You’ve been barrel racing for years, you’ve won some hefty checks & you travel anywhere from all over your state to Georgia & beyond to compete at huge super shows & NBHA World Finals. You’re confident in your running style & have an unbreakable bond between you & your horses; an understanding, an agreement & of course, some treats along the way. Maybe its time to give it a shot with the big dogs, maybe you are ready to stop being be a big fish in a little pond.
So what is the next steps? What do you have to do to get your WPRA (Women’s Pro Rodeo Association) card? Well, it’s easy & it’s not so easy at the same time if that makes any sense at all. The membership forms are readily available for download so you can print your application & mail/fax it in. Membership is only open to women aged 18 or older, with the exception of the Junior WPRA and the 17 & Under Roping programs.
Directly from the WPRA website:
The majority of members in the WPRA are barrel racers who wish to compete in the WPRA barrel races held at PRCA rodeos. New members who are interested in barrel racing at PRCA rodeos must start their membership in the WPRA with a permit. The WPRA rules require that you win $1000 in WPRA competition before you are eligible to buy your WPRA card.
The WPRA Roping Division focuses on the All Women’s rodeo events; Breakaway, Tie Down, and Team Roping. There is a separate roping membership as well as a 17 and under roping membership that does not allow you to compete in WPRA barrel races held at PRCA rodeos.
The WPRA Junior Barrel Membership was created to develop young members (18 and under) through Divisional Circuit Co-Approved Jackpots and to prepare our young members to enter the world of professional rodeo.
So let’s talk about getting your permit.
There is a fantastic set of tips and information on WPRA Permits 101 which is filled with easy to read information that you can refer back to at any point in time. We stated earlier that you must win $1000 in WPRA competitions before you are eligible for your WPRA card. As permit holder you can run & try to win money at any of the regular season WPRA approved rodeos OR in the 1D at WPRA Divisional Circuit Co-approved jackpot races. The permit is $325 & is the same application form as the card, just make sure you are checking the correct box, or it’s wasted money. I like this idea because you get a taste for the rodeo road without committing to the entire season. If you give a shot & it turns out successful, then onto getting your card you go. If you find that its not for you or one of your horses and you want to work on some learning, growing and training, it was still a great opportunity to give it a try & head back to the drawing board with specifics in mind.
You can find the schedule for 2019 right here – it is split into 2 schedules. All events & Pro Rodeos only. There might be a local WPRA approved event near you in the “All Events” schedule. Check it out!
Being a member of the WPRA is more than just running barrels. It is a community with wonderful benefits & you’ll expand your equestrian family with all the new people you meet and friends you make. Rodeo is alive & well but anything is one generation away from disappearing. So keep up the great work & get your kids involved too while they are young, so they are ready to hit the ground running when it’s time.
Are you thinking about getting your WPRA permit or card? Comment below! We would love to cheer you on!
As always, thanks for stopping by!
Stay safe & God Bless!
Ever wondered how those magically stylish yet functional boots of foot art are made? Well today’s your lucky day!
Western boots (commonly known as cowboy or cowgirl boots) come in all styles, shapes, cuts & sizes. They range from beautifully basic & functional to sassy, stylish & fashionable. Either option are wonderfully comfortable & there are some great companies out there making some stunning boots!
So here is how these babies are made!
Wow! That was a ton of steps and that was me summarizing! Maybe one day we can go to the factory itself, go behind the scenes and get a nitty gritty, up close and personal look at how some of your favourite boots are made. What is your go-to brand? Do you like Justin, Corral, Ferrini, Dan Post, Ariat, Tony Lama? Please comment below! I want to hear all about what kind of boot you strut your stuff in or work your butt off in!
As always, thanks for stopping by!
Stay safe & God bless!
TheraPlate – and not the kind you eat off.
I would like to extend a huge thank you to Christa of Piaffe Style for giving me the opportunity for this guest post. I am super excited to share some cool stuff with you all today!
I recently discovered the TheraPlate which I didn’t think anything of other than that it was something rich equestrians at the Grand Prix levels could use and boy, was I wrong. You don’t have to own one to have your horse benefit from it. TheraPlate owners can be anyone from individuals to veterinarian facilities.
