Cowgirl's tools of trade are their hat, horse and heart. You will find these hard working gals' mucking out the barns before first light, and feeding' the stock by moon light. She can rope, tie and brand a beast as quick as any man.
Horse's, Boots, Chaps and Western Hats Nothin' else matters!
The history of the cowgirl in the west and women who worked on cattle ranches in particular is not as well documented as that of men. However, institutions such as National Museum and Hall of Fame have made significant efforts in recent years to gather and document the contributions of women. There are few records mentioning girls or women working to drive cattle up the cattle trails of the Old West. However women did considerable ranch work, and in some cases (especially when the men went to war or on long cattle drives) ran them. There is little doubt that women, particularly the wives and daughters of men who owned small ranches and could not afford to hire large numbers of outside labourers, worked side by side with men and thus needed to ride horses and be able to perform related tasks.
It was not until the advent of Wild West Shows they came into their own. These adult women were skilled performers, demonstrating riding, expert marksmanship, and trick roping that entertained audiences around the world. Women such as Annie Oakley became household names. By 1900, skirts split for riding astride became popular, and allowed women to compete with the men without scandalizing Victorian Era audiences by wearing men's clothing or, worse yet, bloomers. In the movie's that followed from the early 20th century on, they expanded their roles in the popular culture and movie designers developed attractive clothing suitable for riding Western saddles.
Independently of the entertainment industry, the growth of rodeo brought about the rodeo girl. In the early Wild West shows and rodeos, women competed in all events, sometimes against other women, sometimes with the men. Women such as Fannie Sperry Steele rode the same "rough stock" and took the same risks as the men (and all while wearing a heavy split skirt that was more encumbering than men's trousers) and competed at major rodeos such as the Calgary Stampede and Cheyenne Frontier Days.
In today's rodeos, men and women compete equally together only in the event of team roping, though technically women now could enter other open events. There also are all-cowgirl rodeos where women compete in bronc riding, bull riding and all other traditional rodeo events. However, in open rodeos, women primarily compete in the timed riding events such as barrel racing, and most professional rodeos do not offer as many women's events as men's events.