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Young Mainers ride west
By Maddy Butcher Gray
It’s an autumn ritual as predictable as the falling leaves:
Maine high school graduates packing up and heading out of state for an education. They take laptops, clothes, and decorations for their dorm rooms.
But how many take horses?
With eyes on improving their horsemanship and learning from the pros, that’s just what two young Maine horsewomen did recently. Together, they are featured here in our Mainers Away! column.
Read more Mainers Away! articles.
Lydia Boutot graduated in June from Sacopee Valley High School in Hiram. A long-time student of Terry McClare at
in Brownfield, Boutot was a familiar face at many clinics and events related to ranch work and natural horsemanship.
When she started looking at colleges, she focused on those with horsemanship programs. Her search led her to the University of Montana Western, a school of 1,400 students in Dillon.
“It fit me,” said Boutot of her first impression of the school last spring.
It offers the nation’s only four-year degree in natural horsemanship and affiliates itself closely with the Montana Center for Horsemanship.
But signing up and shipping out are two different things. When it came to heading cross-country with her horse, Boutot needed advance planning and support.
That’s where Terry McClare helped out again.
McClare, Boutot and another friend loaded up and traveled first to Colorado to visit Mindy Bower. McClare felt Bower could not only help Boutot with her riding skills, but lend a hand and offer a home-away-from-home if need be.
“She’s relatively close,” said McClare, who's been friends with Bower for years.
The Maine trio spent a few days at her
Uh Oh Ranch
in Kiowa (not far from Denver). They did a little of everything you might expect on a working ranch, said Boutot and McClare.
Bower (Buck Brannaman’s sister-in-law) helped Boutot with seat position and engaging core muscles to make it easier to stay with her horse, said the 19-year old Mainer.
Then McClare dropped her off in Dillon along with Annie, her seven-year old, bay quarterhorse.
The first week or so was “very, very hard,” said Boutot. But since then, she’s met new friends and started to explore the area on foot and on horseback.
She’s looking ahead to four years of equine study with ranch work, training, and colt starting all in the mix of future plans.
When Selby Barrett graduated from Brunswick High School in 2011, she knew she’d need to head out-of-state if she wanted to get faster around the barrels.
For years, Barrett rode at Sharon Higgins’
“She was always striving to be better,” said Higgins, who competes this week at the National Barrel Horse Association World Championship in Georgia. "She's going to go a long way because she will work for it."
Barrett chose Murray State University in Murray, Kentucky. She’s one of about 60 barrel racers on the school’s rodeo team. The Racers compete against 12 other schools of the Ozark Region of the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association.
Here, rodeo competition and the training behind it are year-round ventures.
Barrett worked all summer with professional barrel racer Marne Loosenort and a new horse, Scooter, a 15-hand, appendix quarter horse. Loosenort lives at
Plenty Tiny Ranch
in Hazel, Kentucky, a quick drive from Murray.
At a recent competition, Barrett and Scooter ran them in 14.9 seconds.
The 19-year old Mainer will study Equine Science and has her sights set on the College National Rodeo Finals.
"He can be the one to open doors for me," said Barrett.
But a wedding is in the more immediate future!
She and Austin Reisman, an engineering major at Murray State, were engaged last June and plan an October, 2013 wedding.
Good luck, ladies. We’ll be rooting for you!
View Reader Comments:
So happy for you Lyd! Hope you're having a great time and learning lots to teach all of us when you get home!
Like Lydia, my daughter Olivia Richmond also headed weat with her horse to stdy Natural Horsemanship at the University of Montana Western. It is very exciting to have two Mainers represented at such a small school. Thanks for this article, which I'll pass along to my daughter.
Maddy at Nickernews
Good luck to Olivia, too! Thanks for posting, Kate!
SO happy for you Lydia. New you were destined to be a horse woman!!!
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"An owner of a Tennessee Walking Horse once said that his horse reminded him of a lightning rod, for, as he rode, all the sorrows of his heart flowed down through the splendid muscles of his horse and were grounded in the earth." - Marguerite Henry
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