Interested in what it is and what it does? Well here is some information to get you started.
*Please note I am not sponsored or endorsed by Theraplate products – I just have a huge interest in them*
What is this thing you call a TheraPlate?
It is a somewhat large but shallow platform which your horse stands on. There are multiple variations that can be used for equines, human, dogs, cats & minis. It vibrates at different strengths to help heals wounds, injuries, or promote circulation. I’ve seen every kind of horse with a job use it. Horses seem big enough to handle anything we “throw” at them, but they need spa days and healing days just as much as us humans do.
Introducing horses to the TheraPlate is easy and non-intrusive. Even timid horses seem to relax and enjoy the TheraPlate after a few minutes on the platform. You use it 1-3 times daily for about 10-15 minutes – short & sweet! There is a travel version available & a more permanent version for your barn or stables.
What are the benefits of the TheraPlate?
Benefits from the TheraPlate can be seen in the bones & joints, in a horse’s overall performance, improvement in cardiovascular health & neurological health. I have heard from friends who use them, it has helped when their horse has laminitis or has trouble with their hooves & in older horses with joint health and function when it comes to providing comfort even in retirement. It also seems to get horses by per say until a vet can come out to them if it not a dire emergency.
Many athletic equine teams use them to increase muscle mass, reduce injuries, reduce healing time/have faster healing time and as a tool in warm ups and cool downs. The Theraplate increases circulation, reduces swelling & inflammation and reduces stress.
Lot of things affect our equine partners’ health. We must make sure we are feeding them correctly, riding them properly, letting them recover from a workout properly. Horses can a human’s escape from the world or even part of the human’s job, but we must remember they are not a tool, they are a partner to taken care of. When we take care of ourselves, go to the gym, eat healthy & have self-care days we work better and care for our families better; the same goes for our horses.
So, whether you have a dressage or barrel horse, a cross country eventer or a trail rider, the TheraPlate is something worth looking into to help improve the health and healing of your horse. You can find a local distributor, vet, owner or event that is near you to give it a try.
Have you tried the TheraPlate before? What do you do to help keep your horse feeling good and in tip-top condition? Comment below your thoughts or reach out to me on the blog itself, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or even Pinterest.
As always, thanks for stopping by!
Stay safe & God Bless!
Biography: Catriona (Cat) was born & raised in Edinburgh, Scotland. She moved to Central Florida 13 years ago & has always been a lover of horses. She recently became a sponsor for West Volusia Saddle Club & enjoys celebrating & connecting the equestrian & rodeo communities on a global scale. She is blissfully married to the love of her life & law enforcement officer, Jon & they have 3 animal children. 2 cat princesses named Saphy & Mittens & 1 chickens called Xena. She works full time at a local bank & spends her free time photographing local horse shows, blogging (of course), feeding her Mum prosecco (LOL) & hanging out with her hubby.
I would like to say a huge thank you to Christa of Piaffe Style for this month’s guest post. I know you are all going to love it! Head on over to her website for training, competition, lifestyle, grooming & health tips & information. Her website makes me do lots of those little emojis with the heart eyes! Anywhooo….I am taking away from her amazing post. Here you go: What we should learn from dressage riders.
Dressage riders are definitely admirable, there is no doubt about that. The discipline, focus and precision it takes requires years and years of practice, and the learning never ends. The fact is, that dressage is the base of everything – great basics in dressage can even help showjumpers and hunters to perform better.
All of us, regardless of our chosen discipline or level of riding, can learn something from dressage riders. And here are the best tips.
When the Queen of Dressage, world number 1 ranking Isabell Werth deals with a spooky horse, she encourages forward fix. If your horse is spooky, bolting or stays behind your leg, the fix is always forward. An attitude of “we won’t discuss this” is very important in this kind of situation.
Whatever your discipline is, a steady rhythm is important. You can’t ride a dressage test, a showjumping course or a hunter course without a steady rhythm. Isabell’s solution is doing many, many transitions during your ride. Aside from your warm up, transitions between gaits, within gates and from one movement to another help you establish a good rhythm and a supple horse.
