Karen Boughnou and her retired cutting horse, Copenhagen Cat, live a quiet and humble life in Weatherford, Texas. She called us about a custom gate because she wanted to add some curb appeal after a health issue inspired her to quit putting off some of her dreams.
These dreams were outside of her comfort zone. She said, “I’m not much of a spender. Most things are nice to have, and not really a need to have.”
But, after a year of contemplation, she decided it was time to get busy.
ENGINEERING AND CUTTING HORSES
Growing up in Texas, Karen developed a passion for horses early in life. No one else in the family shared her interest, yet she was determined to spend her life in the country surrounded by horses. “I knew I needed a strong career to obtain my goals, so I decided to study engineering.” After graduating from Texas A&M University, Karen moved to Colorado to begin her career. It was there that she purchased her first horse.
Eight years into her career and back in the DFW area, Karen had an opportunity to travel to Australia and work polo ponies. With a leave of absence in place, and a strong passion for horses, Karen did not hesitate. During her travels, she met Kim Connelly, who ignited an interest in cutting horses.
Not long after Karen returned home, Kim also made a move from Australia to America and began working for Ronnie and Theresa Rice. While visiting with Kim at the shows Karen took a more serious interest. It was not long after that Ronnie and Theresa took Karen under their wings. She is still with them today.
Karen purchased land in Parker County in 2000 because it was close to her network of friends and horses. In 2008, she developed the property and moved to Weatherford.
After Karen retired, she began competing full time on her home bred gelding, Copenhagen Cat in the National Cutting Horse Association.
- In 2014, she and Copenhagen Cat placed 2nd in the NCHA $50K Amateur World Finals and finished the year in 4th place in the standings
- In 2016, she and Copenhagen Cat earned the NCHA $50K Amateur Reserve World Champion
- Also in 2016, Copenhagen Cat was No. 1 on the Equi-Stat Annual Cutting Statistics Amateur Horses Chart
Read more in this article about Copenhagen Cat and Karen “Living the Dream” published by Quarter Horse News on March 15, 2017.
KAREN’S DEFINING MOMENT
Karen doesn’t really like to talk about the details, but the bottom line was that she was misdiagnosed in 2017 and put on some medication that caused severe reactions.
“My sweet brother was coming out from Dallas to help me out while I was sick,” she recalled. “He complained about having to get out and open my gate every time he came and threatened to put an electric opener on it.”
“I always thought of it as a privilege to get out and open my gate,” she said.
Her brother, Kenny, didn’t let up, but Karen regarded it as challenge. “I wanted to do it right. I didn’t want to automate an ugly gate.”
A new gate for curb appeal was the first project Karen decided to take on after she started feeling better. She said, “I wanted high quality and I could tell that was what I was going to get from Jeffery and Aberdeen Custom Gate and Iron.”
We met with Karen several times. The first gate design we drew up for her was based on a gate she liked south of Weatherford, Texas
Then, she found the Old Liberty Schoolhouse braided gates on our website and fell in love. “I knew it was going to be more expensive as soon as I saw it,” she said.
We looked at a version of the braided gate using flat bar to keep the expense down. As Karen contemplated that design, she could not let go of the ‘real’ braid. “I knew I was not going to be satisfied. I knew I would regret settling for something other than the braid.” My dad always told me, “whatever decision you make, ensure you are happy with it 1, 5, or even 10 years down the road.”
“Over the years, I’ve come to realize that if I try to save too much, I end up redoing it,” according to Karen. “If I spend a little more on the front end, I’m happier. It comes down to settling for something less than what I want at 90% of the cost or spend a few more dollars and get what I really want”
As an engineer, Karen was very particular about the details. She reviewed multiple braid patterns with Jeffery and was drawn to the Herringbone braid (as opposed to the Gaucho). Her existing entry used some square pipe turned on the diagonal. She wanted to include that look in the gate design so it coordinated with the overall entrance plan. Jeffery and Karen decided they would use small square pickets turned on the diagonal.
Karen and Jeffery worked through several versions of where the pickets should fall. Karen was after symmetry between the braid pattern and the pickets. Jeffery came up with the idea to do the pickets in sets of two which enabled perfect symmetry. Karen said, “Jeffery really listened to my concerns and what I wanted. He was also able to guide me away from looks that discouraged eye appeal or offered poor manufacturing results.”
We were so happy Karen didn’t want to paint the gate black. She asked us to paint it the same “burnished slate” color as other fencing and barn trim so everything matches.
Are you ready to add some curb appeal? Are you trying to get started but you’re not sure how? We’ve got a comprehensive checklist to help you think through all the details. CLICK HERE to download it.