Motivation. Dreaming. Blood, Sweat, and Tears. Goal-setting. Failure as a Catalyst for Growth. Inspiration. Creativity. Stories. Quotes. Fashion. Urban meets Western. Confidence. Beauty. Individualism. Love + Loss. Perfection in Imperfection. Believe. Faith. Cowgirl. Fearless. Journey of a Horseman. Perseverance. Visionary. Grow. Change. Discover. Expand.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Entrepreneurship Craziness!

Hi Everyone!

  It has been a LONG time since I posted- sometimes life gets crazy and roping, work, and new endeavors take over.  I just wanted to let everyone know about the new business I have started.  I have always know I wanted to be an entrepreneur.  But the hard part was figuring out what kind of business to do.  I knew I wanted something online so I could travel and live a "gypsy" lifestyle of sorts.  Last winter I was trying a lot of different things.  I tried writing a Rodeo Queen E-Book.  I wasn't passionate enough about it to finish it.  I tried starting an online boutique.  I couldn't quite get past the beginning stages of dropship models and inventory.  I tried writing a grief book.  It just wasn't the right timing to write it and I just felt depressed trying to get through chapter one!  I started a western furniture business.  It was good but I didn't like the thought of lifting heavy stuff all the time and shipping ridiculously huge items. 

  No wonder my family, boyfriend, and friends were starting to think I was a complete flake.  I had started and quit so many different things.  I started to lose faith in myself and truly think I was losing my mind and COULDN'T FINISH ANYTHING! 

But one day I was riding at work and the idea hit me to start making some funny tshirts with roping and rodeo related sayings.  It started as an idea to go along with selling furniture.  But as the ideas started coming and I started getting a lot of positive response I realized this was the business I had been looking for all along!  Rank Rodeo Threads was born and I am happy to say our website went live today. 

  I can't believe how many times I tried different ideas and failed.  But it was all about pushing forward and keeping my mind open to something new.  It is so easy to get discouraged when trying to come up with a business and everytime something doesn't pan out you may feel like a failure or a flake.  But keep pushing!  Realize that once you find that killer idea, you should be willing to put years of effort without seeing a huge profit.  I fully commit myself to working my business for a few years before I expect it to do well- and guess what?  I am already seeing sales and interest.  I am in it for the long haul!  Because I know this is the right business for me and I'm passionate about it!  Check out for funny rodeo and roping inspired shirts!!!  Keep leaning into your dreams and make them happen:)

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

"Saddlebronc Girl" Cowgirl Profile: Kaila Mussell

Photos Courtesy of Bernie Hudyma 

Pioneer bronc peeler Kaila Mussell is the first and only woman to have a pro card in saddle bronc riding and make the Indian National Finals Rodeo.  But she doesn't ride to promote "girl power".  She does it because she is passionate about the sport.  

When I heard about Kaila, my interest was piqued and I knew she would be a great addition to the blog.  I try to find women who are unique leaders, successful cowgirls, and role models to young women.  Her career could be just the inspiration you need to do something nobody has ever done before.

Kaila also excels outside the arena.  She has a personal training business called Kai-Fit and helps people achieve their fitness goals.

CV:  What's the greatest opportunity being a woman bronc rider has opened up for you?

KM:  Being a good role model to others. Claim to fame status – the Reba McEntire video, More recently Ian Tyson writing a song especially about me - “saddlebronc girl”.

CV:  How do the guys in the sport treat you? (Especially after they've been beat by a girl)

KM:  I dont really like the last comment in brackets, I try not to promote “girl power”, I believe we are all equals.  Overall the guys treat me really well.  Cowboy mentality I have found is such that if you earn their respect by being serious and good at what you do, then you will be accepted.

CV:  What did your parents think when you told them you were going to get your PRCA Permit?

KM:  They took it in stride...I had already ridden broncs for a few years and knew that I would be determined in whatever I chose to do. I was raised for the most part with few limitations in what I believed I could do.

