Cathy Ringler is a storyteller, cowgirl, and retired teacher. She lives at the foot of the beautiful Beartooth Mountains and rides in them as often as her busy schedule will allow.
Winner of the 2016 YA Wyoming Writer's Award, two time winner of the Gib Mather's Journalistic Writing Award, and recipient of the 2019 Western Horizon Award, Cathy truly enjoys working with youth. She taught Writing Workshop at the Clark School, is a Circuit Reader for her local library, volunteers at a horse camp for teens, and tells stories of horseback adventures at the annual Big Horn Arts Festival.
I was the second of five children in a close knit family. Our parents encouraged each of us to find our passion. For instance, my brother Tim decided to try magic. He soon had a hutch filled with rabbits which he pulled out of hats, and cages of doves whose soft cooing filled the house like wind chimes. He performed first at birthday parties under the stage name of Mr. Pockets, and later at county and state fairs.
I've always loved horses, and though my parents weren't horse people, they signed me up for riding lessons and eventually bought me a pony named Jingles. An old horse trader convinced my Mom and Dad that Jingles would make a perfect first pony. Wrong! On the outside, the little Welsh mare was round and lovable, but on the inside she was a kid eating monster. Literally. One day she chased my other brother Mark down the field and took a large bite out of his back. It was black and blue for weeks.
You had to be quick and brave and foolish to mess with Jingles. But you learned important lessons like if she pinned her ears back and stamped her feet....run!
My second passion was reading. I loved the long dappled summer afternoons when I would climb up in the tree house with two apples and a horse book and ride with Misty of Chincoteague or the Royal Lipizzaners of Austria.
Eventually Jingles was sold and other horses were bought and the riding lessons continued.
I earned a dual degree in Elementary and Special Education at Michigan State University. Throughout my college years I held a number of part-time jobs to help with expenses. But in the restless summer of my sophomore year, I decided to do something other than waitressing or working in the deli. I applied to work on a dude ranch in Wyoming. It was there I fell in love with the mountains and a horse named Gypsi. Later, I fell in love with the cowboy who owned her. We got married, and together with our daughters, started having all kinds of adventures on horseback.