An accomplished horsewoman and entrepreneur, Elizabeth Brumbaugh Quirk discusses what the cowgirl lifestyle means to her and how it influences her life – in and outside the competition circuit.
The term “cowgirl” is a word loosely defined in today’s world. The general public classifies people from Texas as cowboys and cowgirls who surely ride their horses to town on a daily basis – if they only knew! The heritage and legacy that surrounds the American Cowgirl is illustrious and laced with grit, determination, and a passion for livestock.
More than a Word
My affiliation with the word is rather refined. By no means do I consider myself resourceful around the barn or useful in fixing fences or the varied tasks that encompass being a cowgirl. I am a rancher’s daughter, a champion for the welfare of the equine industry, and a competitor on horseback. When I think of a true cowgirl, I envision the legendary Mitzi Riley, Molly Goodnight, or Lucille Mulhall. These women were advocates for the cowgirl lifestyle which blazed the path for women in the ranching and rodeo world. These women made it possible for me to be my version of cowgirl on a daily basis!
An Early Passion
My passion for the horse industry started at a young age. I grew up around thoroughbred racehorses and have a foundation riding Three-Day Eventers, more commonly known as “jumping horses”. The English form of riding taught me so much about balance and ability in the saddle.
When I was a teenager, I fell in love with the cow-horse industry; specifically, Cutting Horses. The two minutes and thirty seconds of sheer ability maneuvering through a herd of cattle and playing “keep-away” with one calf is something words cannot adequately define. Riding in the National Cutting Horse Competitions for over 15 years has afforded me the opportunity to travel to competitions coast-to-coast, develop lasting friendships, and these events are even where I met my husband.
The sport of Cutting Horses is a family affair in which the whole family is involved and also promotes an exceptional level of sportsmanship in and out of the arena. The competition is what enveloped my being when I first started riding and it has evolved into a love of raising baby horses. It is such a rewarding experience to welcome new life and watch a young horse grow and develop.
My daily embodiment of a cowgirl consists of riding and working with several horses in preparation for slated competition. Spending time with my family at the ranch, while watching my son grow up and find the same love and passion for horses is the most edifying experience.
My Ranch, My Muse
This cowgirl way-of-life can also be seen in my day-to-day work at Brumbaugh’s. I am blessed that my occupation exemplifies the cowgirl lifestyle. Steeped in family and tradition, at Brumbaughs we strive to epitomize the western way of life throughout the home. My goal is to substantiate the American West as you enter our storefront. I draw an inference from my dealings with the equine industry. I would even call the ranch my muse.
My involvement with horses has shaped the individual I am today. I am a mother, wife, daughter, entrepreneur, and I am blessed to call myself a cowgirl.
In the words of Ronald Reagan, “…there’s nothing better for the inside of a man than the outside of a horse.”