CV:  You placed at your first rodeo in 2002, 4th at Prineville, OR. Tell us about that day and how you felt

KM:  That was a very long time ago to remember exactly, but very excited, a really awesome accomplishment to place at my first-ever pro rodeo. Even cooler to fill my pro card and become the first Professional female saddle bronc rider in the history of pro rodeo.

CV:  Was it fun being in a Reba Mcentire music video?

KM:  Yes it was really cool, however I was a bit disappointed that I didnt get to actually meet her, she had to work on her sitcom that day. Honored to be featured in the video.

CV:   Walk us through a bronc ride for you- from getting ready to after you're done.

KM:  Here are the basics:

Arrive behind the chutes – take gear out of bag and unwrap saddle. Sit in saddle, make sure saddle strirrup length feels right. Find a halter from the stock contractor usually and put my bronc rein on it. Stretch/warmup before ride. Put chaps and vest just before, or during when the broncs are getting run into the chutes. When bronc is in the chute, I put the halter on the bronc and saddle. Measure an 
mark the bronc rein. Then just wait until its your turn, usually keep moving, warm up. A couple bronc riders before I go, unless I'm the gunner, I tighten the saddle up, and pull the back cinch just before its my turn. Grab the rein, ease down into the saddle, put my feet in the stirrups and sit deep in the saddle, lean back and nod my head. Chute opens, mark the bronc out and then go to work riding. When whistle goes (if still in the saddle), double grab, and then wait for the pickup man to ride in and dismount. Walk back to chutes and wait for my score.

CV:  Give us some tips on how to stay on if our saddle horses cut in half.

KM:  Stay relaxed as possible so you can move with the horse, squeeze with your knees, stay in the middle – and pull your horses head up or turn him around (you can do this with a saddle horse, you cannot with a bronc) want him to quit bucking unlike a bucking horse!

CV:  What is a good way for people to follow your travels and personal training business?

KM: for my schedule and Kai-Fit on Facebook!/pages/Kai-Fit/

Monday, February 4, 2013

Cowgirl Boudoir Bedroom Makeover

Ever felt like your furniture is blah? I have been feeling that way with my bedset. I'm a pretty impulsive person so I decided to remodel my bedroom today. Antiqued furniture is in right now, and ANYONE can do it! It is super easy. It doesn't matter if you are creative or not. Here is a step by step guide to weathering furniture:

-First, select your color and stain. Grab some sandpaper, a paintbrush, and a sponge. I chose turquoise, but I have seen barbie pink, canary yellow, maroon, and a deep purple look stellar too. If you want to try a really awesome look, grab two different colors.

-I wouldn't paint super expensive furniture. It's way more fun to go thrift shopping or garage saling and pick up pieces with potential. I used a bedset I bought used for $200. If you go to reclaimed storage unit sales you can score really cheap furniture.

-Paint your furniture using either a brush or sponge (the sponge is super fast and grabs those hard to reach spots). Let it dry.

-If you are double layering color you will now add your second layer of paint that is a different color. You can put lighter on top and darker on bottom or vice versa. Either way you do it will change the look. I did maroon on bottom and turquoise on top and it turned out great.

-After it's dry, grab your sandpaper and start sanding away the color around the edges and uneven parts of the wood. You can sand a lot and make it look ancient, or lightly sand like it just was freshly painted and worn a little. It's up to you and whatever your taste is! I did mine lightly sanded today.

- Finally, put a top coat of stain over the furniture. I picked a darker chocolate stain and it created a color with more depth. A clear gloss stain makes it look a little more whimsical.

VOILA! Super easy furniture facelift!!! See below for pics of my "Cowgirl Boudoir"

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

"Never Lose Your Spark" Cowgirl Profile: Lizzie Iwersen of RFDTV

Horseman. Team Roper. Television Host. Fashionista. I'd call Lizzie Iwersen a jack of all trades. She has found a way to turn her passion into her career by hosting the show Horse Talk Live, and spending her workdays getting to know the equine industry's finest. She took some time out of her busy schedule to answer some questions for us. Enjoy!

