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!
I did a thing y’all!!!
We started off the year with a fantastic guest post from Lindsey at Alta Mira Horsemanship which was a hit! Over the weekend my guest post for Alta Mira Horsemanship went live & I am a proud blog mama! Lol!
So head on over to Lindsey’s blog website & social media platforms Alta Mira Horsemanship – Home | Facebook & have a read. Remember to let me know what your thoughts are!
URL link: http://altamirahorsemanship.com/survive-todays-equestrian-world/ or click on here: Alta Mira Horsemanship.
As always, thanks for stopping by!
Stay safe & God bless!
I am super excited to share this post with you all this week. I am a total nerd, so attending seminars seems to be becoming a hobby of mine. Recently, I attended a seminar for Cavalor which I have heard wonders about in the UK & from other horse friends in Europe but hadn’t heard much about it here in the US. Libby, our US rep, was there to greet everyone at the door & was asking about everyone’s horses & I instantly feel in love with her…sounds weird but whatever. She was not “salesy” at all. She was a horse person & very relate-able. Her husband is a professional polo rider & together they own 26 horses – that may have grown in number depending on if her husband bought a horse while he was away. I know many of us (or maybe our husbands) can relate to a surprise growth in barn attendance at times, am I right ladies?
So to share some cliff notes about Cavalor (which can also be found on their US website ), they have been in business for 30 years in 50 countries. 10 of those years in the US with equine feed & about 12 – 13 years with their supplement line. Everything in their line of products has been researched for at least 7 years before it ever hits the market which I definitely admire. I don’t know about you but I am more apt to purchase from or support a company that does extensive research into creating a quality product rather than just hopping on the bandwagon.
There were 2 things that struck my attention very quickly. One was their lack of fillers/digestibility; the other was their cleanse. I will cover both of these throughout the article but it is truly exciting stuff. I never thought I would get excited about a cleanse but there’s the nerd in me showing again.
Our horses have many organs but the most overlooked organs are the liver and kidneys. They filter EVERYTHING! You spend all this money on feed & supplements & hope to God that the nutrients that your horse needs are absorbed before the time it hits the exit. After reading reviews and testimonies, it looks like Cavalor customers cut back on independent supplements thanks to the higher supplement content that is in the food already versus having to break down the pellets in other feeds in order to then absorb the supplement. I wish I would have video taped her metaphor about blueberries & granulated sugar going through a funnel…but if you can imagine those two things in a funnel, the sugar is going to whoosh down the funnel & be gone in seconds. If you have all blueberries, they are going to breakdown evenly & release all their natural sugar & antioxidants in a much more controlled way. Cavalor is created with puffed grain which is easier on our horses’ tummies & helps with absorbing the other supplements & antioxidants that are in the feed. You HAVE to try some of their products (which I managed to grab some samples of just for you, my wonderful readers).
Puffed grain is not only easy to digest but contains less (to zero) unnecessary fillers which means less inflammation, believe it or not. You know how sometimes there is too much salt in our food and we feel puffy, bloated or even look swollen? Same for our horses! Libby was excellent in explaining that everything starts with the gut so if you have a new horse in your barn, start with a cleanse (which is unbelievably affordable – $35 per horse – 10cc for 25 days & your done) & then work with her to find the right feed for your equine partner. Every single one of their feeds has a purpose & all but 2 have the puffed grain. Starting on a good foundation makes all the difference in the world & can help you find & solve any issues quickly. You are saving time eliminating this & that – you are starting from scratch & not turning your horses stomach into a chemistry experiment. So if you plan on switching feeds (& this applies to any feed NOT just Cavalor), CLEANSE!
Cavalor’s grains come from Europe & their oats come from Canada. They are mixed & packaged at an incredible plant in Dalton, Georgia. They have seen a significant improvement in allergy affected horses since the grains do not have GMOs or sprayed with pesticides. I, personally, feel that allergies are an industry related problem that is beginning to finally be addressed. I feel Cavalor is at the forefront of helping the equine industry get the problem of “food” related allergies solved!
Fun fact: the best time to feed is within 90 minutes after “work” (after cool down of course) because that is when the horses’ bodies are absorb the most nutrients.
So please check out their products or email Libby at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions or concerns. She was amazing at answering everyone’s questions both during & after the seminar.
