Never ceasing hard work and dedication pay big dividends with horses and whatever the endeavor.
“We have plenty to do, but we all have our set jobs, and usually get everything done,” Nichole Patry said.
The oldest of four siblings the children of Josh and Marlene Patry, Nichole has to step up in leadership roles.
“Sometimes there’s a bit of disagreement about who does what at home, but the work must be done,” she claimed.
Horses come first for Nichole, 19, her sisters Heather, 17, and Michelle, 15, and brother Jayden, 12. However, there’s definitely no shortage of additional livestock chores.
Following boot steps of both their Dad and Mom with lifelong ranch interests; their home is Patry Farms at Dwight.
“We all have horses, show cattle, have shown hogs and do some work for a neighbor sheep operation,” Nichole said.
Ample verification of just what work accomplishes for Nichole came at the recent Morris County Fair in Council Grove.
A high school honor graduate this spring, Nichole won an armload of awards at her finale county fair.
Among recognitions were highpoint performance horse, reserve champion horse showmanship, and reserve champion beef showmanship. “I was first in the livestock judging contest and reserve champion in round robin all species showmanship both which really pleased me,” she commented.
But, this ambitious and most apparent talented cowgirl doesn’t just handle livestock. “My photographs were selected champion and reserve, and two of my art pieces were also grand and reserve,” Nichole said.
Accomplishments have been far from an overnight success. “I began showing in lead line classes before kindergarten, and started riding Buster when I was five-years-old,” she calculated.
Participating in the Eastern Kansas Horseman’s Association (EKHA), Nichole has nine buckles collected as yearend highpoint rider.
A 4-H career started when Nichole was seven-years-old and she’s annually won many horseshow awards locally and statewide. “I’ve been to the state fair every year eligible and been top five in both speed and performance classes,” Nichole said.
Don’t get any idea this has been accomplished without a regular fitting and training program. “I ride several times a week to improve my horses. We have barrel and pole patterns set up for practice,” Nichole said.
Further verification of dedication comes show day. “We always get there early, and I get saddled and warm my horse up in plenty of time,” she said.
Still there’s a lot more to do on the family farm than ride horses. “I help my Mom and Dad with whatever I can and they need,” Nichole said. That’s in the home, the barnyard and with cattle work.
“I also work some for Cindy Brown who has jackpot steer roping events and contracts roping steers for Quarter Horse shows,” she said.
“I do rope in the pasture when I have to, but not much in competition like my sister Heather. She’s quite the roper,” Nichole credited.
“I started showing cattle with a bucket calf and have been showing steers every year,” she said. The family had nine head of show cattle at the county fair including Nichole’s two steers.
“It takes a lot of time getting the steers ready, working with them every evening,” she admitted. Pay time came by Nichole claiming the reserve champion lightweight crossbred steer award.
Very active in both 4-H and FFA, Nichole has served as president of both youth agriculture groups. Additionally, the cowgirl has been on state FFA livestock and horse judging teams. “I’ve been fortunate to place in the top ten for three years,” she said.
Highlight of work in FFA, Nicole said, was being named to receive the Gordon Morrison Scholarship. Selection was based on her record of achievements and plans for a career in agriculture.
“I set a goal early on to apply for that scholarship, because Mr. Morrison is such an inspiration,” she noted.
Biggest accomplishment from her 4-H and FFA experiences, according to Nichole, is her improved public speaking ability. “I’ve really developed a lot of confidence from serving as an officer and giving judging contest reasons,” she said.
Horsepower is the most important asset for Nichole’s show accomplishments. “I’ve ridden several different horses through the years, and gotten along quite well with all of them,” she said.
Of course, the cowgirl shares horses with her sisters and brother. “It’s interesting how one of us can get along with a horse and another doesn’t,” Nichole noted. “But, we keep working and switching around to get the most out of our good horses.”
Her pleasure mount this year has been Little Cowboy Lane. “He’s an all-around horse, named highpoint EKHA horse one year, and all of our family has ridden him,” she noted. “But Cowboy pulled a shoulder muscle, requiring vet treatments. So we don’t race him anymore.”
For speed events, Nichole rode a black gelding called Diesel. “He was a ranch horse, but has improved a lot in the running classes for me and Michelle,” Nichole said.
Training and developing horses, Nichole rode a different horse in county fair running classes. “He didn’t have any experience, but really did just fine,” she credited.
Competing in only three events at the District 4-H Show, Nichole qualified for the Kansas State Fair in those English classes. “I’ll be going to Colby Community College this fall and it’ll be hard to get back to ride any more than that at the state fair,” she said.
With her proven horsemanship record, Nichole has an equine scholarship and will be on the college equitation team competing nationally.
“I’ll major in physical therapy and hope to get into the equine assisted therapy program as a sophomore,” Nichole said.
Looking ahead, she said, “I plan a career helping disabled children develop skills through working with horses. I will enjoy that and be doing a service at the same time.”
No end to hard work, Nichole intends to continue showing horses throughout her lifetime. “I really enjoy it,” she verified.