Stacy Westfall explains the language of horses. Photo © Nancy D. Brown
I had no idea what to expect when I stepped off the plane in Missoula for a three day weekend of wine, women and horsemanship. I was immediately put at ease when I walked into the Paws Up dining room and was greeted by Cowgirl Hall of Fame (CHOF) honoree and pro photographer Barbara Van Cleve of Big Timber, Montana. With her white felt hat and blue ribbon smile, I was warmly welcomed into the cowgirl fold.
If you own horses, you know that they operate similar to a chicken flock pecking order. Sometimes the new horse in the pasture is reminded quickly that his position in the herd is low on the totem pole. Fortunately, this was not the case at the Cowgirl Spring Roundup. Introductions were made at the Baroness welcome dinner hosted by Paws Up co-owner Nadine Lipson & National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame Executive Director Pat Riley. Their friendly demeanor of let me show you the ropes offered from the head mare’s perspective, with a little bit of silly filly mixed in, set the tone for the extended weekend. Needless to say, I was chomping at the bit to explore this 37,000 acre cowgirl playground.