Kyra Kyrklund, a five-time Olympian, says that you should not ride a horse longer than 45 minutes. “A horse can carry us for 45 minutes,” she says. She also adds that you should not work a horse until he is sour. Finish on a good note and give your horse many chances to be proud of himself.
You shouldn’t work on many things during one ride. Choose one thing to work on each day: canter transitions, trot poles, distance and so on. This gives you a chance to work on one thing properly and to devote all your time for that one thing. Kyra Kyrklund says that you have to practice one thing so many times that in order to get it right, you don’t need luck.
Dressage riders are very well-known for their excellent discipline. In order to become good at what you do, stay disciplined! Practice the rein-backs, practice the scary jumps, practice… and practice more.
Let’s face it: horseback riding is an extreme sport. Keeping yourself safe by wearing a helmet, using safety stirrups, protecting your horse’s leg with boots – this is all very important in order to keep yourself and your horse from getting hurt.
Horses have a shorter memory than dogs – it’s about 3-4 seconds. It’s important to reward your horse immediately after a good reaction. A reward can be a light pat on the neck or a step or two of relaxation on your part – let the horse know he did a good job and he’s much more motivated to do it again.
Even if you don’t do dressage on a daily basis, practicing certain movements and learning from dressage riders can make you a better showjumper, hunter or even barrel racer. Take some time to establish a great connection with your horse, and you will surely see a reward in a long run.
Wow! I feel like I learnt something new, did you? I always strive to improve myself or my knowledge by 1% everyday and I certainly feel like I did reading Christa’s post. Thank you so much Christa!
Thank you so much for stopping by!
Stay safe & God Bless!
It’s that time again for the RAM National Circuit Finals Rodeo here in Kissimmee, Florida. We are already rodeo crazed and counting down the days until dirt flies BUT we have a cherry on top that you will hop right out of the saddle for.
Country Thunder is coinciding with the RNCFR this year and whoa, the line-up is INCREDIBLE!!! Luke Bryan, Toby Keith, Maddie & Tae just to name a few out of the 16 artists that will be performing this year! Do you have your tickets yet? NO?!?!?! Well, what are you waiting for? Grab a friend & head over to get your tickets for the rodeo and the concert NOW before it’s too late!
Make Spring 2019 the best yet by attending two of the hottest events in the COUNTRY!
As always, thanks for stopping by!
God bless & stay safe.
As we wrap up 2018 here in a handful of days, I was reflecting on how this year went and how I can improve in 2019. I photographed horses shows & local rodeos at an 85% attendance throughout the year at one rodeo arena and one local horse club. Along with those 2 locations, I had 2 weddings, a corporate event & a heavy sprinkling of maternity, newborn, senior & family photo shoots. As a blogger I like to include my own images on articles rather than royalty-free stock images so photography has a lot to account for in my blog-life also.
Here is what I learnt from photographing & blogging in 2018.
Thank you for staying for that novel of a post – I cannot thank you enough for being with me through 2018 or since whenever you decided to join us here at International Cowgirl Blog. I hope you had a lovely Christmas & I wish you all the best for the New Year!
Stay safe & God Bless!
~~ Cat, International Cowgirl.
Hi there gang! International Cowgirl here! I would like to give a huge thanks to Sarah Jones for writing this month’s guest post. Sarah is a freelance writer currently writing for Equi Supermarket in the United Kingdom. I hope you love her article as much as I did. Enjoy!
While our relationship with horses started out as a very practical one, using them for transport and farming purposes, we now know they have a much larger role to play in our lives and are very complex and sensitive creatures.
It has been proven that activities with horses, combined with more traditional treatments, can make a real difference to people suffering from mental health issues such as ADHD or depression. They can also help with those who need physical therapy or speech therapy as well.
Equine-assisted therapy, as it is officially known, has also been shown to help patients suffering from PTSD and works to increase self-esteem, build concentration and help patients to relax and reduce anxiety levels. Equine-assisted therapy covers several different ways in which horses can be used within therapy to help treat patients. For example, Hippo therapy involves using the way horses move to help with physical therapy.