CV: How did you go from horse-crazy Montana girl to hosting your own television show?

LI: I've always been horse crazy and loved every single thing about horses and the people who love them like I do. But I never would have thought I'd end up spending my day talking about them on national TV. It was just when I had decided to go to Montana State to continue to rodeo in college that my mom's horse died. He was a super star that I ran barrels and stepped off of in the goat tying. Being that he was so hard to replace, I decided to change gears completely. I ended up going to
school in Reno, NV and to pursue my other passion of snowboarding. After 4 years there and a year
in Spain, I moved to Portland, OR. I spent almost 3 really, really fun years in Oregon. But I realized it was time to get my life in gear- ie: get back into the horse world.  I applied for a position here in Nashville, TN with RFD-TV. It was over 5 months later when they actually offered me a position. Within another 5 months my sister and I road tripped down here with everything I could fit in my car. A few months later my sweet parents sent me a horse from home. It's been here 3 and 1/2 years that I've lived here. Originally, I was hired for marketing. I guess maybe it was apparent that I loved to talk to horse people about horses so that's why they put me in front of a camera, to do just that!

CV: Tell us about Horse Talk Live.

LI: Horse Talk Live is just what its title implies: An hour spent talking about horses. I've invited people and products in to be guests, always trying to cover as many different disciplines and issues as I can think of. Sometimes, if something comes up in my own life- a product or an issue i am going
through with my own horses, I decide that it's something we should cover on Horse Talk.

CV: Who is the most fun or interesting person you've had on the show?

LI: It would be so hard to pick the most fun I've had on the show or the most interesting person I've met. I can, however, say that Craig Cameron is one heck of a guy. And I did four episodes with the Total Team Roping Crew and we certainly had a lot of laughs. I was not spared in any jokes and had to fend for myself- both off-air and on-air- for 2 days. I also really thought that i knew a good deal about horses before Horse Talk. But spending as much time as I have now with veterinarians and horsemen, I realized that it's true you won't ever know it all and the process of learning is life-long. I love the horse health episodes and find all those subjects fascinating- as well as so helpful as a horse owner.

CV: As a television personality you are a style icon for many women across the country. How would you describe your style and what or who has been your biggest fashion inspiration?

LI: Picking out 5 different outfits a week can be a challenge, let me tell you! I truly love being a cowgirl and believe it's a privilege to be able to dress like one. Although my style is always changing, a few things will always be a part of my wardrobe: A good hat and a wild rag.
I love cowboy hats and love that I have a job where I can wear one everyday. JW Brooks makes my hats and his wife Jody is a cowgirl whose style has influenced me- she ALWAYS looks good. Kathleen Brannon, the designer of Desert Sage Bead Art, is, in my opinion, the best dressed woman in our industry! Every time I run into her, I make it a point to try and dress more like her, but it never happens- style like that can't be recreated. It is my mom and sisters, however, who will always be my biggest influences. Our mom was very particular about how we dressed and we are so much better off for it. My mom always has- still does-remind us to wear a ribbon in our hair, to be feminine no matter what we're doing. I still do wear a matching ribbon whenever I can. It was my mom that turned me on to accessories like wild rags and turquoise jewelry.

CV: You travel a lot for your job. What is the neatest place or event you have been to?

LI: Travel is a huge benefit to my job. I went to Brazil in 2012 which was obviously a neat opportunity. But, honestly, I just eat up any horse event I go to. Last year I was invited to ride in the celebrity challenge at the Snaffle Bit Futurity. That event is first class and is at the top of my list. Road to the Horse is always a big event for me, a lot of real horsemen attend that event. Nothing, though, compares to the Wrangler National Finals. That, for me, is ten days of Heaven.

CV: Who is the cowgirl that you look up to and admire?