I may be partial to products from Europe since I am from the UK. Our food is not processed like it is the US which was a culture shock that my body it still adjusting to so knowing how they do things over there & seeing it come to the US & grow in the US is exciting & definitely something I can get behind. Before all the equestrian food police jump on me I still highly recommend researching your feed and supplements before giving them to your horses. What works for Charlotte Dujardin’s horses might not work for Fallon Taylor’s horses. Each horse has a different body, job & lives in a different climate so doing research & cleansing can make all the difference in the world. Libby is available if you need her!
Do you currently use Cavalor? Comment below about your experience! I would love to hear from you!
As always, thanks for stopping by!
Stay safe & God bless!
Today, March 20th 2018 is the official first day of Spring & also International Day of Happiness. Two pretty cool days if you ask me!
I am currently not celebrating the transition into Spring in any grand way since it is pouring with rain but I am low key celebrating by fawning over all the pictures of foals being born at barns of friends or riders I follow on social media.
I am also celebrating International Day of Happiness by staying positive, watching one of my favourite movies, Hector & the search for Happiness, along with looking at some image I took from the 140th Silver Spurs Rodeo. Check it out!
So how are you celebrating the arrival of Spring? Are you enjoying International Day of Happiness?
Here is a way you can both celebrate Spring and International Day of Happiness & that is by buying you & a loved one or your family tickets to the rodeo!
Want to join us for the RNCFR? Click here: RAM National Circuit Finals Rodeo
Want to join us for the 141st Silver Spurs Rodeo? Click here: Buy tickets to the Silver Spurs Rodeo in Kissimmee!
If rodeo isn’t your thing the Great American $1 Million Grand Prix – Ocala, Florida :: HITS is taking place on Sunday March 25th 2018 at 2pm which is a wonderful event which also features world class athletes.
As always, thanks for stopping by!
Stay safe & God bless!
I got to take my Mum to her first ever rodeo during the 140th Silver Spurs Rodeo & I was a tad nervous to see her reaction.
She is a woman born, raised & lived (for most of her life) in Edinburgh, Scotland where rodeo doesn’t exist but she has traveled the world & has seen things during her time on Earth so far & there is always a chance for a first time doing something so this was hers. She is open-minded enough to try new things so we tried rodeo this time around.
I was bopping around taking pictures & doing interviews for the blog but had her in my sights most of the time & my mother in law tagged along too so she wasn’t alone, thank goodness. She was taking pictures on her phone & sending them back to our family back in Scotland & took some live video feed. It looked like she was having a really great time.
Eventually I came back to sit with her & she says “I want one…” – to which my response was naturally, “one what? a horse? a bull?…”.
She then proceeds to say: “No. A cowboy!”
Bahahahaha!!!! My mother in law & I have never laughed so hard in our lives! You never know what is going to come out of my mother’s mouth but you can definitely count on it being interesting or funny! Check out the video interview with my Mum shortly after the rodeo it is on our Facebook page International Cowgirl
So if you plan on attending your first rodeo here are some pointers that I gathered from Her Royal Highness Mum (Caroline) herself:
5 Things I Enjoyed At My First Rodeo:
3 Things I Wish I Had Known Before Attending My First Rodeo:
So there you have it peeps! Straight from my Mama’s mouth!
We are hoping to bring more first timers to the rodeos in Central Florida this upcoming Spring & Summer. Here is a list of rodeos happening soon across the world – so check & see if one is happening near you! If you have already been to a rodeo, tell me why you love rodeo so much in the comments below AND take someone with you who hasn’t been before. You must just help create a lifelong rodeo fan!
Kissimmee, FL – RAM National Circuit Finals Rodeo | Rodeo in Kissimmee
Ocala, FL – Southeast Pro Rodeo
Arcadia, FL – Arcadia All-Florida Championship Rodeo
Davie, FL – Davie Pro Rodeo
USA – list of PRCA Pro Rodeos across the US – Rodeo Schedule – ProRodeo
Australia – Australian Professional Rodeo Association
New Zealand – New Zealand Rodeo Cowboys Association
Brazil – Barreto’s Cowboy Festival (Barretos)
Mexico – Rodeo Schedule – ProRodeo
Europe – European Rodeo Cowboy Association
As always, thank you for stopping by!
Stay safe & God Bless!
