Tres Caballos

May 26, 2014
Riding Horses At My Parents' Ranch in Idaho

It’s not often I get to ride three different horses in one day—much less, ride new colts and just-started horses, which is one of my favorite things. I’m in Idaho, visiting my parents and sister, and besides enjoying family time over the Memorial Day weekend and following week, our goal was to put some rides on their colts. They have twenty head in their horse and mule herd, and they are so busy with irrigating their alfalfa fields, putting up hay, and caring for their cattle that training horses gets put off. So I am always anxious to get some horses started or do more riding when we visit

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Cowgirl Art

May 14, 2014
Cowgirl Art

I have become a horse collector, evidently. There are five of them in my corral, and I simply cannot turn down the chance to add another to my collection. My most recent addition came all the way from Idaho, a gift from my little sister. She’s a pretty blue roan mare named Bluebird, and I just love her. I’m heading out to visit the Idaho ranch soon, and decided to surprise my sister with a gift in return, so I found a beautifully framed horse print that I know she’ll love.

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Branding Smoke

May 6, 2014
Branding Smoke

Branding smoke….a fragrance that isn’t likely to be bottled and marketed by Dior or AirWick anytime soon, but nontheless a smell that evokes strong memories, pulling me into a reminiscent state of mind. I started helping brand calves when I was five years old, back when getting to go along for daily ranch work alongside my dad and siblings was what I lived for. Considering that a normal five year old would probably recoil at the sight of what goes on at a branding, I admit my abnormality of looking forward to branding days when I was a kid.

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My New Horse

April 12, 2014
My New Horse From Idaho

You can never have too many horses, right? My sister from Idaho called me the other day and offered me her beautiful blue roan mare. I didn’t know what to say, other than, “Please and thank you.” Other things went through my head, such as how will I get her here, it’s twelve hundred miles to Iowa from Idaho, and I already have four horses that I don’t work with as much as I should! But there was no way I could turn her down.

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Know When To Hold ‘Em

April 8, 2014
Getting Bucked Off A Horse

That old Kenny Rogers song came to mind today, as I was thinking over the happenings of my weekend. In terms of horses, you should never be too sure of a horse. Riding horses is always a gamble. There are no sure bets, and you can win or lose with a stroke of luck, good or bad. I always say, “That’s the way the cookie crumbled.” And there’s no predicting it, how events are going to go or what exactly is going to take place. I think the cards were stacked against me in the hand I was dealt on Saturday!

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Dorothy’s Adventure

April 4, 2014
Dorothy's New Adventures

You might remember my previous post regarding Dorothy the Hereford Cow. She has been part of our family for six years now, and we have grown fond of her. But Dorothy cannot have a baby calf, having suffered a stillborn and difficult birth in her third year, and so ever since she has just been a companion animal at our farm. If you keep horses or livestock, you know that it costs a lot to feed a large animal, and we raise beef cattle and aren’t really in the business of keeping cows as pets. So we have continually weighed our options and questioned ourselves on Dorothy’s purpose in life. We did not want to send her to the auction, knowing she would only sell as a slaughter animal. So we decided to try to find a good home for her as a pet cow, and try to get a little money for her as well, since we’d like to buy a mother cow to replace her.

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April 2, 2014
Training A New Horse Named Sugar

I got a phone call last weekend out of the blue. The guy had been searching online for horse trainers in the area and found an ad I had placed probably eight years ago (before I had kids) when I was looking to take in outside horses to train. He wondered if I could help him with two horses he was wanting trained, and me being the horse enthusiast I am, I said “Sure.” I had to follow that up with a lengthy explanation of how I am a mom of three, work full time, and almost never have the time to ride anymore–but I assured him that I could help him put some rides on these horses of his.

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Cowgirls of the Past

March 18, 2014
Famous Cowgirls of the Old West

Cowgirls of yesterday were famous for being bronc riders, sharp shooters, Wild West performers, and Hollywood actresses. They were brave, fun-loving, hard-working, and maybe just a little bit crazy in the head. I love reading their individual stories and lists of accomplishments, and it is so inspiring to look into the history of cowgirls. Not all of them were famous, and it is some of the more obscure stories that I enjoy the most. We’ve all heard of remarkable people like Annie Oakley, Calamity Jane, and Dale Evans. But there are so many more wonderful cowgirl stories out there! Here are just a few quotes and excerpts about some amazing horse women:

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Let ‘Em Buck

February 7, 2014
Let 'Em Buck

If you’ve trained a lot of horses, you probably already know that when you’re starting a colt, it’s not always a bad thing to let them buck. But I’ve talked to a few trainers who wholeheartedly disagree with me on the subject, and I’ve heard stories about people who have the mindset that letting a colt buck will ruin them and make them predisposed to bucking. My goal for this post is to weigh the pros and cons, explore the nature of the horse, and hopefully educate the reader.

