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.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

My Life is a String of Memories Horseback....

My life is a string of  memories horseback.  8 years old running around bareback in the mountains playing indian princesses....... 12, a pack trip with my dad getting rained on for 6 days straight.....16, a bag of franzia, four horses, four gals, and a campfire on top of a mountain...... 22, Riding into the arena carrying flags with a bunch of other queens as Miss Rodeo Montana........ 23, a wagon train ride with some ranchy chicks, warm beer, and more rain....... 24, spinning steers for my man............. 25, riding colts in the desert with my best friend......

When I was living in the city I could have had an insane partying social life, eaten at any fancy restaurant, gone to sporting events, pool parties, and pub crawls.  But in my four months there, I was like a fish out of water.  All I could think about was how I wanted to come back home and go rope with my boyfriend, or grab some girls and go ride.  I came to realize that all I needed to make me happy was good horses and good friends surrounding me. 

True happiness doesn't always have to be complicated.  It can be as simple as riding beside the person you love on a good horse.    It's starting a colt and seeing a fine horse evolve.  It's working cows and yelling at eachother. It's you and a special horse working as a team to get a job done.  This is it for me. Simple. Refreshing.  Cowgirl life.  Thanking God every day for it.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Good Vibrations!!!

Five years ago a friend and I were cruising the shelves of WalMart looking for a movie to watch and I randomly grabbed The Secret.  I had heard someone say a few kids on the rodeo team had watched it and I casually picked it up and decided to try it out. In the next few hours, my life was forever changed. The friend I was with fell asleep out of boredom, but I was captivated.  I always think how different my life would have been if I would have fallen asleep too!  Sure there were some corny parts, but I was intrigued by the concept of the law of attraction and I started to put it to work in my life.  I realized how the law of attraction had worked for me already and how much more I could do with it. 

As a young girl I always had a vision  of myself riding a paint horse into the mountains alone with a dog by my side.  I didn't have a horse but I wanted to be free and independent.  In seventh grade I started working for a colt starter and he paid me by giving me a three year old paint gelding.  I had him until I was 23 and he and I covered a lot of country together- out alone in the mountains just like my vision.

Visualization is a valuable tool in everyday life, and I have seen proof of it working in others life as well as my own.  It's simple and effective.  See things as you would like them to be.  Place yourself inside the picture and see things through your eyes.  Feel the feeling you want to feel when you have created what you want.  Visualization helps you to practice for the future because when you get there, you will already feel comfortable and confident.  A lot of professional athletes will visualize a perfect performance. 

Every time I visualize something and think about it a lot and it comes true, my faith in the process grows.  I just moved to Arizona for the winter to ride horses and help  my boyfriend put on team roping jackpots.  Lots of exciting things have been happening.  I got offered an awesome apprenticeship with an NFR barrel racer, I walked into a restaurant today and picked up a waitressing job a few nights a week, and everything is just effortless and flowing. 

Matt, my boyfriend, followed the principles of The Secret and it helped him clinch the Collegiate National Championship in team roping with his partner Cody a few years back.  He just believed that they were going to win and he imagined it and visualized it.  It didn't look like they were going to get it, then in a crazy series of events, they had the title.

When I was getting ready for Miss Rodeo Montana, I would visualize when I was doing my cardio workout.  I would just run and feel the feelings of winning.  I was super nervous about answering the impromptu question at the fashion show.  I felt like extemporaneous speaking was my weakness and so I visualized a question I wanted to get and my perfect answer for it.  I answered this one question perfectly over and over again.

The day of the fashion show came and I was standing up on the stage waiting for my turn to draw a question out of the bowl.  I felt confident and felt like it was my time to win.  I reached into the bowl and touched a piece of paper, but something in my head said to throw that one back and pick another one.  I even laughed to myself because of how ridiculous it was that I had not liked the piece of paper and didn't even know what was on it.  So I grab a new one, pull it out, and read it.  I was blown away when it was THE QUESTION I HAD BEEN PRACTICING FOR MONTHS.  Needless to say,  I nailed the question without a bobble.  As I was crowned Miss Rodeo Montana a few days later, I felt so excited and knew my visualization and preparation had worked. 

Imagine the life you want to lead.  Put out the good vibrations.  Know that great things are coming your way.  Believe that people are out there that you will magnetize into your life who will influence, inspire, and assist you.  Know that you are a powerful part in creating your life the way you want it.

Friday, October 28, 2011

7 Things I'm True Lovin' Right Now...

Tights wit yo kicks

No not just leggings... that's been done before.  The other day I came across a photo of black cowboy boots with fishnets.  It looked suprisingly not-trashy and I really liked it.  I like it because its fresh and hasn't been worn out yet.  Let's see if this fad sticks???