Happy New Year everyone! I am so excited to bring you our first guest post by a new friend of mine, Lindsey Rains. We instantly clicked via blogging networks on social media (which is a wonderfully fascinating platform nowadays) & here is an incredible article that I feel is very fitting to start out 2018 with. Enjoy! Love, Cat!
Written by Lindsey Rains
One of my favorite parts of blogging is meeting new friends on the internet. In today’s world, you can meet people with stunningly similar interests across the globe. I met Catriona through Facebook Blogging Networks, and it just so happened we both blogged about Horses and Equestrian Life. Thank you, Catriona, for this neat opportunity!
The Value of Being Present in our Training
There are so many training methods out there today, aren’t there? We could spend days upon months upon years talking about methodology, but when we boil right down to the basics, the horse’s nature is consistent. How they communicate and respond to circumstances falls in a common set of patterns that don’t change based on discipline. Horses are driven by a few key things: fear, pain, survival, belonging, and connection. Push any of these buttons, and you’ll get a predictable response.
How we handle these basic equine responses depends on the camps we come from. Are we performance-based trainers and riders or are we natural horsemen/women? Are we competitors, trail riders, equitation specialists, or cattle-drivers? All of these things play a part in how we approach training, yet I have a feeling we all face the same challenges, curiosities, and successes. So what do we have in common?
Somehow, we have to tell our horse’s what we want.
And because we are dealing with intelligent, emotional beings, our horses will say something back. We can establish our dominance over them (hopefully with the intent of being their leader), and we have our agendas that fall somewhere between what we want for us and what is in our horse’s best interest. Yet there is so much in between the brackets of what we need and want to happen and what actually happens.
Between those brackets is either effective or ineffective communication.
So how do we make the time with our horses count? How do we communicate with them in a way that speaks to their nature, yet doesn’t cause us to forsake our own natures as human being, nor forfeit our role as their leader? Let us take a look first at what not to do when working with your horse.
Ineffective Communication: My Way or the Highway
Oh gosh, this sounds so cliche, doesn’t it? Surely I don’t do this. Surely I don’t have such a rigid mentality when I go into sessions with my horse that I forget that he has a set of circumstances, both internally and externally, that he’s dealing with before I get to the barn? Surely I don’t push past any indication of his needs in order to further my agenda?
Oh wait, I do that – all the time.
Help me out here, I know I’m not the only one! I think that it is just part of humanity to simplify our horses to what we want them to be. Perhaps we want them to compete and win a particular class or event. Or maybe we need them to be behaved for the three lessons we’re giving this week. Or even still, we want them to be our therapist. Ouch.
While the essence of some of these things are understandable and even commendable, if they are the only thing we focus on when we go to catch our horse from their pasture, we’re missing the mark. Not only do we prevent training and riding them properly, but we also miss out on all the subtle ways they try to move us.
Effective Communication: What is Actually Going On?
So don’t throw your personal agenda entirely out the window. This is the context where we meet our horse. But here’s the important thing: don’t let your interaction be a one-way conversation.
First, ask questions. What kind of mood is your horse in? Whether good or bad, why could that be? How are they minding your personal space? Is it because they’re calm, anxious, in pain, or fearful? Are they more lively or subdued than usual? These are just a few ways anyone can start learning more about their horse and what they are trying to say.
Secondly, make a request. It can be as simple as picking up their feet, walking more than two laps around the arena, or collecting at the canter. But whatever the request is, see how they respond. Is the response better or worse than last time you asked them to do this? If so, why? What situational factors are different or the same? Could their response have anything to do with your initial observations of their behavior? Could it be that they enjoy learning through one style or another?
Finally, release. I know that this word could mean many things depending on the discipline and training method, but the fundamental philosophy remains the same. When your horse has been challenged and rises to the occasion–even in a limited capacity–give him a break. Let him see that his positive behavior yielded a reward. Praise him, let him walk, even put him away in his stall for the day with extra grain.
Do you know what this does to a horse’s psyche? It demonstrates that working with you is a rewarding experience. It shows them that being challenged will yield reassurance, relief, and gratitude. Not only that, they will learn quickly how their attitude can expedite their acceptance under your leadership.