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Learn While You’re Little

January 28, 2014
Riding Cricket

We recently stayed at a swanky hotel in St. Louis where my husband attended a business conference for his work. The kids and I went along just for fun, the thought of spending three days at an indoor-pool-equipped establishment being our main motivation—yes, the long winter is getting to us! While there, my husband got his cowboy boots shined at the shoe-shine station in the lobby. After seeing the transformation from scuffed to gleaming, our son wanted his little boots shined as well. While he sat and got them polished, one of the hotel managers struck up a conversation by asking our son if he had a horse to go with those boots….

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Women Who Ride

January 14, 2014
Me Riding Penny January 2014

You may have heard about the recent study sponsored by Harley Davidson that deducted that women who ride motorcycles are happier than women who don’t. The study was conducted by Kelton, and interviewed 1,013 adult female riders and 1,016 adult female non-riders. “The findings make it clear that riding a motorcycle greatly improves a woman’s feelings of overall self-worth.” I wonder what a similar study would find, if they interviewed women who ride horses rather than motorcycles?

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30 Things I’m Thankful For

November 29, 2013
Our Horse Herd

I didn’t follow the trend on Facebook of sharing daily posts with something you’re thankful for during the month of November, but mentally and in my prayers I listed many things, and decided to post them here. One of the locals has a good response when he leaves the bank I work at and I tell him, “Have a good day!” He always says, “It is a good day! If it weren’t, we wouldn’t be here.” I like his state of constant thankfulness. But these are some of the things I’m thankful for…

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An Everpresent Risk

November 1, 2013
Dad Riding In The Mountains

Riding horses is dangerous. So is operating an automobile. So I’m not saying we shouldn’t engage in either activity, but I’d like to point out that when you are around a horse, virtually anything can happen. I’ve seen good horses in bad wrecks, great riders get broken up, and not-very-cautious riders get away with doing some stupid things around horses and get away with it. What we all should keep in mind is that there is great risk involved in riding horses and training horses, and a smart rider will do what he can to protect himself and his horse.

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The Cows Came Home

October 23, 2013
Hereford Bull

I’m concocting a grandiose tale in my head about what might have happened last weekend. It goes something like this…Cowboy Dad and I loaded up our horses and trailered out to the South Dakota plains where our cow herd spent the summer. We then rode all day gathering up the herd, enjoying the beautiful western landscape, sorting the cows from the calves, pushing them onto a semi truck trailer, and driving home to Iowa. It would have been a wonderful weekend, with stories to tell of how well our horses worked cattle, and lots of photographs to share of the splendors of the prairie. But alas, it didn’t quite happen that way.

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Iowa in October

October 8, 2013
Riding Horses in Iowa In October

I’m sitting here after a long day, wondering what to write in this post to sum up the very best parts of my day to share on, and I’m not coming up with a whole lot of words. I went for a horseback ride this evening with JoAnn. It was a beautiful, windy, fall day…the kind of day that just beckons. I stuffed my old camera in the hip pocket of my jeans and away we went. Basically, it was a super fun ride. And the rest, I’ll just say with pictures….

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Horse News Headlines

October 1, 2013
Horse Stories In The News

I love reading about horses, especially horse headlines in the news. No matter how serious the story is, there is almost always some humor in it. Either that, or it’s a heartwarming story, like the woman who stayed with her horse that was stuck in the quicksand along an Australian beach, until both were rescued after 3 hours. Here are some of the most recent horse headlines I’ve read.

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Out On A Trail Somewhere

September 24, 2013
Riding Daisy at Hacklebarney Trails

If you’re looking for me these days, I’m probably out riding. The weather is unbelievably sweet, the horses are nothing short of amiable, and horseback riding is my number one favorite thing to do in the whole world, so I’m livin’ it up. I’ve been averaging a trail ride a week for the past month, and am loving it so much! I have two great people to give all the credit to.

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Selling Milo

September 13, 2013
Selling Our Appaloosa Gelding Milo

Our horse herd has changed. Over the summer, I decided to put up a few of our horses for sale because it is always a financial strain for us to feed five horses through the winter and I hate having skinny horses fighting over the hay. (Last winter was hard–we ran low on hay and hay quadrupled in cost around here, and the hay we could barely afford to buy was not good quality–it was a nightmare!) So I listed three of them on craigslist, thinking if we sold one then our horse herd would be of a more reasonable number. Me being a horse lover, you can never have too many horses, but until I win the lottery there has to be a limit. We really don’t have the space for five horses, so somebody needed to go.

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Pierce Creek Trails

September 8, 2013
Trail Riding At Pierce Creek Recreation Area, Essex, Iowa

My horse friend and I went riding again this week, this time to some new equestrian trails that are being developed five miles northeast of Shenandoah, Iowa. The Pierce Creek Recreation Area is a beautifully serene park with ten miles of well-developed trails for horseback riding. Some of the local riders have done a lot of work at the park to make it more horse friendly, and we chose a beautiful evening for a ride.

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Hacklebarney Trails

August 28, 2013
Trail Riding At Hacklebarney

We did it! My new horse friend and I went trail riding. It might be difficult for the casual reader to understand my exuberance. But I so seldom get to ride, especially not on actual trails in a new place, nor with a new-found fellow horse enthusiast, so I’m thrilled. My husband agreed to watch the kids, including the seven month old baby who is not used to being away from mama for any amount of time…so I went!

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