The Vignette photo app on my droid... the top is the original photo and the bottom is the photo after I manipulated it with the app.  It has the capability to make photos looks like old yearbook photos, to change and enhance colors and to make them a square shape with a border.  I have been playing with my pictures and its super fun!!! 


90 Proof by Panhandle Slim.  I have always loved button up shirts on a working cowgirl.  The sexiest I have ever felt is in one of these on the back of a horse:)  Panhandle Slim makes some awesome shirts.  My boyfriend just got me a Wrangler shirt from Teskeys that is plaid with a turqoise yoke.  Plaid is hot right now and I can't wait to wear it roping this winter in AZ!!

Giddy Up Flix-  I just joined and am OBSESSED.  It is like a netflix for horsetraining.  You pay ten dollars a month and can rent out any of their hundreds of instructional videos.  So far I have watched Judy and Rachel Myllymaki's and Martha Josey's Barrel Racing Videos.  When you're done you just send it back in the mailer and they'll send you the next one on your list.  Ten dollars a month is a cheap investment for long term knowledge.


GYPSY SOULE has some rockin accessories.  I love this necklace! 


Cowboy Junkie Handpainted Tack.  This gal has so many creative ideas and makes beautiful tacksets.  I've never seen a breast collar like this.  Check out all of her gear on Facebook!!!


6 weeks doing the workouts in this book and you won't recognize the body in the mirror.  After 14 days of a particular routine your body reaches homeostasis, which means your muscles and figure no longer improve.  This book changes up the routine and ensures kick ass results.  It's like having your own personal trainer and includes meal plans and recommended cardio.  I stayed consistent on this for about two months a few years ago and felt like I had a brand new body.  

Monday, October 17, 2011

Loss as A Catalyst for Growth and Enlightenment

"For life and death are one, even as the river and the sea are one"  -Khalil Gibran
Ahhh. The blog post I've been dreading but know that it has to happen.  This is about my perspective on love and loss, on the inevitable... which we will all experience. 

My first experience with loss happened when I was twelve years old.  I was an animal crazy kid who had a furry best friend named Duke.  Anyone that knows me, knows I really love and connect with my dogs.  Duke and I were best friends.  In the spring during high water of the creek I was playing fetch with Duke and threw a stick in the water for him.  A current  violently grabbed him and took him downstream and he got sucked underneath a dam and drowned.  I was helpless to do anything and it happened so fast that there was nothing I could have done.  Duke hit his head underneath the dam and drowned.  When the water lowered later that year we found his body and buried him.

There are no words to describe how horrible I felt as a child, feeling so guilty for the death of my beloved friend.  I feel like God used this experience to prepare me for what was to come in my life.

I'm not going to go into too much detail, but when I was 18 I lost my boyfriend in a freak truck rollover accident in the mountains.  I was riding my horse behind the truck and found him dead.  I was miles out in the middle of nowhere and found a man camping in the woods who brought me to a camp to call 911.  Me and this complete stranger waited 8 hours for help to arrive.  After that day began the hell on earth that we all know as grief.  Anyone who has experienced it knows it is the most draining, terrible, horrific thing you can go through. 

But this isn't a story about sadness and negativity.  This is a story about hope.  On the day of the funeral, it poured down rain. And after that the clouds opened up and there were beautiful rainbows in the sky.  I looked up to the sky in my oilskin duster, and despite having just buried someone I loved, I knew that  a rainbow was a promise from God.  It was a visual reminder of hope for me.  I knew my life would change, but one day I would understand the Plan. 

A few weeks after the funeral, I went to church and I felt like the  pastor spoke right to me.  He said we all start out as a block of wood.  The hard times are like sandpaper, that are shaping us to be who we are.  In the end we become God's beautiful carving. I held on to that thought- that my adversity was shaping me.  I tried to read books on grieving and I hated them.  So I started reading self help and inspirational books.  I filled my mind with stories of hope and success and love.  I got a new puppy named Gus, who helped teach me how to love something again.  I set a goal for myself to be Miss Rodeo Montana.  I started a degree in Natural Horsemanship and decided I was going to be a horse trainer.  I let a new boyfriend into my heart.  I gained perspective on life and decided to live my dream.

These things never would have happened without the loss I endured.  I am certain you can choose how you let loss affect you.  It can either debilitate and crush you, or it can be a catalyst for growth and enlightenment.  I am blessed with my experiences because I APPRECIATE OTHERS IN MY LIFE DEEPLY.... I KNOW THAT WHAT WE LOVE CAN BE GONE IN THE BLINK OF AN EYE.... I AM MORE SPIRITUAL AND HAVE FAITH IN WHAT IS TO COME AFTER I DIE.... I REALIZED IF I CAN GET THROUGH THIS, I CAN DO ANYTHING.

