Pulled in different directions between their horses, cattle and business interests, Scot and Marie Powell have a crazy schedule. But it’s their kind of crazy, and a shared love of the Western lifestyle strengthens their bond.
by Kate Bradley Byars
“With cattle, you can’t set a schedule,” Scot said. “When a bull comes in limping, everything else is pushed aside.”
That sums up most days for Scot Powell. He and his wife, Marie, spend the majority of their time caring for an assortment of colorful animals, and they love every minute. No day is exactly the same; the only constant is being with their animals and each other.
The ever-changing nature of life on the farm is a departure from time spent in the predictable “rat race” of city life they once knew; the couple now focuses their energy on the horses and cattle they raise, agriculture ventures and, with what little free time they have, mounted shooting competition. It’s a busy and sometimes hectic lifestyle, but neither would trade it for any other way of life.
When Scot met Marie in 1985, the two were both living and working in Houston. Scot started in Houston as a software engineer. Six months after they were married in 1987, it was clear that Marie’s hometown of El Campo, Texas, fit their lifestyle more than the bustle of Houston. Scot commuted between the metroplex and the country haven for 27 years while working as chief technical officer for a small company. Marie worked as a teacher in El Campo and also handled the office work for her family’s agriculture ventures, something she continues today.
A shared love of horses and cattle as well as dogs, cats and other animals brought the couple together, and it would eventually lead to gunfire and galloping aboard Paints at Cowboy Mounted Shooting Association events. The two also pursue on Scot’s dream to raise the largest U.S. herd of black Charolais cattle—a rare variety of cattle that’s starting to gain foothold in the tradition-steeped Texas landscape, thanks to the Powells’ efforts. Their ranch is also a haven for rescue dogs, “Bodacious” the longhorn and a number of other animals, including parrots, turkeys and a peacock. All in all, Scot and Marie blend their passions with their competitive nature, and they do it in style.
Driving down the county road leading to the Powells’ ranch gate, drivers might expect to see cattle roaming the pastures. Instead, a small herd of colorful miniature horses kick up dust as they trot in from the pasture for their evening meal.
Roughly 20 Minis call the Powell ranch home. While Marie grew up riding horses, it wasn’t until she and her sister, Cindy, were both pregnant that she discovered miniatures. For a horse-crazy lady who was not permitted to ride during pregnancy, the little horses were a Godsend.
“I got my first Mini when my kids were little. I’ve bred, raised and showed Minis since 1990,” Marie said. “I’ve shown all over the U.S. and have sold horses to the Netherlands, England and all over the United States. About 10 years ago, I slowed down breeding and only have one or two babies a year.”
The pint-sized horses allowed Marie to raise her family and remain a part of the horse community, while sharing her love of horses with her children.
Marie’s sons, Andy—now 27 and a loan officer for Prosperity Bank in San Marcos, Texas—and Matthew, 19 and a sophomore set to attend Texas State University, took part in the family’s equine adventures, too. As the boys grew, so did their interest in horses. The two followed in their mom’s footsteps, competing in events like barrel racing.
“I got my first horse when I was 5 or 6 years old. It became a passion, and I took a horse to college with me,” she said. “I went through all the phases of running barrels and poles. The Miniature Horses became a passion, but I never stopped loving all horses.”
Marie showed in pleasure driving and halter classes with her minis, winning more than two dozen world and reserve world titles. Amid it all, Marie also founded the El Campo Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in the 1990s.
This is an excerpt from the full article—get the whole story in the Fall 2018 Chrome magazine, which is sent to all current APHA members. Not a member? Join or renew at apha.com/join.