Heather Shoemaker of Wyoming is a veteran attorney who has been in practice in Cheyenne since 2004. She is married and the mother of three children, and whenever she can get away from her practice enjoys horseback riding.
Heather Shoemaker of Wyoming says she is not a particularly skilled at riding, and calls herself an intermediate rider. And yet she has been around horses for most of her life. “I grew up absolutely horse crazy,” she recalls. Heather Shoemaker of Wyoming was born and raised in Midlothian, Texas, a small town about half an hour from Dallas. Midlothian bills itself as the Cement Capital of Northern Texas, but there is a long horse tradition there too.
As a child, Heather Shoemaker of Wyoming preferred riding western style, but as she got older she switched to dressage, which is sometimes referred to as English riding. Both styles of riding, she says, have saddles that were designed for both comfort and security. But the two types of saddle have very little in common other than stirrups and being made of leather.
“The Western saddle, of course, was designed for cowboys,” says Heather Shoemaker of Wyoming. “And cowboys spend long days riding the range, especially the old time cowboys. Western saddles are a lot heavier than English saddles. But they are bigger, too, and the weight of the saddle and rider together is spread over a larger area on the back of the horse. And that makes it less strenuous for the horse.” The most obvious feature of the western saddle, she continues, is the horn, which is used in herding cattle.
English saddles, on the other hand, offer riders a closer contact with the horse’s back. They are a lot lighter than Western saddles, and Heather Shoemaker of Wyoming says now that she has been using one for so long, she thinks they are a lot more comfortable.