Life is not always fuzzy and cute and perfect.  Sometimes it sucks. But I can promise you this.  You can heal your heart.  It may take awhile, but our souls are very resilient. And know that if you have had loss in your life, all it takes is the decision to move on and live and love fully,  and you will live a life you never before could have dreamed of.  And I believe with all of my heart I will see Duke and Dusty again.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Take 100% Responsibility for Your Own Life

There is only one person responsible for the quality of the the life that you live.

That person is you.

To be truly successful, you must take 100% responsibility for your own life. Every failure, every success, your friendships, your physical fitness, your debts, your feelings, your current work situation.  It is so easy to blame... the weather, your childhood, the people around you, your spouse, your lack of money, the list goes on and on. 

Dare I say, the real problem is usually you.  This means that you create what happens to you.  If you are constantly negative and feeling like others are hating on you and taking advantage of you, it will soon become the story you're writing for your life.  The life you are living now is the result of all of your past thoughts and actions.  Change yourself today for your future. 

I believe in surrounding yourself with positivity- positive people, images, books, ideas... If a really negative person comes into my life I really can feel them sucking out my energy.  Granted, people need help at times and everyone has rough patches.  But there are some people who are chronically negative and I don't think they want to change.  I choose not to be around those people. 

Pursue your passion.  I have always known I wasn't going to fit in the 9-5 mold.  I was never going to wear heels and a business suit.  I just would feel my soul dying if I had to be working at a job I disliked every single day.  Following your passion is not easy at times, however.  I have lived a gypsy life and don't have a house or a huge savings account.  But I know that will come.  I am glad to have the experiences of being a cowgirl and traveling and meeting people that invigorate and inspire me.  If you love something so much that it doesn't even feel like work, you can make it pay.  There is a niche for you.  I just feel like life is super short and the time is flying and I can't take all the material possessions with me anyways.  I am going to learn about horsemanship, rope, ride colts, and travel.  Your inner guidance system is your joy, and I have always felt the most alive on the back of a horse. 

We get one chance.  One life to live.  One story to write.  You are the captain of your ship.  Are you going to sit back and read about other people's lives on facebook and wish you were doing what they did?  Or are you going to take 100% responsibility for your own life and make it something incredible...

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

What Do a High Caliber Barrel Horse and Champion Western Pleasure Mount Have in Common???

Two different events- completely different, in fact, exact opposites.  How could these horses be anything alike? 

They both have excellent foundation and body control.  Their foundation, is most likely identical. 

No matter what a horse does, if they are good, they know how to control their body and perform certain maneuvers.  Rope horse, jumper, mounted shooting horse, barrel horse, hunter jumper, dressage horse, it doesn't matter. 

When you watch a barrel horse sit down and rate to turn a barrel, there nose will be tipped in and their hip in as well.  This is a similar position to a lead departure in western pleasure class. This is an unnatural movement for a horse, but when those muscles are built up and they are trained to be in that "C" position, it will make a very powerful and fast turn around a barrel.  It also encourages the proper lead on a circle. 

Today I watched my boss ride two horses that I struggled getting in this position.  To get the head position, flexed and tipped in, you must make it uncomfortable for them to get out of position.  They will seek the spot you want because it is more comfortable than the place they are getting pressure.  So I jiggle the reins when they get out of position and release when they are where I want them to be.  To move their hip to the inside, a horse needs to understand that leg pressure means move away.  You always start with a calf, then a touch of the spur, then a deep roll until they move their hip in.  When they make the slightest movement in, you release.  It's all about feel and timing.  If you are terrible at releasing, your horse won't know what you want him to do.  All they want is a release of pressure.  It is their greatest reward.  Nothing pisses me off more than watching someone never release.  That makes a horse confused and scared. 

A neat drill that helps build those muscles is using the fence and having a horse keep their "C" position sidepassing along the fence...both ways.  Just a training tidbit I learned today.

Every day I value cadence more.  Cadence in horsemanship is having a rythym to movement that is continuous.  For example, if I am doing ground work and sending a horse around me in a circle, I want them to walk in a constant rythym and not stop until I disengage their hindquarters.  I listen to their hoofbeats and can tell if they have it.  You don't want a horse to stop, then walk, then bolt off, then trot, then back up, when all you asked them to do was walk calmly in a circle.  I get my horses to stay moving in rythym until I say stop.  This helps so much when you get in the saddle.  The first three rides on our colts is all about cadence.  We give absolutely no direction.  All I do is set my stopwatch for five minutes, cluck to them, and over under them if they don't move.  I use no legs because legs are to teach side to side movement.  All I want is the colt to walk for five minutes.  If they break into a trot I either one rein stop or bring them into a small circle then start again.  Next, I ask for ten minutes of consistent trotting.  And I am not afraid to pop them on the rear in this process.  If I cluck, bring my end of my lead rope across to spank without touching them and they haven't trotted off yet, I spank them.  Its good to have movement above them like that in the first few rides especially.  Sitting up there like dead weight will get you bucked off when you wave to your friend or pet their neck. 

