses, or maybe the fact that they each had their own horse and their own little jobs. It couldn’t have been better. As I think about it now, my eyes well up a little bit as it hits me that my babies are growing up; and I realize I couldn’t be more thankful for the things I have given up for myself the last few years to make sure that they get to have opportunities like this. And I couldn’t be more proud of the life they will grow up knowing and being a part of; these little pieces of my heart riding in the saddle beside me make me the happiest cowgirl in the world.

Everything is good when Grammy has the reins.

Everything is good when Grammy has the reins.

I hope you all get the chance to watch your kids fall in love with something you love; horses, cattle, whatever– there ain’t nothing better. ~ Richelle


Posted in: Featured, Ranch Life, Uncategorized

About Richelle Barrett

Richelle is a part time rancher, home office manager, full time wife, mother, and Customer Service Rep at the local telephone cooperative. She was born, raised, and lives on her parent's ranch in the North- Central part of Montana; and spends most days...

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