Ann Lourie, queen of La Fiesta de los Vaqueros for 1951
The Pony Expressed has been away for a while and with its return, I thought I would take the opportunity to write about something personal…someone who is very dear to me, my mother, Annie Zipf.
Sixty two years ago, Ann Lourie, as she was known back then, rode through the streets of downtown Tucson on a big, beautiful Palomino. She had just been crowned queen for La Fiesta de los Vaqueros rodeo and parade for 1951.
At a very young age, as so many young girls often do, my mother developed a strong affinity and affection for horses. Sent off to boarding school at the age of nine, she eventually arrived at the Orme School in Mayer, Arizona. There, her love of horses turned into an obsession.
Soon, she would compete in show jumping and other competitions throughout Arizona, and some seven years later, she would become rodeo queen of Tucson.
Thanks to my mother, I also experienced the wonderful “Orme.” In the early 70s, I was a camper there for two summers, and that is also where my love story with horses began.
I’ll never forget “Wheeler,” the old, Palomino gelding the other campers didn’t want. Because of a blow to his mouth by an angry counselor, Wheeler lost all feeling and sensation in his tonque. Not even the weight of a bit was enough to support it, and it hung from his mouth, constantly.
However, in the end, Wheeler would surprise everyone. He and I would go on to win blue and red ribbons in both poles and cloverleaf barrels – two years in a row.
I doubt that I would have ever had the opportunity to develop such a love for horses, if it weren’t for my mother, Annie.
As a young girl sent away to boarding school, and another who had just lost a mother, we were both seeking the same things in life – trust and love.
Fortunately, we found both in the horses.
Had she lived, my mother would be 83 today. I still think about her every moment of every day, and will miss her always.
Orme School, 1943. My mother is on the right.