I have learned that my previous method of ground desensitization did not work at all.  It is what I was taught in school but I found that my horses were still spooky. You would introduce a flag or tarp or the boogeyman and then the moment they stopped running from it, take the scary thing away.  Well, now I have learned that you keep it moving even after the horse has stopped for about 5 seconds.  Then you take it away.  It seems like it takes a few seconds for the horse to catch up with whats going on.  You let them know that you are rewarding the correct behavior of standing still. I am seeing great results with this.  They lick their lips a lot and get desensitized fast. 

Sorry this is a smorgasborg of different thoughts about my job the last two weeks, so lets just call it a training tip buffet.  Very random, but some good stuff.

Cantaloping.  Nope not a fruit.  Its my boss's nickname for counter cantering as the English folks call it.  Since western people say lope instead of canter- we cantalope.  Haha.  Cantaloping or counter cantering is loping on the opposite lead that you are supposed to be on.  So if you are going in a circle to the right, you would be in the left lead.  If you are on a horse that can't control their body and is muscularly imbalanced, you will feel an extremely rough gait.  Males may no longer be able to have children it can be that bad.  I cantalope all of the horses.  If they have a rough time staying in the wrong lead, use more inside leg to drive their hip out.  The more cantaloping you do, the better your horse will become. They will be less stiff and more athletic.  But here's the catch... you have to do it both ways.  Otherwise you will just be building up the imbalance in muscles.  It's great to do also in a small barn where you would normally be constantly picking up their shoulder.  If you are cantaloping their shoulder is already picked up!  Oh and for all you rope horse people-  Lope both directions when you warm up.  If your horse can't even take their right lead you have some major problems!!  Shoulders will be dropping and you will be ducking.  They need to be strong in both sides to perform the tasks asked for in a run.  If you going around in a circle to the left for the entire warm up, I'm just going to assume you have no horsemanship skills:):):)

Okay I've got to hit the hay....  I will be journaling more of what I learn at work soon.  Wishing you the best from Red Lodge, MT..........

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

I've Been Thinking A Lot Lately About Getting into a Horse's Mind...

(my crazy gray)

I've been thinking a lot lately about getting into a horse's mind.  There are a lot of people who just take the air out of a horse to get them calm and really just work them until they damn near fall over dead.  They are so out of breath, they can't even learn. And guess what, the more you do that, the better shape they get in.  Then it takes longer and longer to get the task accomplished. 

It takes a very intelligent person to train a horse to think their way through problems, instead of just reacting, jacked up on adrenaline. 

I am working for a man who is the best horseman I have ever been around.  I ride his horses and they are collected, willing, smooth, calm, athletic, and responsive.  Riding a horse like that reminds you why you love horses so much.  Every day when I condition his cutters, I think to myself, "I want to make a horse that feels this good and is this confident."  I'm sure if I stick around him long enough, I will be able to.

I am going to get a little technical here, so bear with me.  I've just had so many AHA! moments these last two weeks that I can hardly keep them contained.  I am writing them partially to share with my fellow horsemen, and partially so I will remember them myself.  :)

The first thing I noticed about his horses was that they all bury their asses when they stop.  So I ask him how he does that.  He just nonchalantly replies, Oh all of my horses do that.  Okay... are their drills, or exercises???  He says no.  They just crave stopping.  I'm slowly trying to figure this out and I've observed a few things about getting these killer stops.  1... Every time I stop, I back the horse up.  Whoa doesn't mean stop.  It means stop and back up.  The more fluid of a motion from stop to reverse, the better.  2...  When training, I'm only supposed to say Whoa as a reward.  So if the horse takes the wrong lead and I stop them to reset and try again, I don't say Whoa.  I just bring them to a stop with my reins and seat and try again.  His horses love to stop because they when they hear Whoa, they know that after they stop and back up, they are going to get a rest and a rub.  On a 30 day colt, you clear your throat and they drag their tail and may throw you over the front if you weren't expecting it.  3...  Accelerate into your stops.  You must be building speed to have an awesome stop.  The horse cannot anticipate that he will be stopping soon for it to be smooth and powerful.  4.... He had to chew me out for using my reins when I stopped his horses.  He said throw the reins down on their neck, sit down, and say whoa.  When a horse stops well, you can't be floating their teeth.  They stop because they want to, not because they have to.  Horses want the reward of rest.  That is their favorite reward!  Stopping is mental.  This is what I mean about getting into a horse's mind. 