Hippo therapy has been proven to help with patients who have multiple sclerosis or cerebral palsy and also for those who have suffered a stroke and it has been around for hundreds of years as a known practice. When it comes to supporting mental health, equine-assisted psychotherapy uses horses to help treat behavioural and psychological problems and is a therapy which is in its infancy, and is not widely practiced as scientists are still working to understand exactly why and how horses help with mental health problems.
However, what is known is that horses are very sensitive animals, highly in tune with their environment and very good at picking up on people’s emotional states. When used in therapy in this way, the horse will often pick up on the patient’s emotions before the therapist does, moving towards them to offer comfort for example.
We spoke to the team behind Equi Supermarket and they gave us insights on other benefits equine therapy has. They stated that working with large horses help to support people trying to overcome fears and gain confidence in other areas of life. Knowing they can deal with and handle a large animal helps them overcome other challenges.
Horses also work well with people who want to build a relationship with them and this social interaction can also help with people suffering from social anxieties as the horse passes no judgement and just responds to them.
Equine assisted psychotherapy has been used to treat a wide range of mental health conditions including: depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, ADHD, aggression, substance abuse, eating disorders and communication problems.
Generally a session will involve working with both a therapist and a horse-handler and will involve psychotherapy techniques including role-playing, combined with horse-related activities such as grooming and taking the horse on a walk. The patient then talks about how they felt during the session.
There have been many case studies demonstrating the benefits of equine-assisted psychotherapy but the controlled studies to prove it scientifically are somewhat lacking. However there have been papers published in psychology journals highlighting it as a promising therapy area. The paper showed that it was also a great therapy option to try for people who had already failed to respond to a more traditional approach. From the case studies so far, it has been shown that even after just two or three sessions, people have experienced in improvement in: communication skills, self-awareness, self-esteem, empowerment, relaxation, relationships, focus, happiness and self-control. The examples also revealed that those who underwent equine assisted psychotherapy managed to reduce their levels of depression, aggression and anger, highlighting the effectiveness of the approach for these particular mental health issues.
Unfortunately horse therapy for mental health isn’t a widely available treatment at the moment so it might be difficult to find a willing practitioner however they do exist and if you do some research you will be able to find a reputable equine therapy centre to suit your particular requirements.
Riding horses has long been known to have positive health effects from the physical exercise as well as the benefits of being outdoors in the fresh air, but now it is becoming more and more evident that horses can have a strong benefit to our mental health as well. Just going out for a ride can take your mind off any worries, giving you time to relax and switch off as you need to concentrate entirely on the riding process to stay balanced and safe in the saddle.
Horses make great loyal companions which can also be a key part of any healing process from a mental health condition or life problem. Our relationship with horses has come a long way from simply using them to haul loads and pull heavy farm machinery – now we are truly coming to value the sensitivity of these animals and how amazing our connection with them really can be. There is no doubt that equine therapy is here to
Thank you again Sarah for writing such a thought-provoking article!
What did you think readers? Comment below if you enjoyed this as much as I did!
I would love to follow this article up with any Equine-Assisted Therapists who are avid readers or followers of the blog. If you would like to be a guest writer or be featured on International Cowgirl Blog, head over to our Contact Me page & submit a request! Easy peazy lemon squeazy!
As always, thank you for stopping by!
Stay safe & God Bless!
~~ Cat, International Cowgirl xoxo
It’s August & I couldn’t be more excited to share an adventure with you! I don’t know about you but time is flying by this year & The Gobi Desert Cup is quickly approaching.
What is this GOBI DESERT CUP, you say?
What: Taken straight from The Gobi Desert Website it is a “10 Days adventure, secluded from the rest of the world, living with nomadic people, riding endurance trained Mongolian horses, travelling 480km to test your endurance & challenge your horsemanship through an international endurance race” – because I couldn’t have said it any better myself. Doesn’t that sound enticing? Dreamy? Challenging? Like something you want to do?
And as if that incredible description of it all isn’t enough – you need to watch this: The Gobi Desert Cup
When: August 22nd through the 31st 2018
Where: Ulan Bataar – the capital of Mongolia & The Gobi Desert. If you are more visual when it comes to geography, here is a map:
Ride Director Camila Champagne took some time out of her incredibly busy schedule to chat with us about The Gobi Desert Cup. Note: her bio on the website proves just how much of a bada** woman & equestrian that she is so this interview is a precious one to me as she is a internationally revered Equestrian Queen!