LI: I look up to a lot of cowgirls, but Pam Minick is a cowgirl that I've always seen as a good person to learn from. Getting to know her, and being able to call her a friend is pretty spectacular. First of all, she's hilarious and people love being around her. She's accomplished so much professionally, she's done it all. But what I really like about Pam is that she walks the walk, too. She was a world champion breakaway roper and is a familiar face in the short round of whatever roping she's at these days. I also really love being friends with Sadie Lynne from Cowgirl Chicks- talk about a cowgirl. I really look up to girls that ride. Really ride.

CV: What is your advice to girls who want to pursue a career in the equine industry?

LI: I would say to girls who aspire to having a career in the industry, the same thing Pam Minick told me in the first conversation I had with her: "To never lose your spark."  Keeping your spark is easy to do if you keep company with like-minded people. If horses and the industry are what make you happy, find a way to be around it. Lately I've been one of those "do what makes you happy," "Life's too short" people. But, really, it's true. When you're doing what makes you happy, then life is so much easier. When you're doing what makes you happy, you won't lose your spark!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Be A Zen Cowgirl

I think Facebook has really allowed people to take a look into the minds of others. Most people are strongly controlled by outside forces and their posts reflect that in "they did this to me", or "they irritate/make me mad/are horrible people".

We will always remain angry and frustrated if we feel people are always wronging us. Other people aren't the problem. Our reaction to people is the biggest problem of all.

I know I love living my life around animals because they are always so loving/excited to see me/happy. That is because they live so deeply in the present. But as a human, I must deal with people too. We must realize if someone is a jackass to you (which is going to happen time after time after time) the only problem you will have is a poor reaction.

To react peacefully with a calm, understanding manner will make you happier. So when that dirty rotten son of a gun says something offensive and you feel those pangs of anger and disappointment don't act. Release your expectation of others, smile, realize humans aren't perfect, and be loving toward that person.

You will win in the end because people like that don't usually don't get a reaction like this.

Cowgirls are known for their tough "ain't gonna take no crap off no one" attitude. But I think it takes a stronger person to react like this. People can be mean and crazy- but all we can do is be happy and toss all your expectations of people out them window!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Falling Head Over Heels

(photo courtesy of Charles Brooks Photography, 2011)

Every year that passes, I fall a little more in love with the horse.  The more I understand them, the more admiration I have.  I read something in Tom Dorrance's book True Unity today that caught my attention.  He said, "...the rider needs to recognize the horse's need for self-preservation in mind, body, and spirit...  He needs to realize how the person's approach can assure the horse that he can have his self-preservation and still respond to what the person is asking him to do."  Have you ever thought about how incredible it is that these animals will either trust us, or fear us enough to put themselves in situations all the time that they feel may sacrifice their well being?  

A lot of people think a horse is "being bad" when all he is doing is trying to stay out of harm's way in his mind.  It is easy to understand their preservation of mind and body, but what exactly is the preservation of their spirit?  Tom has a difficult time giving a textbook definition and I can relate as I ask myself the same question.  All I can come up with is that they have a need to hold onto their personality, heart, and those unique attributes that are THEM.  Their rider should embrace their strengths and give them a job that they enjoy where they can add it a little of their personality.  I have seen so many horses that look broken inside and it really makes my heart heavy.  I added this picture above because I think this horse looks happy and relaxed.  His ears are perked forward and his head is in a balanced position.  

I've been roping off of a horse that has his share of skeletons in the closet.  A human in his past failed him, or many humans did.  This includes but may not be limited to:  being beaten with a rope, running WAY too many cattle, being taught strictly based on fear, and never being given any praise.   By nature, he is exceptionally sensitive, therefore this sort of treatment has caused a number of things.  When he showed up to our place he pulled back, could not be caught (I had a number of 45+ minute sessions), he would run away when you stepped off, the list goes on and on.  As my boyfriend told me the first time I rode him, "The safest place to be is on him!"

