Skip to content

July 2023 Horse Report

As I mentioned last month, my plans to breed Annie didn’t go the way I hoped, and I’m shifting gears with her this fall to my #2 goal⁠—going horse camping! In the meantime, my other passion has been keeping me quite busy.

I’ve spent most of the summer at the helm of my boat, Legasea, on an epic voyage south on the inland river system. It’s been an exciting adventure, with enough challenges to keep it interesting, and lots of learning opportunities.

As you read this, I’m on the final leg of a 750-mile journey that started north of St. Louis on the Upper Mississippi River, and will eventually land us in the Gulf of Mexico. For now, I’ll be leaving the boat in a safe harbor for a well-deserved rest, and I’ll continue my journey south after hurricane season passes.

In the meantime, I’ll be drastically shifting gears in a couple of weeks—heading to Ireland to lead two riding tours. After that, I’m off to C Lazy U for two clinics in October, followed by the Certified Horsemanship Association International Conference, and then Equine Affaire, Massachusetts. Phew!

Since my horse activities have been curtailed this summer, I decided to check in with my team back home and share with you how they’re coming along with their own horses and what goals they’ve set for themselves.


*Free shipping to U.S. addresses only, shipping will be adjusted on international orders.

Mel's Training Updates

This year has been all about Woodrow! He’s now 6, and has grown and matured so much. He’s really exceeding my expectations. I’ve been building his experience, exposing him to trails, roads, new arenas⁠, and different riders. We’ve done some roping in the arena and outside of the arena, helping Twyla doctor calves. In the middle of her longhorn herd, he’s proven to be a rock solid and trustworthy partner with a level-headed calmness that, quite frankly, I didn’t expect. It really seems to be his happy place!

Gus (who is also 6) and I participated in Julie’s Troxel Helmets photoshoot earlier this summer, and other than becoming a little rattled over a surprise trail obstacle, he remained as steady and reliable as ever. And, of course, the camera loves him, and I’m always excited to get more photos of my beautiful boy. I’ve also started practicing a little mounted shooting with the hopes of attending some shoots this winter with Woodrow and Gus.

Gus and Woodrow are now enjoying some R & R. So that leaves me with Newt to occupy my time!

Newt is still only a yearling, and for the most part, I’m just allowing him to grow up. He is very inquisitive, bold, and playful. He knows that he can’t try his antics on me anymore (such as crowding my space, putting lips on me, being pushy, etc.), but in his mind, new people are fair game until proven otherwise!  Because he is young, I’m diligent about reminding him of and reinforcing his manners.

Underneath all of the coltish shenanigans, I am beginning to see glimmers of the calm and confident partner he will become, with the “go get ’em” attitude that I love!


*Free shipping to U.S. addresses only, shipping will be adjusted on international orders.

Meet Twyla's Herd

I love well-bred, athletic horses who have good work ethics. I own three ranch horses, all of which are performance horse quality. Two are full siblings, and I bred, raised, and trained all three horses. All three were sent to specialty trainers for their specific jobs once they were old enough to begin their various careers.

Jess Girl is my 14-year-old mare who was originally meant to be bred for my daughter and granddaughter. But life happens, and while my granddaughter has enjoyed her (including starring on an episode of Horse Master with Julie Goodnight and gathering cattle on the ranch), Jess Girl is my heart horse. I always laugh when I recall the morning she was born. It was 4:00am, and I just missed her birth. She was still soaking wet but when she heard my voice, she raised her head and nickered softly. Small, pretty and athletic, this little red mare has a big heart and a big motor⁠—she is the sportscar of the herd. I use her for cutting, sorting, and gathering.

I enjoy taking the mare to cutting clinics to learn as much as possible about the sport of cutting, but she is also my “Sunday horse ride.” She is just plain fun to ride, and has been a great therapy horse to just go enjoy hanging out or to ride around the ranch.

Angel Girl is a striking sorrel mare with a blaze and four white socks,and she has ended up being my “extra” horse. She loves the trail and moving out over vast country.

Most recently, I have been in contact with some young horse-crazy girls through my lesson program, and they love gymkhana. I am thinking I may try my hand at getting this horse in the arena to see how she would be in a gymkhana or rodeo situation, and start her new career with the intent of being used by these young people.

Rowdy is my big black horse and a full brother to Jess Girl. He was named for a young boy that lost his life in a ranching accident. He is a seasoned 12-year-old gelding and my go-to ranch gelding. My plan for Rowdy is to be a strong roping horse, and he takes his role very seriously. Rowdy is a very “cowy” horse who not only watches cattle closely, but has the athleticism to position himself easily whether it’s roping or sorting, and that makes him a pleasure to ride.

He also takes to the mountain trails well. He is a safe and steady mount in the mountains, and he won’t refuse any terrain if his job of moving cattle up and down the mountains requires him to navigate steep and rocky footing to head cattle back to the preferred path, both qualities I enjoy. I am working on my roping skills with Rowdy and hope one day I can not only rope when it’s necessary, but also compete in team roping.


*Free shipping to U.S. addresses only, shipping will be adjusted on international orders.

Diana's Favorite Vacation Ride

I had the privilege of going to C Lazy U Ranch, in Granby, Colorado with Julie Goodnight for a long weekend clinic one October.

My horse was named Cowboy, and we got along wonderfully. The group I was assigned to was very adventurous, and on one trail ride we all got in a line and did a “Cavalry Charge” across a meadow.

On another trail ride we spotted a young moose. I had forgotten how much fun it is to be on top of a powerful horse, feeling the cool mountain air and surveying the beautiful landscape of the C Lazy U Ranch.


*Free shipping to U.S. addresses only, shipping will be adjusted on international orders.

Megan's Las Vegas Competition

I started competing on a new horse in mounted shooting in February this year, and last weekend we competed at the CMSA Lakota Western U.S. Championship in Las Vegas. This little mare is a young, sassy sweetheart, and she knows her job. I have been learning a lot about how to manage her (but not micromanage her), when to help her, and when to leave her alone and let her work.

The competition was at South Point arena, had over 300 entries, and was buzzing with energy. That little mare took it all in stride, and handled the busy atmosphere really well. We had an amazing time in Las Vegas, and put down some runs I am really proud of. But that’s not to say we didn’t have challenging moments.

On the first day, we ran two courses that I actually really like, but they didn’t go as well as I had envisioned. I missed two out of 10 balloons on the first course, but the little mare ran SO WELL, so I was really happy with it despite making some mistakes in my run. 

On the second stage, I couldn’t think straight when I got in the arena. I went off my intended route twice, nearly missing one turn, and over-cueing for the next turn. I ended up missing one balloon target, and dumped one of my guns in the dirt (another penalty, and a dirt-filled gun to clean out). 

The little mare didn’t appreciate my herky-jerky riding one bit, and I don’t blame her for kicking out in protest as we finished the course. It was definitely not my best horsemanship. I felt really bad for being unfair to my horse, and I apologized to her when we got back to the stalls. 

Thankfully, I was able to focus better after this. I didn’t carry my disappointment into my next 3 runs, and I made a plan for what I needed to do differently so it didn’t happen again.

Saturday and Sunday went much better. The last course was our best, and it⁠ was a great way to finish. I was happy with my rides overall⁠—they got better and better with each run. I got the best overall times I’ve ever had at a major competition!

The little mare and I definitely came together more, refined our communication, and figured out some important things, so I’m excited to keep going! She has pushed me to be a better rider, and I believe we left Vegas a better team, ready to step up our game to the next level.


*Free shipping to U.S. addresses only, shipping will be adjusted on international orders.

You Might Also Like...