You can find tons of more information on THE GOBI DESERT CUP website & after doing some extensive research, here are some tips from us here at International Cowgirl Blog so you can be a successful international cowgirl (or cowboy) at The Gobi Desert Cup in the near future.
Tip 1: The weather is extreme year round as Mongolia is landlocked between China & Russia so choose your clothing wisely. You want to go for layers that you can add in cold mornings/evenings & take off in warm & windy afternoons. Keep it functional & don’t forget your sunglasses & SPF!
Tip 2: Riders in warmers countries will know more about this tip but neck scarves are a great functional tool & those Sham-wow towels that don’t drip water can help keep you cool but covered in extreme temps. Regular neck scarves will help keep you shaded & can also be utilized in windy, sandy areas to cover your mouth & nose.
Tip 3: Invest in a GoPro or something similar. They are easy to use whether you are familiar with using a camera or not & they are small enough to where you don’t have worry about bulky cameras & all the gear that comes with them. A plus to small Go-Pro style cameras is that their charge could probably last you whole trip if you played your cards right BUT there is a wonderful press presence along the way and at each stop so your journey will be documented well.
Tip 4: Keep a travel journal. Yeah, yeah, it may sounds like we are 16 & keeping diaries again but this is an easy & convenient way to jot down names, experiences, little things along the way that you could keep for bigger purposes down the road such as a book, scrapbook, or album depending on your preferences. For most people this could be a once in a lifetime trip and you don’t want to forget a single bit of it!
Tip 5: Don’t skip on the training. Take Ride Director Camila’s advice and start early. Keep up with your riding but also try yoga & Pilates so you are extra loose & nimble. You will have tons of help along the way from Training Day 1 until you leave Mongolia.
You can always stay up to date by following the organization on social media platforms such as their Facebook , Instagram: The Gobi Desert Cup (@thegobidesertcup), Twitter: The Gobi Desert Cup on Twitter & YouTube – I do warn you though; once you click that follow or like button, you will be hooked & calling your travel agent to book flights & get your adventure started ASAP!
As always, thank you so much for stopping by & I would love to hear about your experiences with The Gobi Desert Cup if you have gone in the past or plan on attending this year.
I’d like to publicly thank Heather Wallace -The Timid Rider for the opportunity to feature this event. She will be participating in this years ride as the Media Contact & Consultant, covering the entire event whilst immersed in the local nomadic culture. Please join me in wishing her all the best & safe travels to Heather & all the riders coming together from across the globe.
God bless & stay safe!
Guest post by the brilliant Mike Shortridge. Enjoy!
Horses have long been used to provide therapy for both adults and children for a number of reasons as well as just for pleasure or for competing. Studies have proven the benefits of interaction between humans and horses over the years.
Horseback riding therapy holds specific benefits for adults with disabilities, providing amazing opportunities for strengthening muscles and helping with physical coordination as well as providing an enjoyable social interaction. The team at Horseseller.com.au were kind enough to give us their quick summary of some of the key therapeutic effects which horseback riding can have for adults.
1. Dexterity and fine motor skills
Riding a horse requires a lot of small movements of the muscles, particularly within the arms and hands, to help hold the reins and guide the horse. This type of movement helps to improve the manual dexterity and fine motor skills of adults. Holding the reins correctly is a task which requires nimble hand movements alone, helping to improve dexterity levels.
2. Better gross motor skill use
Both the experience of getting on and off a horse, and the rise and fall of the body as it moves to the horse’s rhythm, help to improve the rider’s muscle control. These muscle movements involve the use of gross motor skills so the more often the rider mounts up the more frequently they will be using and developing their own gross motor skills.
3. Better balance and coordination
For an adult who has coordination or balance problems due to their disabilities, horse riding is an ideal therapy. Getting on and off the horse using stirrups and reins requires coordination, while simply staying on a horse as it moves uses a lot of muscles to keep the rider in balance the whole time. Staying on the horse is vital for safety and the body needs to use all the postural muscles to help the body stay in the right position. This helps to improve posture and balance. Any riding activity such as starting and stopping the horse or changing direction, all require the body to move and adapt and use muscles to help the rider remain balanced.