Okay lesson number 2.  Shouldering in on circles.  This is something a lot of horses do.  It feels amazing when you jump on something that doesn't have this habit.  You feel like you can sit perfectly in the middle of the saddle and the horses motion isn't throwing you to the outside.  So I'm loping this big beast of a horse around (1/4 draft, 1/4 arab, 1/2 quarter horse....why??? and who does this???)  I should be nice, he is actually a doll and I love riding him.  He is shouldering in on the corners of our figure 8 track and I ask the boss what I should do to remedy it.  He says, well what did you do?  I said every time I felt him start to lean in I would pick up my inside rein and drive him out with my inside leg (which I thought was a step up from dragging him to the middle of the track with my outside rein)  Then he says, well everytime you pick him up he is just going to fall back in again.  Let's make staying straight and correct his idea.  Everytime you feel him shoulder in, pick up your outside rein and tip his nose to the outside, then drive with your outside leg and reverse arc him at the lope around your circles.  This is HARD work for a horse.  In fact it is so difficult for them that it is often hard to keep them loping.  He said do this for a while then just release and lope around again.  By making shouldering in a very difficult job, the horse will choose on their own to stay straight and balanced.  I think this is genius.  This also builds up their muscles so they will have the strength to stand their shoulder up.  Hmmmm.... I never could have thought of this myself.


Every day, I pull my mare out and ride her and my boss helps me train her.  This mare is fast.  I have no doubt that when I get her foundation super solid, she will be a smoking barrel horse.  But because of her hot blooded RUN mentality, training is difficult.  She lives to be in adrenaline mode.  So he says he will help me with her.  The day before I was loping around on her and she just kept getting more and more amped.  She was trying to run away and just couldn't do anything slow and relaxed.  I didn't know what I should do, so I kinda had the okay you want to run, lets run idea.  I ran her around and around and around until she was so tired that she finally slowed her pace down. WRONG mentality.  This is trying to get them winded so they'll listen.  It's not getting in their head.  Now I know better.  So the next day he takes her into the roundpen and does some groundwork.  He goes to send her and she wants to run and just bolts.  He picks her up in the face to stop her, then drives her again.  At first I was really confused as to what he was doing because to me it looked like Go, then Stop, then Go, then Stop and I was like wow, she is confused.  Then I realized he was just trying to get her to yield in a C shape toward him and do it with cadence, slowly.  Every time he would ask her to move away she would want to bolt, so he would shut her down then ask again.  He kept doing this and changing direction and raising his energy and repeating, really getting her to move her shoulder out of the way and yield to him with cadence.  At the beginning of the session, her head was high and she was pumped and after a few minutes of him doing this her head was low and she was yielding perfectly shaped at the walk.  He stopped and said she is done for the day.  I said wow she sure looks relaxed and he said that he had given her drugs.  Really? I replied.  I thought he had aced her (I am blonde).  He said he gave her endorphins and now she was thinking.  Interesting....

The next day he rode her out on the figure 8 track.  Every time I wanted to just move her out at a nice quiet trot, she would break into a lope.  I had tried doing one rein stop after one rein stop and it just wasn't helping. So he went out there and pitched her the reins, asked for a trot and she took off.  He sat her down into the ground, backed her up a few steps, then repeated the process by pitching the reins and asking.  After about four times, she started thinking.  She started to slow down her trot and not take off.  The next day I got on her and it was like I had a finished western pleasure horse by the way she was trotting around.  Her head was low (which means she was on her DRUGS) and she just trotted around slowly on a loose rein.  I was blown away and I yelled at him, What did you do to my horse?????

Well there is so much on my mind with this horse training stuff, but I had better stop!  I'm so happy to be passionate about what I'm doing.  I chose horsemanship as my career path because I'm so eager to learn everything I can about being a horseman.  There is so much to know, and if you ever get bored, you can just change your discipline and your back to ground zero again! 

Happy training and getting into your horse's head:)

Thursday, August 11, 2011

"Dream So Big That If Only Half of it Comes True, It's Still Amazing" Cowgirl Profile: Bobbi Jeen Olson

Not many women have a resume like Bobbi Jeen's.  She is a team roper, model, actress, television host for Arizona Country TV, and stunt woman.  She has appeared in numerous movies and TV shows including Walker, Texas Ranger and Hi-Lo Country.  Lots of things impress me about Bobbi Jeen, but the what stands out the most is her passion and love for the western way of life. 

She is the epitome of a Cowgirl Visionary.

After surveying a list of incredible accomplishments, I realized I was talking to a very driven woman who was a leader in the field of human potential.  I asked Bobbi Jeen what her keys to success were.  "I always try to treat people the way I want to be treated.  I am considerate of other people's feelings,"  was her response.  The older I get, the more I realize people that climb on top of others to get to the top won't stay there for long.  Bobbi Jeen is definitely not one of those people.  Her glowing personality and excitement for being a cowgirl is what has pulled her to the top.  She also shared a favorite quote, "Dream So Big That If Only Half of It Comes True, It's Still Amazing."  Yup! I think that one is working for her!
The other piece of advice she gave me was to surround myself with the best people I possibly could.  I could not agree more.  I believe we are the average of the five people we spend the most time with.  I want to hang out with 5 Bobbi Jeens!