Being present with your horse is literally that simple. It takes a bit of observation and attention outside of our agenda as riders and handlers, but it makes a world of difference. And I have found that the more I focus on developing this habit, the more naturally it comes. Exercise this muscle of being present in your communication with your horse, and I assure you that your horses will be more resilient, and your intuition as a rider will grow without bounds.
Author Bio: Lindsey Rains is an equestrian blogger and creator of Alta Mira Horsemanship. She focuses on communication between horses and handlers, with an emphasis in kind training tactics. She resides in Auburn, WA, USA, with her husband, and daylights as a non-profit administrator. Visit my blog. You can also follow me on Pinterest, Facebook or Twitter.
Photo Credit: Courtney Lewis
If you follow us on social media, you know that we have been counting down for 20 days to something super special!
Today was the reveal of the big announcement…
International Cowgirl Blog is doing a 12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS GIVEAWAY!!!
We have purchased products* from major AND local companies all year long so we could provide you with some super cool giveaways!
Day 1: a beautiful bronc halter!
To stay up to date in live time with all the 12 days of giveaways, head on over and follow us on Facebook, Instagram & Twitter!
Thank you for all your support throughout 2017! This is our way of giving back to our readers & followers!
**Note: all items on the blog giveaway were personally purchased by the founder of International Cowgirl Blog. We are in no way, shape or form being sponsored or endorsed by any of the companies who we purchased items from. The items were chosen at random & have been fully paid for.
The Ranch Rodeo & Cowboy Heritage Festival is coming up at the end of September and you DO NOT want to miss this fantastic event!
If you are new to the western lifestyle or just want to know more, bring a friend and head down to Osceola Heritage Park . You will learn all about working Florida ranches at the Cowboy Heritage Festival, get to see Working Florida Cowdogs & a Ranch Horse Competition. If that wasn’t exciting enough, stop by for the Ranch Rodeo at 7pm on Friday AND/OR Saturday night! We all know how rodeos get the blood pumping!
There are tickets still available for a steak supper but seating is limited, so grab your ticket for $20 as soon as you can. There are very few things that could be tastier than Florida home grown beef. Mmmm! My mouth is watering just thinking about it!
Discounted tickets to the weekend events (minus the steak supper) can be found here on Groupon: Rodeo and Heritage Festival – Florida Ranch Rodeo
We look forward to seeing you there!
As always, thanks for stopping by.
God bless & stay safe!
First of all I would like to extend a huge thank you to everyone who participated in the brief survey I created to collect data on The Great Helmet Debate. We had a tremendous amount of responses (over 200 people) and I couldn’t be happier! You all spoke your mind & I love it! Thanks again!
The survey consisted of 10 easy questions, all multiple choice or Yes/No. On the 10th “question”, I gave participants an opportunity to speak their minds on the topic. Below will be the list of questions with the answers except for #10 which I will dabble in and paraphrase so participants can stay anonymous.
Now you are probably wondering what the results were, what others said and how we will be putting the data together. This was an anonymous survey so no personal information will be given when it comes to the opinion section of #10 of the survey but I will be summarizing the results you can get a good idea of others’ opinions on the matter.
Q1. Which equine discipline do you participate in?
A1: Western – 33.96%, English 51.57%, Other (please specify) 14.47%. Other was specified as Western Dressage, Competitive Distance Riding, All seats, both Western & English, Australian, Endurance (all genres), Trail, Competitive Trail, Driving, Mounted Police, Wrangler.
Q2: What is your gender?
A2: Female – 99.38% Male – 0.63%
Q3: Do you currently wear a helmet whilst participating in your equine related sport?
A3: Yes – 72.50% No – 19.38% Sometimes – 8.13%
Q4: Do you feel people under the age of 18 should be required to wear a helmet during competitions?
A4: Yes – 91.14% No – 8.86%
Q5: Does the cost of a helmet affect your choice of wearing one or not?
A5: Yes – 4.40% No – 92.45% Not Applicable – 3.14%
Q6: If helmets were more fashionable, would you wear one?
A6: Yes – 70.75% No – 29.25%
Q7: In what country do you live?
A7: Answers consisted of Australia, Ireland, Panama, United Kingdom & the USA.
Q8: How would you assess your riding proficiency level?
A8: Beginner/Novice – 5.03%, Intermediate – 33.33%, Advanced – 54.09%, Expert – 7.55%
Q9: Have you ever been in an equine related fall or accident?
