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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Sugar

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 CowgirlDiary.com, 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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Horse Radar

August 20, 2013
Making New Friends In The Horse World

I told a customer at work yesterday that I have “Horse Radar”. He looked at me funny…and I explained that I had seen his wife out trail riding the other day along a road, and wondered if he was riding with her. He said, “No, that was her daughter and a friend. Why?” I said, “Oh, I was just jealous, and told my husband—see? That’s what we should be doing today!” He said, “You have horses?” I said, “Yes, but I don’t get out to ride much.” He said, “Well, you should talk to my wife, she’s always looking for somebody to go riding with.” Phone numbers were exchanged, Facebook friend requests sent, and now his wife and I are planning to go ride at some trails as soon as we can!

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The Cowboy Way

July 24, 2013
The Cowboy Way

Not every horse story is a happy one. I talked to someone yesterday who told me about a filly that was causing trouble, fighting with other horses, and when tied up would pull back hard and break halters every time. So they tied her with a log chain around her neck, trying to break her of pulling back….and so she broke her neck. That story left me stunned, with a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach that I can’t get away from. I saw this filly not long ago, a beautiful bay roan with a big white star on her face. And just like that, she’s gone.

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Riding In The Mountains

July 17, 2013
Riding Horses On A Cattle Drive In The Mountains

In June we traveled out to Idaho to visit my folks. It’s been almost a year since we’ve seen them, as we didn’t make it out there for Christmas. So we were really looking forward to the making the trip, getting some fresh mountain air, spending time with family, and going on some adventures.

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Summer Riding Job

June 12, 2013
Summer Riding Job in the Idaho Mountains

I got a phone call from my dad in Idaho the other day…that doesn’t happen very often, but he had an important request.  Being internet-deprived, he asked me to post an advertisement for him to hire a couple of cowboys or “riders”, as they call them, for the summer months.  So I put a Help [...]

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Rodeo

May 25, 2013
Going To The Rodeo

When I was a teenager, this time of year was so exciting. School was ended and we were free to ride horses all day, which was pretty much all that was on my agenda. While Dad finished up the spring planting, we kids would be putting cattle out to pasture and checking on the late-calvers daily. There was so much to do on horseback!

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