When I asked her about adversity, she told me she cut her thumb off roping when she was twenty.  The doctor told her she was too pretty to not have a thumb.:)  She was ready to just say goodbye to it, but he insisted they would fix it.  So after three surgeries she was back roping again with her new thumb.  She told me that she thinks of her past as a learning curve to better herself and if someone shuts her down, she just goes a different direction. 
It came as no surprise when Bobbi Jeen told me one of her biggest role models as a young girl.  She absolutely loved Dolly Parton, with her contagious laugh and magnetic personality.  There is something that draws people like a radiant, confident, happy, and beautiful woman.  She also mentioned a gentleman at the sale barn that she worked at who taught her how to watch the reactions of animals.  This helped her become a cowgirl who could read animals and effectively manage stock.  
definition   cow*girl  (noun)
kou gurl
-a woman who herds and tends cattle on a ranch, especially in the western U.S., and who traditionally goes about most of her work on horseback.

To me it means a lot more.  To Bobbi Jeen, it means being out on the ranch with her family, watching colts and calves being born.  It means being surrounded by amazing people who have the same lifestyle.  It is being a compassionate horsewoman who lets the beauty on the inside shine through.

Here's to you Bobbi Jeen!  Keep making us proud!

WATCH FOR HER ON Arizona Country TV!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

It Doesn't Matter Where You Came From, or What Has Happened to You! Quit the Pity Party and Live Your Dreams!!!

I don't like victim stories.  I only like the ones that say this is what happened to me and here is why I'm a better person for it.

I didn't grow up on a ranch and no one in my family is a horse person or a rodeo athlete.  But I have loved animals so much my entire life and I decided a long time ago that I was going to be like all of those horsewomen I admired.  Even at 12, I knew I had to do something to get closer to being what I wanted to be.  I worked for a horse trainer the summer of seventh grade.  For my payment I got a three year old gelding that I affectionately nicknamed Crowbait because of his looks.  I spent 12 years with that horse and started worked for a multitude of different trainers.  I believe that it doesn't matter what kind of background a person has, or where they grew up, or how they were raised.  If you have a dream and enough dedication to see it through, you will become the person you want to be. 

In 2006, after a rough time in my life when I lost my boyfriend in a car accident, I decided I wanted to be Miss Rodeo Montana.  It took three years and a lot of dedication and giving up other priorities, but I achieved it.  The fun thing about getting prepared for Miss Rodeo MT was that none of it felt like work.  It was fun and I could barely wait to read and study and practice.  When you want something bad enough, the preparation doesn't even feel like work.  After I won, someone came up to me and told me how lucky I was.  LUCKY?  I felt like luck had nothing to do with it.  I was offended because I had worked SO HARD.  It was an interesting view into how a lot of people see the world.  Like success is an accident.  A lucky thing that happens to some people.  Long term success is not a lottery gamble. 

I have some really large goals for myself.  I want to be a professional barrel racer and team roper.  I want to be an entrepreneur.  And I know that I can make all those things happen with HARD WORK.  I feel like if it were easy, everyone would be doing it.  And they are not.  Sometimes when I get anxious about a goal or start thinking about it too much I just try to do something to step closer to it. 

"Nothing Diminishes Anxiety Faster than Action" - Walter Anderson  (The Confidence Course 1997)

I remember telling Miss Rodeo Montana 2007 Megan Helmer that I was nervous about the Miss Rodeo America Pageant and she said something that was very wise.  She said that everytime she got nervous, she would just get out her material and study some more.  It worked.  Every time I took action, I was calm and focused. 

I am going to share some quotes that help me keep perspective.

E + R = O        (Jack Canfield,  The Success Principles)

Event plus Response equals outcome.  If you change your response, you change your outcome.  A positive response generates a great outcome.  A negative reaction leads to a negative experience.  When I went through tragedy at 19, I realized that we cannot control all of our experiences.  All you can control is how you respond to them.  And every single person on this planet is going to have experiences that make you think, "Why did this happen to me?  I don't deserve this!  I am a good person."  This equation changed me life and I use it every single day. 

"Success will never be a big step in the future, success is a small step taken just now."  (Jonathan Martensson)
Jack Canfield says to do 5 things a day that will aid you in the completion of your goal.  If you take three swings at a tree with an axe every single day, one day that tree is going to fall down. 

