This Cowboy is a Super Horse.
This horse is a survivor thanks to modern medicine.
Little Cowboy Lane is the “Horse of a Lifetime” for the Josh Patry family of Dwight.
“We are so privileged to own Cowboy. He is truly an all-around horse, and our children have been able to accomplish so much with him,” Marlene Patry said.
“Cowboy is such a pleasure to own, enjoys what he does and is getting better all of the time. That’s so important to us with four children, and Josh and I liking and wanting to ride, too,” Marlene added.
It is official, Little Cowboy Lane, a bay 13-year-old Poco Pine-Bert bred registered Quarter Horse gelding, was presented the Super Horse Award at the recent Eastern Kansas Horseman’s Association (EKHA) yearend awards banquet in Salina.
Awarded an embroidered body-blanket signifying the recognition, Little Cowboy Lane was ridden by Nichole, 13; Heather, 12; Michelle, 10; and Jayden, eight, throughout the year at 14 EKHA shows to earn the prestigious honor.
“I ride him, too, but mostly Nichole and Heather have ridden Cowboy at the shows this year. Heather generally uses him in showmanship, horsemanship and pleasure, while Nichole rides Cowboy in the speed events. He definitely knows the difference who’s on his back, and will perform accordingly,” Marlene credited.
As proud and privileged as all of the Patry family feels about their great Cowboy, the honor to own such an outstanding horse has even added importance and significance since they easily could have lost him last year from serious ailment.
“That makes us count our blessings for having Cowboy so much more. A year ago early in the summer, Cowboy came down with serious colic, and required surgery at the vet college,” Marlene gravely reflected.
While “displacement of the large intestine over the spleen” preventing proper digestion is not a completely uncommon disorder in horses, it is a most serious one, sometimes fatal.
“We are so fortunate that surgery was completely successful, and the long recovery went quite well. Today, Cowboy is the best ever, and seems to be more consistent in every event,” Marlene thankfully credited.
Interesting how a tightknit horse-loving, enthusiastic horseshow family can acquire such a unique and important horse as Cowboy has become.
“With four children, along with Josh and I wanting to ride, too, we need lots of horses. Finding the right ones to be successful with different aged children each with their own abilities isn’t really very easy,” Marlene admitted.
There was a constant search to fill that need when Josh seemingly coincidentally inquired of rancher Bud Higgs at Cedar Point if he knew of a horse that might meet a horseshow family’s all-around event needs.
“Bud knew about Cowboy, a ranch horse, who the previous owner insisted was ‘too slow.’ So, we bought Cowboy five-and-half years ago, and I rode him in pleasure events the first year to get him more collected.
“Cowboy was just a natural at changing leads and has taken to everything we’ve asked him to do,” said Marlene, who noted that the bay gelding is also used for gathering and roping cattle when the occasion arises.
All four Patry children collected yearend awards in most events during the yearend EKHA banquet, with Nichole, highpoint all-around 10-to-13; Michelle, highpoint all-around seven-to-nine; and Jayden, fourth highpoint all-around 7-to-9. The family rides as members of the Sand Spring Saddle Club at Abilene.
Qualifying to compete in many events at the 4-H horse show during the Kansas State Fair in Hutchinson, the two oldest Patry girls placed in majority of the divisions there as well.
“To qualify for the state fair really isn’t a small feat. But, to get there and be ‘called back’ to the Finals makes us tickled. Placing in the ‘Top Ten’ in a class, and sometimes a number of them, is frosting on the cake,” Marlene admitted.
The children have recently competed as a team, and with other kids their age, successfully in Youth Ranch Rodeos, with that participation likely more frequent on the horizon.
Horse family deepest roots came from Marlene (Hill), who competed in Paint Horse and 4-H horse events extensively while growing up.
Attending high school at Valley Center, Marlene was a freshman when Josh was a senior, but the couple married a year after her graduation. Josh went to work for a cattle operation at Willowdale.
“Josh was more into the cattle and farming, and we didn’t have any horses for a time after we got married 16 years ago,” Marlene commented.
Three years into their marriage, when Josh became herdsman for the Oleen Brothers Hereford-Black Angus, Foundation Quarter Horses operations in Morris County, the Patry family soon again acquired their own horses.
“Josh started riding on the ranch, and it was natural for us to get horses for our family,” Marlene contended.
Both Marlene and Josh competed successfully in horse shows along with their children for several years.
“Now, it keeps us busy making sure the kids are ready for all of their classes,” said Marlene, who along with her husband, are frequently seen tuning on family horses before and during horseshows.
“I want to start competing in horse shows again in the future, and I suspect Josh will, too. As a member of the Oleen Brothers team, Josh has competed in lots of ranch rodeos over the past several years. They’ve won a number of them,” Marlene credited.
In addition to Josh’s herdsman position, the Patry family has their own Patry Farms’ purebred Angus and commercial cattle operations. “Our children have started showing cattle and enjoy doing that as well,” Marlene noted.
“We have a few mares, and a stallion to raise our own horses now, too. We have 15 horses on the place today,” Marlene counted.
Going down the horseshow road is no small matter, so the Patry family has acquired a larger trailer so they have a home away from home every weekend. “It is a five-horse slant in order to accommodate all of the horses our family needs at every show, and there are also nice living quarters for us,” Marlene insisted.
Verifying the positive influence horses have had on the family, Marlene explained, “All of our children just love riding horses and going to the shows. We’ve given them all the opportunity to be involved in other sports, but they’ve always wanted to continue riding in horse shows.
“Other sports would take away from their practice time in the evenings. Now, they’re anxious to ride after supper, and have their own horses saddled and ready by the time I get outside,” Marlene said.
While consideration has been given to competing in junior rodeos, the Patry children have preferred to continue participating in mostly EKHA and 4-H events, with an occasional youth ranch rodeo. “Again, we’ve left it up to them, and they’ve made the decision.
“Admittedly, it is good, because the horse shows are closer to home, there seems to be a more friendly attitude among the competitors, not so much pressure to win so to speak, and the entry fees are considerably lower,” Marlene evaluated.
Frequently at horseshow ringside watching, photographing and congenially encouraging and advising are Tom and Betty Patry, Josh’s parents and strong supporters of the Patry children in all of their endeavors.
Completely optimistic for the future of horse shows, Marlene said, “They are so good for families to work together for the same goal. Everybody who horse shows is basically a big happy family. It’s sad that more families don’t appreciate the advantages of spending time together riding and working with horses.
“We plan to continue riding, and I would predict that our children will always want to ride and show,” summarized Marlene.
Of course, all of the Patry family hopes Little Cowboy Lane, or a horse exactly like him, will be their mount.