Welcome to my Cowgirl Cave.
For my 50th birthday, my dreams became reality, and I now have a place where I can go to unfurl myself among leather, horse smell, and even memories.
When we started this project, I did not know how I was going to be drawn out to it day after day, multiple time a day, to sit and rest, to condition leather, to organize and reorganize health care products, blankets, all my well-loved tack. As Virginia Woolf said, every woman needs "a room of one's own." This is the room I needed.
Here's the story behind the "Cowgirl Cave."
It started with a shed. Having not fully finished our barn, I didn't want to wait who knows how long to have my tack room completed, and I didn't want to share it with grains and barn supplies. I made the decision to start fresh and leave the barn tack room for lead ropes, halters, barn and fencing supplies, tools, the "cat house" and vitamins and feed.
Here are a couple of photos of the prep work my husband did before adding the wood panels. Lining up the saddle rack braces.
Saddle rack braces and wiring installed.
And, this is what it looks like after.
When I was still in the dreaming stage of this project, I told my husband I'd like an antique hutch to hold my supplies, and chairs to sit and relax in--western style--wood and leather, and a chandelier, and carpet. It all fell together like it was meant to be .
I found this hutch from the 1880s in the exact color I'd hoped for--a light blue--Sleeping Beauty turquoise color.
I found the exact chair I'd described to my husband, too. I went to a large antique fair two weeks ago, briskly walked the entire thing looking for one item--this chair--and found it at the LAST booth I came across--a booth ran by a HORSE WOMAN.
It's solid oak, original leather, and she brought the price down to a very affordable $200.
I love to sit in that chair and look across the room at this:
The canvas photo in this picture is of my noble, dear friend, Red and his horse wife, Cowgirl, with their "baby," Beautiful Girl. My four kids surprised me with this photo on my 50th birthday. They had no idea how much I was going to love it, or that would end up here, in my Cowgirl Cave. In fact, when they first heard it would, before they'd seen the finished product, I think they were a little offended. But dear Lord, there is no sweeter thing for me to see, no sweeter thing for me to remember than that peaceful photo which captures the essence of my herd's heart. A heart that broke when we lost Red, but that is being mended.
(The yellow chair has been with mefor over 20 years. I loved that chair from the moment I saw it at an antique shop, and it fits perfectly here.)
As all you horse folks know, hooks are a very important part of a Cowgirl Cave, and I found these horse shoe hooks on Etsy for $5.00 each. I purchased twelve: six for helmets and six for various other tack, on the opposite side of the room.
You may remember, in my first post, I was unhappy with the brass bridle racks I'd ordered. I didn't feel they'd match my new tack room, but since it wasn't done, I wasn't sure. I waited until it was done, held them up, and instantly knew they were not going to do. I ordered these simple black metal ones instead. And, I will replace them one-by-one with my dream racks.
(These black, metal bridle racks were $2.99 each through Schneider Saddlery. They are worth every penny. Heavy duty, well made, simple and, I think, way under-priced. But under-priced is good. The saddle racks are also from Schneider and came in at $19.99 each. They're solid and functional with a separate bar attached for blankets. That is a very good thing to have since blankets are often wet and sweaty after a ride and need to air out.)
No Cowgirl Cave is complete without a sign announcing it as such. I had this one made by another Etsy seller from Holland, Michigan--3D Woodworker. The "established" date is my 50th birthday, April 11, 2017. I love it!
He had several horse designs from which I could choose, but I had to go with the mare and foal. After all, it is a cow-GIRL cave.
And, another angle.
The chandelier lighting up the room at night.
No Cowgirl Cave is complete without some refreshments.
I stock it with lost of water, since I need to drink 4-5 bottles per day.
And also, their wormers, Bute, and Banamine.
Oh yeah, I found this old wrought iron rooster at the same store as my 1800's cabinet. It was holding antique bridles, but wasn't for sale. I asked the owner if he'd consider selling it, and here it is!
I think he's perfect for holding my new side reins and various leather straps.
Inside the old hutch, I have human grooming supplies.
And all the tools of the horse care trade: thermometer, stethoscope, bandages.
Leather conditioner, leather hole punch, and rags.
We're also going to build a deck around the tack room and add some chairs that will look out on the arena. That will have to wait until after the basement repair/reconstruction is finished. (Remember the flooding?)
I had photos of my daughter & granddaughters, with their horses, printed, which I'll now frame and hang in a montage above the refrigerator.
I feel very blessed to have this room. As we were working on it, I turned to my husband and said, "Do you realize, all this time with horses, and I've NEVER had a real tack room?" He said, "You should have had one a long time ago." I agree, and I hope every cowgirl gets a chance to have their own.
Today, I'm going to haul out the Keurig coffee machine where there are To-Go cups awaiting. Would you like to join me for a cup? Come on over to the Cowgirl Cave!