Rose McClimon-Hamlin has been chosen to serve as this year’s grand marshal for the Chatfield Western Days parade in August. PHOTO COURTESY OF ANNIE’S PHOTOGRAPHY
Rose McClimon-Hamlin has been chosen to serve as this year’s grand marshal for the Chatfield Western Days parade in August. PHOTO COURTESY OF ANNIE’S PHOTOGRAPHY
"I know why God instilled within me a great love and passion for horses. They are my teachers and interpreter for life's lessons. Everything I've learned in horse training can easily be transferred into everyday living and relationships, especially as a wife and mother," said Rose McClimon-Hamlin.

Rose has been selected to serve as grand marshal of the 2014 Chatfield Western Days grand parade on Saturday, Aug. 9.

She explained, "First, there can be no ego in any relationship - one must die to themselves to truly live. Second, letting go of the reins is never easy, yet trusting and allowing the horse to make the mistakes on their own creates self-confidence and knowing. Third, to allow the horse to be truly successful, I cannot do the work for them. I need to sit down and relax, let them find their way."

Rose first became a Chatfield Saddle Club member at the tender age of 8, but she'd been in the saddle long before that and knew she wanted to be a part of the club because it was a great way to learn about horses and their riders.

"Through the club, there are many ways to get involved with horses and plenty of good people to help you learn," she explained. "There are many opportunities to volunteer, lots of horse-showing opportunities and to earn scholarships because the Chatfield Saddle Club is also a part of a bigger club, the Southeastern Saddle Club Association (SEMSCA)."

Even if a member isn't an avid participant in horse shows, Rose explained there are also trail rides and gatherings with families and friends to participate in.

She said, growing up, her favorite saddle club activities were held on warm summer days and included trail riding with friends, ending with a potluck.

"Riding can be optional for some people, but everyone loves a good potluck," she joked. "Although I missed this past year's sleigh ride, it's easy to see that our club enjoys the equestrian lifestyle and diversity it allows, along with the company of family and good friends all year round."

Regarding being chosen as this year's grand marshal, Rose said she was surprised and honored.

"Our club has members who take their dedication and time seriously. It's a lot of work and these members do a good job to keep the club running smoothly and well organized, so to be chosen and nominated is appreciated and I'm thankful for the opportunity to represent the Chatfield Saddle Club," she said.

Rose resides on her parents' homestead outside of Chatfield with her husband, four children and her parents.

"I can say for certain my family has made me who I am and they continue to do so," she said.

Rose credits her parents for being her greatest teachers. "I don't believe I will ever turn an age when I don't need them," she continued. "Oddly, the older I get, the truer this statement is revealing itself to me"

She explained that growing up, her role as the oldest sibling in her family was that of protector and caregiver.

"Now that we are all grown, that role has switched and we all need each other," Rose continued. "Family is not always saying what someone wants to hear, but what someone needs to hear, and it takes all of us to help each other along the way."

Rose has been been married to her hero and husband, Brandon, for nine years. "He is my light that keeps me reaching for the stars when I can no longer see their shine," she stated. "We have three boys, ages 7, 4 and 2, and one girl, 6 years old."

Rose said her boys are into horsepower, as well as the power of the horse. "It's a good mix that makes for lots of excitement around the farm," she said. "A typical day is ponies galloping, lassos twirling and dirt bikes racing throughout the homestead land. It's fun to watch our kids grow and learn in the area of their interests. My wish for them is a passion that sends them on a journey into learning and adventure lasting a lifetime."

As her children have gotten older, Rose said she has had more opportunity to get back into the barn, but she wrote about horses in national magazines and newspapers and in her first book, "Gus," when her children were small enough that she couldn't devote her days to equestrian endeavors.

"Truly, I have more books to pen to paper, but I realize now, it's hard to spread that focus in different areas and accomplish the work I desire and be a stay at home mom," Rose added. "So, with the advice of my editor, writing will always be waiting for me, but I have so much more I want to learn in the horse world."

Rose is currently working on the family farm and riding and training her own horses. She also gives riding lessons to beginner riders.

"My children come along to the barn each day and each have their own horse, which is more like a babysitter for me while I help students and work the other horses," she added.

Recently, Rose had the opportunity visit and ride horse with her brother, Anthony, in Nevada. She explained that he continues to be one of her most influential teachers.

"Always, there is much to learn! I continue to seek that knowledge, and who knows where this journey will take me, but I trust it's exactly where I need to be," she said.

Before going out to the barn, Rose enjoys morning quiet, black coffee and time with God each day. She focuses on the knowledge that there is always something to be thankful for and always something to learn.

"I'm totally introverted," Rose admits. "I enjoy listening in a crowd rather than talking in a crowd. Some people may think I'm stuck up, but really, I'm just quiet."

The exception to that rule is when she is around her family. "I'm sure they'd agree I'm too loud and talk too much. I'm a bookworm, don't watch television, and even if I start a movie, it's a rare, rare occasion I actually finish one, unless of course Sam Elliot or Tommy Lee Jones is starring," she said.

Rose is happiest when she's got horses to train, groom and ride. "I have two horses I've taken an extra shine to - Luck Song, a bay filly whose pedigree extends back to the legendary Secretariat, and the other horse my parents and brother have let me covet for my own is a 5-year-old bay roan mare, Carmen's Angel," she said.

These two horses are getting Rose back into the world of barrel racing after a seven-year leave.

"We are at the beginning of this journey, and it is exciting to see them grow and learn along with me," she said.

Rose looks forward to leading the Western Days grand parade. "The parade is family tradition since I was a young girl. Now, my family has grown and it's fun to continue this tradition with family and friends year after year," she said. "For me, Western Days has always been about the SEMSCA horse show every Sunday starting at 8 a.m. and continuing through late afternoon. I was 6 years old when I started attending this show with my family and our horses."

Through the years, Rose said they have only missed a few.

In regards to the Western Days celebration, Rose concluded, "The walk through the park is most enjoyable...all the vendors and excitement. Nothing's better than stopping by the church tent, getting a piece of pie or two and taking in the sights!"