USAWE at Art of the Cowgirl 2024

Communing with Cowgirls: USAWE’s Robin Bond Shared her WE Expertise at Art of the Cowgirl Event in Arizona
By Virginia Aulin

Robin Bond, Director At Large for USAWE, first attended Art of the Cowgirl two years ago and, at the 2024 event, held Jan. 17-21 in Queen Creek, Arizona, she led an eight-hour clinic:

Working Equitation – a Different Kind of Ranch Horse. Of all the clinics offered, hers was one of the best attended.
Art of the Cowgirl is dedicated to celebrating and honoring the contributions of women to the culture and legacy of the west.
Robin thought that having a USAWE presence at the annual event would be fun for American cowgirls to experience because both groups have a common ancestry – and share similar demographics.

“Art of the Cowgirls’ demographics include women over 40 years old who have a little time and have made a little money and want to keep riding. They go to Art of the Cowgirl and watch the All-Girl Rodeo and the World’s Greatest Horsewomen Contest and think it’s very neat. But they also think, ‘I can’t ride like that anymore. I don’t want to go 39 miles per hour to rope a calf. I don’t want to go so hard. But I do want to keep riding and learning,’” Robin says.

Robin first attended Art of the Cowgirl two years ago and, at the 2024 event, held Jan. 17-21 in Queen Creek, Arizona, Robin led an eight-hour clinic: Working Equitation – a Different Kind of Ranch Horse. Of all the clinics offered, hers was one of the best attended.

She focused on teaching riders to recognize the quality of the gaits, and how to regulate them. “Some of the riders had fast horses and two couldn’t get their horses to go. I took them through a lot of transitions and emphasized how the frame of the horse changes as you lengthen and shorten gaits. A special focus was ensuring they understood that ‘collection’ isn’t
pulling the horse’s head in. I assured them that they didn’t need to worry about where the head is at this stage of their WE training.” More than half of the participants have already contacted her for future training.

credit Dark Horse Photography
credit Dark Horse Photography

USAWE also had a booth and, since she was busy offering her clinic and working with her horses, Robin partnered with the Arizona WE Club (AZWEC), who manned the booth every day. “They did something really smart,” Robin says. “They offered a free clinic with one of the Arizona WE instructors and those who wanted a chance to win put their name in a box. That
created a big mailing list of people we can follow up with to promote our sport.”

Robin says she could not have had a successful show without these amazing volunteers from AZWEC and the able assistance of our international junior rider Summer Star as well as Amy Star and Judy Makenzie.

The event was especially well attended this year because the founder, Tammy Pate, recently passed away. Many people came to pay tribute to her legacy of providing a powerful and inspiring platform to celebrate female horsemanship and the artistic excellence of Western women.

In addition to the competitions and educational aspects on offer (workshops ranged from barrel racing and colt starting to liberty horsemanship and “Shaping Our Relationship with the Horse Through the Lens of Neuroscience”), the show has a significant artistic side and highlights the work of female artists, silversmiths, braiders and saddle makers.

“Come for the shopping!” Robin says, adding that the products – including brides, Western saddles, harness ware, clothing, hats and boots – were of the highest quality. She bought silk scarves, some nice items for her husband and a small sheath knife that feels good in her hand.

But her most precious find: “I bought my dog a fancy tool collar with silver bracelets and a beautiful, rolled leather leash.”
There is an art auction, which helps to fund a fellowship program. The goal of the fellowship program is to encourage and further western arts and trades amongst women with a focus on traditional art and functional gear. This was a driving force behind Tammy creating the Art of the Cowgirl.

Fellowship and empowering women are also core to USAWE.

“It would be great if one day there was a fellowship for Working Equitation,” Robin says. For now, the goal is to raise awareness of USAWE with others who are looking for a challenging disciple that showcases different ranching traditions from all over the world.


Robin is a professional horsewoman who has been active in Western Equitation since 2012. Her style is an unconventional blend of disciplines, leaning heavily to California Bridle Horse and Classical Dressage. She has enjoyed competitive success in reining, reined cow horse, and extreme cowboy race events in addition to working equitation and ranch horse. Her achievements include national and regional titles in working equitation, a reserve national championship in extreme cowboy racing, and a top ten finish at the National Reined Cowhorse Celebration of Champions. Operating from Rancho Descanso, Valley Center, CA, Robin competes and trains all levels within USAWE.

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