“The Runaway Horse” Book Giveaway

March 24, 2015
Horse Book Giveaway

We are doing another fun giveaway here on CowgirlDiary.com! Up for grabs is a paperback copy of the first book in the Plaid Family Adventures Series, titled “The Runaway Horse”. These are delightfully fun books for young readers with stories about life on a Wisconsin farm. I was given a copy of “The Runaway Horse” by the author, to review and feature as a giveaway to one of my blog readers.

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Tips For Staying Safe With Horses

February 16, 2015
Tips For Staying Safe With Horses

If you grew up around horses and were taught by a parent or riding instructor, the common sense advice in this article might seem a little unnecessary or redundant to you. But even as a kid growing up with horses, there were a few things I learned the hard way! It’s so much better to learn from other’s mistakes, read about it, and make a mental note to never let that actually happen to you or your horse. So I’m sharing some practical tips to avoid accidents and keep you and your horse safe.

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Rodeo Envy Jewelry Giveaway

February 5, 2015
Western Jewelry Giveaway

The other day I received an email from Darcy at RodeoEnvy.com asking if I would like to review one of her western jewelry sets and offer a second set to one of my readers in a free giveaway. I said, “YES!” Darcy’s western boutique offers many cowgirl accessories such as concho rings, rodeo jeweled leather cuff bracelets, chunky necklaces, and colorful rock earrings. All RodeoEnvy products are made in Montana, and Darcy makes custom orders at no extra charge.

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How To Wear Cowgirl Boots

January 30, 2015
How To Wear Cowgirl Boots

I have looked through Pinterest layouts and fashion blogs, and while some of the pictures I’ve found of outfits you can wear with cowboy boots don’t appeal to me, boots are pretty versatile and can be worn with everything from dressy outfits to everyday clothes. I spent this afternoon drawing some sketches to show my take on How To Wear Cowgirl Boots.

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Goals for 2015

January 4, 2015
Goals For 2015 - Blog About Horses More!

I’m not big on New Year’s Resolutions. Personally, I would rather be honest with myself and not make any outlandish, pie-in-the-sky claims to change immediately or “from now on”. Why set myself up to fail? But I like having an idea, mulling on it, letting it grow, see where it leads, and eventually following through with it. And like a true procrastinator, why should I be in any hurry about it? If it doesn’t ever get followed through with, then it probably wasn’t that good of an idea after all. That being said, I do have a few dreams and wishes for the new year.

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My New Boots

December 15, 2014
My New Cowgirl Boots

So guess what was waiting at the front door when I came home from work yesterday? A big box marked “Circle G”….Merry Christmas to me! It was my new cowboy boots I had ordered. They had emailed me that they were on back order, and I was fine with waiting, but I never expected them to arrive before Christmas! It was a fun surprise. I am glad I didn’t have to wait until Christmas day to open them. I tore the box open and tried them on immediately.

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New Things, Old Things

December 9, 2014
My Old Mare Daisy

You know what it’s like when you get a brand new pair of tennis shoes and you aren’t quite sure what to do with the old ones? They’re scuffed, dirty, holey, and in bad shape, but you just can’t quite throw them away. Those shoes have been with you for miles. And the new ones are so much nicer, but they don’t quite fit your feet like the old ones did. Inevitably, as soon as you throw your old ones away, you’re going to have a muddy day when you wish you had them back.

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Young Horses in Training

November 26, 2014
Our Young Horses Cletus and Bluebird

As mentioned in a previous post, we recently took our two untrained horses out to South Dakota for training. Due to me being pregnant with our fourth child, the training was going to be postponed for another nine months at least, and we really wanted to see these two colts started as soon as possible. So in October they made the trip out to Mission, SD, to spend at least a month with a horse training family.

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Cowgirl Boots

November 18, 2014
New Boots

I am celebrating! This is officially my 200th blog post, and in honor of the event, I am getting a new pair of cowgirl boots! You might have seen my previous post with a picture of my old riding boots that I’ve had since tenth grade. They are a size too big (men’s, I believe) and scraped and worn in spite of a recent oiling. They’re good for working and riding in. But believe it or not, that is my only pair of boots. So I am boot shopping for some cowgirl boots with style.

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Leather Honey

November 15, 2014
Leather Honey Conditioner for Boots

I got a really cool gift in the mail last week! It was a free sample of Leather Honey that the manufacturer wanted me to try out and see if I liked. I was happy to oblige because I have so much leather that needs cleaned! I planned to clean my saddle, favorite belt, boots, and then start on my husband’s saddle. There are so many uses for this kind of product, and it was great to receive a complete set of Leather Honey cleaner, conditioner, and polishing cloths.

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South Dakota Bound

October 23, 2014
Bluebird in South Dakota

You might be wondering what’s going on with my new mare Bluebird. I got her in April, after my sister in Idaho called and asked if I’d like to have her, and we had her shipped all the way to Iowa. She has fit in well with our other four horses, but summer was busy and she was underweight and I just didn’t find the time to work with her at all. She’s five years old, and still not broke, but I was mostly concerned with putting weight back on her. But I have been feeling bad about letting her go so long without training.