A9: Yes – 93.75 No – 6.25%
For question 10, participants shared with me their opinions on The Great Helmet Debate and I thoroughly enjoyed reading all the responses.
To summarize or paraphrase their responses, we got answers that were strong when it came to which side of the fence they stood on the matter. All the opinions were wonderful and covered the entire topic in many different ways. I saw a lot of responses stating how a helmet saved their lives or how they wish they would have worn one at the time of their accident and mentioned TBI a lot.
TBI stands for Traumatic Brain Inquiry and is common when a horse falls on top of a rider’s head. Bones that are broken in equine related falls or accidents such as arms, legs, ribs for example, can be fixed back to 100% normal for the most part but individuals can have issues years down the line with arthritis, prone to infections or clots depending on the success of the healing process. Brains are different, they cannot be mended like bones can be, so it is understandable when people freak out seeing a 1200lb animal put immense pressure on a human skull. According to the University of California, Department of Neurological Surgery, Equestrian related TBI cases make up 45% of the nations sports related TBI admissions in the US annually.
Please note there is more than one type of TBI. Mild TBI is usually a concussion which is temporary, doesn’t necessarily require a blow to the head and doesn’t always involve loss of consciousness. Severe TBI can be skull fractures, intracranial hematoma, contusions, diffuse axonal injuries or anoxic brain injuries. If you wear a helmet or are debating on wearing one, these are the injuries that your helmet is designed and made to prevent.
Others stated that it is purely choice, they know the risks when they place themselves in the saddle or bareback. The majority despite their opinions of the individual themselves wearing helmets, mostly mentioned in some form or other that it should be mandatory for children to wear them. Despite the large percentage of our participants being in an equine related fall or accident, a large majority of the answers were completely split down the middle when it came to individuals wearing a helmet or opting not to.
Much to the surprise of some, there are actually laws concerning wearing a helmet whilst engaging in an equine related sport or activity just like there is when it comes to wearing a helmet whilst riding a motorcycle. Here is a list of the US states & their laws here: Laws Involving Equestrian Safety Helmets so feel free to read through these as it pertains to your state depending on where you stand on The Great Helmet Debate. The law in the UK is a little different and can be found here: Highway Code | British Horse Society and here RoSPA – Horse Riders Factsheet – Dorset Police
For our Australian friends, the regulations changed somewhat recently and can be found here: Helmet Regulations Updated | Equestrian Australia or here: IMPORTANT INFO – New Helmet Safety Standards in Australia or here: Horse Safety Australia » Regulations
If fashion is a deciding factor for you here are a few places that you can get cute helmets and even customize your own helmets.
2. From a Florida local LJT Custom Rodeo Hats offers something for everyone. Custom, hand painted rodeo hats, ballcaps, helmets & more! So whether you want a helmet or something new for an up coming rodeo, LJT can help you design whatever you like.
3. From a well-known company Troxel Helmets: Equestrian Riding Helmets – they are leaders in the world when it comes to helmets. They sponsor and partner with many top equine athletes such as Fallon Taylor (World Champion Barrel Racer), Tammy Sronce (World Champion Mounted Shooting), Chrissa Hoffman (International Grand Prix) and many more.
I have also seen some awesome helmets and products from SmartPak – Equestrian Helmets – Gifts from SmartPak Equine – I trust their brand and they have products for all your equine and K-9 friends. Plus, their instagram stories are on point.
If you are on the fence and wear cowboy/cowgirl hats or rodeo hats, there are companies that now make covers for helmets that look like rodeo hats. They like to nickname it the HelHat. Here are a few: Resistol RideSafe Western Hat Helmet or Jackson™ Western Outlaw™ Hard Hat or Equestrian Helmet Cover/Hat Buckaroo Wide Brim Collection – so there are many options to suit everyone.
We here at International Cowgirl Blog will never tell you if you have to wear one or not, but we DO care about our readers and hope you enjoy your equine activities of any and all kinds in a fun & safe manner. We will never discriminate or judge you on whether you wear a helmet or not. If you are having a hard time finding the helmet laws or regulations in your area or country, comment below or shoot us email at email@example.com and we will help you do some research so you can make a sound, confident decision & stay up to date.
As always, thanks for stopping by.
Be safe & God Bless!