4/28/15. To a city girl who learned to ride English, later dabbled in endurance, and now rides trail, Western riding and its accoutrements are foreign. (For instance, when I first heard the term stampede strings last summer, I was perplexed–how could a single horse hair string possibly stop a stampede of running horses? How long and wide does it have to be? How many cowboys would have to hold it? Do they tie flags onto it? How do they continually adjust its orientation to the changing flow of the herd? Etc.) Recently, after meeting a milliner and learning that stampede strings are merely hat ties, I went to Tractor Supply for a tube of wormer and only to discover a Western hat sale. I purchased one as the cowgirl hat Santa had delivered when I was a preschooler was long gone. I replaced its hatband, a twist of rawhide strips, with two 12-ply braids. I attached the braids to the faux concho (another new Western vocabulary word) that came with the hat. I fixed the braids together with a rawhide slide and secured its ends with a wooden bead matching the concho’s inset faux turquoise–I had earned the bead in nature lore long ago as a Campfire Girl. I ran a strand of rawhide under the braids to cover the glue I was unable to remove from the base of the crown, and secured its ends with a second nature lore bead. Lastly, I sewed the band to my hat with four double wraps of thread. I’m not sure that I really need a new cowgirl hat–as a 6 foot tall adult I don’t need the additional height…but, my husband and I just got invited to a Derby party…a lady here in Greater Louisville has to have a Derby hat…so I’m thinking of slipping a red rose into the band on one side and attaching my Carlton Ridge (local artist) running horse pin to the other and wearing it. Who knows, after Derby I might even try adding a pair of stampede strings!