4. A stronger core
The way a horse moves while being ridden requires the rider to use their leg and upper body muscles constantly to stay on board as the horse’s body sways. This gives the core of the body a really good strengthening workout every time an adult rides. Not only will the body’s coordination and balance improve but that central core strength will grow and increase the more the rider practices.
5. Better social skills development
Adults who have difficulty socialising or interacting will also benefit from horseback riding, certainly from developing a distinct bond with the horse itself, which can become incredibly powerful in a short space of time. But therapeutic horseback riding is often undertaken in groups meaning adults can interact with others in a similar position and share stories and experiences with the group, as well as with the instructors and stable staff. These groups can provide a valuable outlet for adults with disabilities who might not have anywhere else they feel they can open up about the frustrations of their condition, or about the joys of horseback riding.
6. Stimulation of the senses
For adults with sense disorders such as autism, horseback riding can be an unbelievably positive experience. Horses provide a positive stimulation to all of the rider’s senses including vision, hearing, touch and smell. The feel of the horse and the physical act of riding can help to stimulate the senses of adults with specific sensory impairments bringing them real enjoyment and appreciation.
7. General fitness levels
As well as the specific therapeutic effects outlined above it mustn’t be forgotten that horse riding is a great form of regular exercise, helping to keep fitness levels up and working large groups of muscles so for adults with disabilities who might not be able to access other kinds of fitness, horseback riding can be a great and enjoyable way to keep their physical bodies in good condition.
8. Mood improvements
Some disabilities can lead to mood problems and frustrations but horseback riding can have a calming, meditative effect. The combination of being outside in the fresh air and the focus on the rhythm of the horse can have a profound relaxing effect on the rider’s mental wellbeing as well as improving their physical condition.
Riding a horse for a hobby is a lot of fun but there is so much more to horse riding than a quick trek through the woods. Horse riding has long been known to provide great therapeutic benefits, particularly for adults with disabilities and physical problems.
From helping to elevate the mood to improving strength, posture and balance, horseback riding can be an incredibly beneficial and positive pastime.
About our Guest Writer: Mike is a freelance writer who contributes regularly for Horseseller.com.au blog. During his spare time, he likes to binge watch on his latest TV obsession and go hunting for obscure vinyl toys.
We cannot thank Mike enough for contributing to International Cowgirl Blog. His expertise will sure to be helpful to many of our readers. Do you have something you would like to featured on the blog? Get in touch! Comment or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org – we would love to hear from you!
As always, stay safe & God bless!
US rider, Beezie Madden, cleared the final fence in the jump off during the fifth Annual Great American $1million Grand Prix in a blazing 44.479 seconds to bring home her second $1million Grand Prix win on Sunday March 25th 2018.
Beezie is a four-time USEF Equestrian of the year & has been inspiring up and coming riders for decades. She started competing at the Grand Prix level in 1985 and won her first $1million Grand Prix at HITS in Saugerties, NY back in 2015.
It was incredible to watch riders from all over the world compete in last weekend’s Great American $1 Million Grand Prix – Ocala, Florida :: HITS on pristine lawns, soaking up the beautiful weather.
The course was designed by Ireland’s Alan Tipperary which seemed to be a challenge for both seasoned & newer Grand Prix riders but it brought out the best in every rider & horse duo. The crowd was encouraging & supportive which is always a plus. You could hear a pin drop during the jump off and I thoroughly enjoyed seeing how the riders communicated with their horses…those horses…sigh…a girl can dream right?
It was definitely a Grand Prix for the books! Congratulations to Beezie Madden & Coach for their win on Sunday!
We are already planning our trip out to Ocala, FL next year so between the Live Oak International & the Great American $1million Grand Prix, it will be an eventful Winter circuit at HITS Ocala here in Central Florida in 2019.
Huge thanks to Equestrian Living – Celebrating Country Life for providing me with free tickets that I won via an online contest earlier in the month! I never win anything so I was on cloud nine for winning & for being able to attend such an incredible event!
As always, thanks for stopping by!
Stay safe & God bless!