"Turn your wounds into wisdom".  (Oprah Winfrey)

"A person will sometimes devote all of his life to the development of one part of his body- the wishbone." (Robert Frost)

"Success isn't a result of spontaneous combustion.  You must set yourself on fire."  (Arnold H. Glasgow)

"Fall down 7 times.  Stand up 8." (Japanese Proverb)

I really like all of these quotes.  Quotes helped me to get through a lot.  It doesn't matter what you've been through, or where you come from.  Look at horse trainers Monty Roberts and Buck Brannaman.  Research their past.  People have bad things happen to them and they have two choices.  They can accelerate, have a great attitude, live their life with love and purpose.  Or they can give up and never love or dream again.  I chose to live my life and it has been amazing.  I would never take back anything that has happened to me, as difficult as it was. 

Here's a video the Missoulian did about adversity I got through to achieve Miss Rodeo Montana

Remember smooth seas don't make skilled sailors!  


Sunday, August 7, 2011

Shitkickers & Swagger... join the Cowgirl/Urban Crossover!

Whether you are getting down and dirty on the ranch, or going out for a night on the town, you best be looking your best.  It's easy to get in the frump slump when you're in the day to day grind of fixing fence, roping, and riding, but western fashion should be fun!  There is a way to do it to look CLASSY and there is a way to look TRASHY and my what a fine line it is in between.  But the most important thing is to have fun.  I've always been fascinated by mixing city bohemian chic with a cowgirl edge.  I've also seen the roles reversed with high fashion lines like Ralph Lauren using western themes for their models.  One thing that I have always loved about cowgirls is that they can hack it with guys and still be dolled up.  Embrace being a woman! Go out there and cause a few minor car accidents!:)
Pinup cowgirls!  Used to put these pics all over my walls when I was younger... Yes they are scandalous, and someone would probably ask "How Much?" if you actually wore these outfits.  But they are fun and cute! 
Rockmount Western Wear:) Downtown Denver walking distance from yours truly!  I love retro blouses.  The key here is FITTED.  It costs fifteen bucks to get a seamstress to fit one on these to hug your every curve.  Nobody wants a hottie in a potato sack! I've noticed some retro shirts, like the ones Panhandle Slim makes, already come prefitted.  Add some swarovski crystals and you are ready to rock.

The off shoulder top- very in look right now.  Add some cowboy boots, chunky turquoise, and some Texas girl hair and you got it goin on.

For a while I just saw brides donning the boots.  Now the whole wedding party's gone western...

Corral boots are awesome!  I broke down and bought my first pair this summer.  Boots and dresses or cutoffs is a DO, but keep the fatbabys away.  They are evil! Dress boots are where its at.  Here I am in my black lizard inlay corral boots and a $13 dollar Forever 21 dress.  They rock because their clothes and accesories are CHEAP!  Style changes quickly and why waste money on it when there are horses and saddles and tack to buy. 

Chunky. Bright. Eye Catching.  If you're wearing some really flashy or large accessories, keep the clothing simple.  If the clothing is a statement in itself, I like long dangly necklaces.(Forever 21 carries some sweet ones for appx. 3-5 dollars)

Don't be selfish.  Share the spotlight with your steed!  Belt headstalls are coming in hot.  This is a custom one out of the Cinful Creations Collection.  I saw a lot of innovators making their own out of Ed Hardy and biker belts last winter.

:) :) :) Lesli

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Want to Find Out Who You Really Are?... Learn How To Rope

Bailey Jo Thompson looking gorgeous!

Doing a little dummy roping!

Kristi Renz on the heels!

A handy girl with a rope is a beautiful thing:) Lots of women ride horses, but only an elite handful can DO WORK in the practice pen and competition. I aspire to be a professional roper one day and look up to the cowgirls that are out doing what they love. Not only does the sport require excellent horsemanship skills, you have to put in a lot of time and practice- for you and your horse.

Want to find out who you really are? Learn to rope. Anyone who has been frustrated with roping knows exactly what I'm talking about. It can bring out the worst in a person. Before my first lessons, I thought I was confident, calm, and collected in my horsemanship and ability to learn new skills. I was wrong.

I have always wanted to rope. I'd see chicks roping and dream of the day I would be spinning steers and competing. Lucky for me, I am in a relationship with a man who is as gifted with a rope as any cowboy out there. Naturally, he decided to take on the task of teaching me. We spent last winter in Arizona putting on jackpots, taking in outside horses, and working on roping. I was so excited to be good that I forgot you have to suck really bad before you can start getting good.

Needless to say, I shed a lot of tears and was so upset with myself. One day, I missed ten in a row heading for Matt and I just broke down. I really didn't like who I was becoming in my journey to get good. I freaked out on the horse and lost my temper, which I ABSOLUTELY am TOTALLY AGAINST. He was ducking and running off and it was all my fault because horses do what we train them to do, and I didn't know how to get him to do it correctly. I realized that day that I was a HOT MESS. My principles of who I was and my patience levels weren't congruent with who I thought I was. Matt had heel horses in for training and I was the only one who was there to head for him and I was not holding up my end of the deal.

