by Courtney Johnson
My love affair with horses began at the age of 5 with a few horseback riding lessons and turned into a full-fledged addiction. When I got married I didn’t own a horse, so my husband had no idea about the depth of the addiction, but he found out fast. He loves me, so within a year of our nuptials I had a horse, a trailer, and a pair of six shooters. With mounted shooting as the goal, off I went as a wild woman of the west!
The acquisition of my current shooting horse seemed easy. The first time I saw a picture of her I fell in love! I brought her home over Thanksgiving to “try her out”. My heart was gone from that first ride! We just clicked. So the check was written and the transfer papers were mailed. Copper became mine on December 25th.
Even though Copper and I had an instant connection, she was young, so I knew our partnership would take time. Copper and I trained and practiced. There was blood sweat and tears. It’s been five years and the connection Copper and I now have is amazing. She has carried me to State and Regional wins. She trusts me enough to shoot guns off her back. She trusts me to guide her through each course with precision. She trusts me to have patience with her when she is learning something new.
The relationship is almost like a dance. Have you every danced with a guy who was a great leader? Even if you’re not that confident on the dance floor, he can make it easy and fun to follow his lead. The same goes for Copper and me. My job is to lead, to make the course of fire easy and fun. Copper’s job is to trust me, to feel the slightest change in my body position, and to follow and not anticipate.
Our partnership has an intangible quality. When everything falls into place it’s just magic. It’s like a movie, where everything goes into slow motion and all you can hear is the breathing of the hero as they strive for greatness. When this happens, I never hear the gunfire, I never hear the blaring music, or the voice of the announcer. It’s just Copper and me and a pair of six shooters. We communicate without words and soar without wings.
Courtney Johnson is a schoolteacher and lives in Eastern Washington. She is a Mounted Shooter and offers clinics and private mounted shooting lessons. In addition, she is a SASS shooter and a bow hunter. If you would like to contact Courtney she can be reached at email@example.com