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Lou Shuman: A True Cowgirl

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Intrepid waggoneer Lou Shuman traveled nearly 600 miles south down the Old Western Cattle Trail to Bandera to explore.

Shuman saw the cattle trail marker on the corner of her property in northern Oklahoma and wondered what was at the southern end. She started her journey retracing the trail on May 31 and traveled up to 20 miles each day. She spent sixty days on the trail.

Seventy-eight-year-old Shuman got into wagoneering eight years ago. She loved horses and was familiar with saddle horses but wanted to expand her talents to include wagons and teams. She purchased a ten-foot long box wagon from a museum and began to look for her team.

Looking for a team was more problematic.

She preferred Halfingers but could only find two teams in her area that were available for sale. She purchased one of the two and calls them her “angels on hooves.”

Shuman worked with the team for 18 months and remarked that they taught her as much as she had learned during her training.

Shuman worked as a practical nurse and nursing administrator during her 22 year stint in the army. She worked to coordinate training for National Guard units.

Shuman planned to spend a week exploring Bandera. She also wants to stop at each Great Western Trail marker on her journey home to the Kansas- Oklahoma line.

Shuman says she has met many friendly people along the way.

“Texas has been fantastic; I have met so many kind people who have been very generous,” she said.

This is her first time in Texas, and she spent the first part of her trip meeting people.

“I have not met one bad person on this trip,” she said.

As with any elder, Shuman has some advice for young people: “Parents don’t like me giving this advice very much. But I have to say follow your passion when you get out of high school. Get it out of your system before you go to college. You can go to college anytime. Kids go to college and then get out and can’t get a job. Apply yourself when you need to, not just at 18.”

Shuman intends to explore north on the Great Western Cattle Trail next year. With her grit and good spirits, this writer is sure she we will do.