She Took Off Her Hat

Art Prints

The rodeo came through every year.  Tamsin would watch, standing on the outskirts, hiding from her father and brothers.  She would watch the horses, nostrils flaring, sweat white against their flanks, leather straps bold against their hair.  The smells assaulted her nose and her heart raced with the thrill of the rides

As she grew older she dreamed of being there and would sneak out to a neighbours farm where Hal would teach her the basics of horse care and riding.  Once her brother Amos caught her coming home and beat her for leaving the house without permission.  But she would not give up her dream.

One day the posters went up along the highway that the rodeo was headed to town.  She was ready.  When they left again, so did she, stowed away in a hay trailer

When they found her they just set her to work and she realised Hal had taught her well.   After just 2 years she was head of the horse grooms and was learning how to handle a rope.   Within a year she was a header and was, as Flint would often say before spitting out his baccy, ‘a darn good little filly’.

Normally when the team went back to her hometown, she would hide in the wagon until after dark, so as to miss her family.  But as a header she was in full sight.  She spotted the men at the side of one of the corrals and quickly entered the ring out of view.  She tried to ignore they were there as she roped her steer.  Perfectly. As she went through the gate they were waiting.   Amos grabbed her arm and started dragging her away and quickly found himself surrounded by a gang of large, angry men.

The next morning she left with the rodeo, and knew that part of her life would never worry her again

One day she was asked to ride the bull.   She was a good rider but unsure she was ready.  She did it and realised she had found her true calling.

That summer they were again in her home town and she rode the best ride of her life that day.  Standing at the side of the arena she spotted her father.  Was that pride on his face?  She jumped up onto the lower rung of the fence, holding on with one hand she took off her hat with the other and waved it above her head and the crowd roared.


Written as part of the writing tasks on Our Arts magazine

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