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Girls in Science Just Want to Have Fun

RT painted pony profile

It used to be blondes. Now, it’s “geeky girls have all the fun.”

And get the best ponies–that is, according to Cindy Furse, professor of electrical and computer engineering at the University of Utah. She should know, because she (who is also associate vice president for research at the U) is riding her paint horse “Every Day is Friday” during the Days of ’47 Rodeo this year.

Katie Furse puts the finishing touches on “Running Ute.”

“Friday” is a registered APHA* tovero gelding and will be showing his “paint” in a new fashion at the rodeo. Cindy and daughter Katie painted her Paint for the Painted Pony Contest and won a slot in the top ten. Given Cindy’s U of U connections, and the fact that Katie just graduated from the U and will return this fall to work on her master’s degree in electrical engineering, it will come as no surprise that Friday will turn into the “Running Ute” for the intermission parade at the Rodeo on Thursday, July 19.

According to Cindy, “Friday has been painted before, and he seems to think it is amusing. He feels quite proud of himself when he is decked out, you can just tell.”

When not decked out, the 16 year old horse takes to the trails with Cindy, riding and camping in the mountains all over Utah, Idaho and Wyoming. Usually they horse backpack, but this weekend they’ll go into the Uintas with a string of mules, make camp and help with Forest Service projects.

Friday sporting his new paint job.

For more leisurely rides after work, Cindy rides backback. She notes, “I’ve been very interested in how the American Indians trained, raised and rode their horses. There is much that we can learn and use today. Friday really is a “Running Ute,” because he loves to run.”

Friday also has his own blog. It is full of information on gear and single-horse packing around the state. One more horse completes the Furse stable: Boon, a 3 year old BW Paint gelding, who is just learning the ropes. He too has a blog  where you too can learn about those “ropes.”

Self-professed ‘geeky girl’ Cindy Furse

Tonight however, Cindy will be finishing the details on her wardrobe. Feathers? Fringe? Red or black? Tomorrow, Friday will get a bath, dry in the sun and then go off to the arena where he’ll be painted and decorated and no doubt fussed over some of those “geeky girls” who clearly know how to have a bit of fun.

 Then it will be back to the real fun: studying intermittent live fault location for aircraft wiring, antenna design and optimization, electrical properties of sea ice and … making the case why more girls should choose to study science, technology, engineering and math. Don’t know about you, but I think she just did.

 Go ‘Running Ute’!

*APHA is the American Paint Horse Association