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Home arrow COMMUNITY arrow Real People arrow REAL PEOPLE: Blue Mountain Saddle Sisters share an interest in friendship and their horses


REAL PEOPLE: Blue Mountain Saddle Sisters share an interest in friendship and their horses

Members of the Blue Mountain Saddle Sister, from left, Marilyn Bowen, Martha Buchanan, Windsome Wells, Char Hampton, Traci Hoadley and Kathi Wright, stop for a photo during a ride on the Lake Creek Trail Head near Tolgate last year. Courtesy photo.
Members of the Blue Mountain Saddle Sister, from left, Marilyn Bowen, Martha Buchanan, Windsome Wells, Char Hampton, Traci Hoadley and Kathi Wright, stop for a photo during a ride on the Lake Creek Trail Head near Tolgate last year. Courtesy photo.
The sliding stop was impressive. But what caught Martha Buchanan’s eye was that the rider was an older woman.

“I want to be like her when I grow up,” Buchanan recalls thinking at the time.

She had clicked on a video link on Facebook that eventually took her to the site of the “40 Something Cowgirls.”

40 Something Cowgirls is a national organization, with local chapters, that began in May 2010 with a group of women, all around the age of 40-something, looking for inspiration to get back in the saddle. The organization has caught the interest of women across America and in places as far off as Australia, who have started local chapters.

Martha Buchanan and a few friends were inspired to start a chapter called the Blue Mountain Saddle Sisters. Their first meeting was last February and the initial meeting drew 20 women. 

The women riders all have diverse backgrounds — dressage, trail riding, showing, barrel racing — but all share an interest in friendship and their horses. 

“We have women who have raised their 

kids but are not ready to sit in the rocking chair and keep the cookie jar full,” Buchanan said.

The oldest member is 74 years old and loves to trail ride. The youngest members must be at least 21 years old and are called “little sisters.”

The Blue Mountain Saddle Sisters had an active first year packed full of trail rides and other events.

Their first ride was into Spring Creek. They rode in and had lunch.

The poker trail ride series was a highlight. At each ride, participants drew a card and at the end of the five rides, the rider with the top hand was awarded $100. The series took the riders to Spring Creek, Bear Creek, Woodland, Catherine Creek and a winsome ride up Lake Creek.

“We’ve seen some amazing country throughout the summer,” Buchanan said.

Some of the women logged more than 300 hours together.

Safety is an important concept to Buchanan and she does not want women riding alone. Her No. 1 goal is to get people hooked up so they have trail buddies whose riding style is compatible with their own.

“I haven’t ridden one time by myself this past year,” Buchanan said.

Halloween found horses and riders in costume for a “Scare the Heck out of the Horse” event at the fairground arena. Horses faced formidable tarps, gunnysacks and a walk under the fangs of a gigantic blow up Halloween cat.

Desensitization exercises like the Halloween event help horses prepare for the unexpected on the trail. 

“Nobody wants to hit the trail and get hurt,” Buchanan said.

Members have started a bucket list that is rapidly expanding in length.

“We are going to see a lot of the high lakes this summer,” Buchanan said. 

Some in the group are looking into a beach ride. They may join an Oregon or Washington coast chapter of the 40 Something Cowgirls for a joint ride. Part of the fun of participating in the national organization is that local chapters host rides that other chapter members can participate in. 

The 40 Something Cowgirl tagline is: The funnest bunch of horsewomen on the planet.

Buchanan hopes that other women — those who have ridden their whole lives, those who rode in their youth and are just getting back into it, and even those who used to ride but physically cannot anymore — will join the group.

The Saddle Sisters have plans for social gatherings, community service, horse events and, of course, hours in the saddle.

“They are amazing women,” Buchanan said.   


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