I wrote this horse off for a long time.  I really wanted nothing to do with him.  But one day I needed an extra practice head horse and I cracked him out to ride.  That day I saw a glimmer of what the horse could be.  Our first steer he worked beautifully.  After that, he got really worked up and started ducking out but I had seen all I needed to see.  I decided after that to ride the horse for what I wanted him to be.  I knew the bit we were using on him was too severe because of how sensitive he is, but the problem was he was pretty much a runaway without it.  Some very knowledgeable trainers I know advised me to change him to a hackamore and I tried that and he slowly started to relax.  The pressure of the other bit was way too much.   I would rope off of him in the hackamore and then on days where I just worked on his foundation, I would put him in a snaffle bit and work on putting feel back into him.  From there, I progressed to a broken bit with a short shank and he is thriving in it.  I got choked up last week when we got second at our first jackpot together.  We get better with each practice.  I am so excited to see what the future holds for us as a team. I'm really falling for this horse;)

The point of this story is, this horse taught me a lot more compassion because he was so scared.  I didn't want him to be afraid.  I just wanted him to understand and relax.  I pet him and reward him a lot, kind of like a super sensitive child.  He is so eager to please that I can show him something once and he remembers and does it the next time when I ask.  I know a lot of horses used to irritate me when they wouldn't do something.  But I see it differently now.  I know that it means their self preservation is strong.  You should be able to say- Hey! Trust me!! Follow me!  I am your leader and I will not let you get hurt! You will understand what I ask because I will teach you patiently and consistently!  We are going to do amazing things together!"  And if you have built a relationship upon trust and respect, your horse will say yes.  

As our understanding of this concept grows, so will our love for such a kind, beautiful, sensitive, and intelligent animal that God has blessed us with. We will be able to have a fulfilling, personal relationship with our horses and they will enjoy what they do.  I hope to bring more of this attitude to team roping.  

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Get Comfortable with Being Uncomfortable

After a brief three month blog hiatus I'm back in the saddle again. One of the most integral components of a successful blog is consistency, but Roping and riding down south caused me to fall off the blogwagon for a few. However, I am an optimist. So I feel time away can sometimes refuel the fire and definitely give you more new material. Did you know most of us live in a prison we have built ourselves? It's a routine "not terrible, but not outstanding" place called our comfort zone. It looks appealing, but it's far from invigorating. Comfort to me is not exercising, eating whatever I want, working for someone else in a dead end job, not roping the dummy, not getting my horses on a program, not making business calls, not reading inspirational and motivational books, and not asking people I admire for help. It's safe. It's easy. And it's not how you get famous. It's not how you find fulfillment. It's not how you get successful either. I think most people never step out of their comfort zone because of two reasons 1.) laziness and 2.) fear of failure, self limiting beliefs, and fear of what others think. I've come to this place where I do not care what other people think and it feels amazing. This is MY life. And in a few years we will all be dead! Morbid, but true! Do what you want! Don't live other people's dreams. A lot of people lose limiting beliefs by the time they are older. By then they wish they had had the belief when they were younger when they could do more about it. And it's super cliche, but the most successful people are always the ones who have failed the most. They have heard the most no's, felt the most rejection, and messed up the most. But they learned from it, grew, and moved on. When you feel the HUNGER deep within to look your best you will go work out every day. When you feel the HUNGER to win the barrel race or roping you will work your horse and practice. No matter whether it is 20 below, or a beautiful sunny day when everyone's drinking margaritas. People who want to achieve their goals NO MATTER WHAT don't have to pry themselves off the couch. They are so excited they are jumping up with a smile on their face to go practice. Any time I have had the HUNGER, it didn't feel like work. If you want to be successful, get comfortable with being uncomfortable. Have a WHY that is more important to you than any discomfort. The more you can just be a rockstar and do things that make you uncomfortable all the time, the more invigorate you will feel. And isn't LIFE about feeling ALIVE??!?!?