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Kip Fladland Training Clinic, Part 2 — Horsemanship

September 30, 2014
Penny and I at a Kip Fladland Training Clinic

The riding part of the Kip Fladland Training Clinic that I went to a few weeks ago seemed to go so much faster than the groundwork part. Maybe it was because I’m not used to that much walking, I don’t know, but I was sure tired out! The morning’s work was good for us, as I think it gave us a really good focus for the riding part to follow.

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Kip Fladland Training Clinic, Part 1—Groundwork

September 19, 2014
My Drawing of Kip Fladland

Last Saturday I had the privilege of attending a Groundwork/Horsemanship training clinic with Kip Fladland, of LaRiata Ranch near Griswold, Iowa. It was the first horse training clinic I have ever been to. I’ve been around natural horsemanship training my whole life, having grown up next door to Kevin Wescott (a Tom Dorrance and Ray Hunt style of trainer), who helped me get started training horses when I was a kid. But that was twenty years ago, and I’m needing to expand my groundwork techniques, and am always eager to learn more things I should be doing with my horses.

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Here Comes Fall

September 8, 2014
Here Comes Fall

Fall is my favorite time of year to go horseback riding. I am partial to summer, since I was born in August (my mother has a theory that the season you were born in is the one you like best; for instance, I like being hot, and don’t mind sweating; I hate the cold, and winter is my least favorite season), but summer is often so busy with gardening, vacations, kids’ activities, and things that can only be done in summer. I just never have time to ride in the summer, and so when fall arrives it is such a relief.

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Equine Colic

August 26, 2014
Equine Colic

We spent last Saturday, as we do most weekends, out at the farm. The horses are turned out to graze the green grass in the farmyard while my husband and I work in the garden and our kids play with the kittens and ride bikes and such. My brother in law and his wife had planned to go to the city for the day, so they left their three year old daughter and six month old baby with us. We were getting along well and having an enjoyable afternoon until I looked over at the group of horses and noticed Daisy just standing there, not eating. I immediately thought, “She’s colicking.” And I turned out to be right.

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Riding in Summer

July 22, 2014
Riding Daisy Down A Gravel Road

Summertime is busy. I love summer, but there is just so much going on, so much garden work to do, so many kids’ activities, so many vacations….nope, I am not complaining! But here it is nearing the end of July, and I finally got my saddle out and dusted it off and discovered that my stirrups were still set long from the last time I rode it…which was back at the first of April when Penny bucked me off! We rode at the end of May in Idaho, but here a month and a half later, my own horses have not been ridden all summer. I am just now finally get back to it!

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The Best Horse Trails In Iowa

June 24, 2014
The Best Horseback Riding Trails In Iowa

I was recently asked to write a guest post for Equitrekking.com about the best horseback riding trails in Iowa. They are conducting a 50 State Trail Riding Project, and needed a post for good horseback riding trails in Iowa; so they contacted me to see if they could have permission to reprint my post on the Pierce Creek Trails near Essex, Iowa. I told them “sure”, but that I could do a little better, and I set out on a mission to complete a descriptive guide to my favorite horse riding trails around the state.

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Sights From The Saddle

June 20, 2014
Sights From The Saddle

We visited my parents in Idaho around the end of May. They live in a beautiful valley in the southeast part of the state where they raise beef cattle, Quarter Horses, and mules. We spent a week out there riding horses, hiking on mountain trails, enjoying their western scenery, and catching up on life among the Lewis family. I took two cameras, and when I got home there were over 700 photos on my memory cards! So this blog post is to share some of the sights I saw, most of them taken from the back of a horse.

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Cattle Drive up Pass Creek

May 30, 2014
Riding Sage On A Cattle Drive

We extended our stay in Idaho a couple extra days so that we wouldn’t miss their annual cattle drive where they take their cow and calf herd fifteen miles up into the mountains. It is an all-day event, starting early and ending late, and involves a lot of horseback riding and beautiful scenery. We didn’t want to miss it! All week my sister Karmen and I had been getting horses ready. Karmen put shoes on four horses so that their feet wouldn’t wear out on the rocky trail. I rode Donegal to give her a little refresher so she would be well-adjusted to being ridden again, as my dad was going to ride her on the drive and he is seventy years old and still recuperating from his accident that broke ribs last November. Karmen planned to ride her young mule Garnet, and I was going to take Stormy, the young mare I’d been riding all week.

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A Vacation With Horses

May 28, 2014
On Vacation Riding Horses

I’m on vacation this week. No, not sunning on some beautiful beach somewhere like most people would think of, but in my opinion this is better—I’m visiting my family in Idaho and spending a great percentage of my time horseback. I usually refer to my folks’ place as a “working cattle ranch”, with emphasis on the “working!” I am not used to this much physical exertion, andevery muscle aches, my arms and neck are sunburned, and I am saddle sore. But this is my kind of vacation!

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