Cathy Worthington Moen
Horses are what led me down the path to finding my rancher husband. I’ve loved horses since I was old enough to know what they were. As a toddler, I wore out two sets of springs on a toy jumping horse. Mom had me on a strict hotdog diet because it was easier than prying a screaming two-year-old off her horse at mealtimes. Every year I asked Santa for a horse. That is, until second grade when a bully on the playground told me Santa wasn’t real. That was the day the music died and I found out my parents were liars. They used the excuse a horse wouldn’t fit in Santa’s sleigh. There never was a sleigh! I also had to assume there wasn’t an Easter Bunny, which had always been met with skepticism anyway. Flying reindeer? Absolutely! A rabbit that pooped jellybeans and liked bad chocolate? Not!
I never gave up on my dream of owning a horse, but in the meantime, I had access to horses through relatives and friends. I carefully chose my girlfriends and boyfriends based on whether they had horses or cars or both as I couldn’t afford either. I even dropped out of college to marry a guy who had lots of horses, but not a lot of foresight. He decided reality and a wife were getting in the way of his plans and I decided I wasn’t that desperate for a horse. I found a new place to live with roommates who were much more grounded, and they even had horses. I eventually re-enrolled in college and finished my degree despite the temporary setback. My parents gave me a saddle as a graduation gift, but I was really hoping for a horse.
I married my college tutor, aka, boyfriend a week after graduating. He wasn’t into horses, but he was the reason I had a degree, so I owed him. We both found good jobs so I could finally afford a horse of my own. I found a sweet little red gelding through a family friend and named him “Jack.” Oh, how I loved that horse! My relationship with Jack lasted longer than the marriage with my tutor, however, the union gave me a beautiful daughter. I moved on as a single mom with a preschooler, Jack, and a dog to support. It was a struggle at times, but I managed to keep everyone alive.
There actually came a point when I thought about selling Jack as I couldn’t justify the expense anymore. Then friends told me about an equestrian drill team looking for new riders and suggested I try out. I took their suggestion and made the team. Now I had a good reason to be horse broke. It was through the drill team that I was introduced to team roping and my next husband. Our coach was a team roper and held jackpots in his arena. The drill team earned travel money at the jackpots through a concession stand and we were the chute help. It didn’t take me long to tire of that gig and I decided team roping would be way more fun than flipping burgers or pushing obstinate steers down alleys ankle-deep in manure. Unfortunately, my beloved Jack was not a rope horse, so I learned to rope on borrowed horses. Finding a rope horse of my own became the new mission. Can you say déjà vu?