I learned a lot about roping and training horses last winter. But I learned even more about myself, and the person I didn't want to be. A person who was frustrated, hard on themselves, and hard on horses. Which brings me to the philosophy of training.

Last summer when I worked for Western Sky Equine starting colts, I remember something my boss Sue told me. I was frustrated with a colt and felt so angry. She said that God had put that horse in my life for a reason, and I was there to help them learn and give them a great beginning. That really hit home with me. There is no place in a teacher's role for abuse, anger, or impatience. This doesn't mean I don't ride the hair off my horses or that I spoil them and let them walk all over me. It simply means I am a fair and compassionate teacher and partner. I believe in working a horse to their full potential. I ask less than one hour for a horse to work for me. One out of twenty four! I provide food, shelter, health care, shoes, protection, and companionship. If I got all of those things and only had to work one hour a day I'd be pretty jacked! So, when it comes down to it, business is business.

But... horsemanship should never be about pride or anger.

I'm working on training a barrel horse right now. My mentor has taught me a lot and I am so thankful for meeting her here in Colorado. I like her because she is honest. She doesn't sugarcoat anything, which I respect and admire. And sometimes, let's face it... the truth hurts.

Anyone that has been around horses have had those moments where you realized you weren't as awesome as you thought you were and it all slaps you in the face. I'm getting better at accepting these and enjoying constructive critiscm as I get older. If she would've told me the same thing when I was twenty, I might've fumed. The mare I have is showing a lot of potential and I was starting to amp up the pressure and tuning on her a little too much. My mentor came over and told me I was picking. I was drilling her and making her do the correct thing over and over and it was frustrating the horse. She thought she was doing it wrong and looking for the answer over and over again. The horse was frustrated and I was too. I asked the gal what I needed to remember next time I was working on my horse. She said there's only three words you have to remember:


As trainers we tend to get really goal oriented and sometimes that's not fair to our horses. She said I needed to stop being so type A and start thinking about my horse more. Horses don't care about how fast we stop the clock, or how many buckles or saddles we've won. They just aim to please us, either out of fear or respect. As I evolve in my horsemanship, it becomes less about pride and more about my relationship with my horse.

I want to be a cowgirl that trains using compassion and encompassing fruits of the spirit: LOVE. JOY. PEACE. PATIENCE. KINDNESS. GOODNESS. FAITHFULNESS. GENTLENESS. SELF CONTROL. Any great trainer whose horses love and respect them has these characteristics. Roping showed me I have a lot of work in the PATIENCE, and SELF CONTROL department.

I have been venturing back to Montana and roping a little bit and it feels like its coming together. Matt's mare Ginger is helping me build my confidence and roping feels a lot more fun now. I can't believe how much I didn't know about ME before I started roping.

Before I sign off I'd just like to say that anger in training is a result of a lack of knowledge. The more we know about horses, the better horses we can make. Happy Headin' and Heelin',


Wednesday, June 29, 2011

What I've Learned From a Week Without My Droid

I absolutely love my Droid. Obsession almost. The navigation has absolutely saved my life living downtown Denver and I feel like I have the whole world in my hands.

Then, I dropped it in water last Thursday and my Droid died. Upon waiting for a new phone, I have experienced many feelings of loss and frustration:) This is funny coming from a girl who would purposely lose the cell phone her dad made her keep just so she could be "out of touch" in high school. The past few days I have had a lot of thinking time about what is important in life.

Throughout the day, I am constantly texting, calling, facebooking, surveying bank accounts, emailing, googling, and researching. My brain hurts just thinking about all the material I am seeing constantly. The last 6 days have been kind of refreshing. Today I was laying out by the pool reading "Chicken Soup for the Soul- Living Your Dreams" and I found an interesting statistic. Keep in mind, this book was published in 2003 so the statistics are outdated now. The book states that research has shown that about 90% of all our behavior is habitual and one of the worst habits Americans have is watching too much television. The average American watches six hours of television a day (this was in 2003, probably excessively more now!). If you are part of the average, that is one quarter of your life. So approximately 15 years of your life if you are 60!!! If you were to cut out one hour of television a day, that would give you an additional 365 hours a year, which is the equivalent of over nine 40 hour work weeks. THINK OF HOW MUCH YOU COULD LEARN IN THAT TIME...... OR HOW MUCH BETTER YOUR PHYSICAL FITNESS WOULD BE!!! I am proud to say I watch no television. I hope I never become a part of this statistic! However, my phone sure does take over a huge portion of my day! In fact, sometimes I feel like its my entire life. What if I were to take all that phone time and work on roping or training my horse? What if I were to actually read a book without getting interrupted by emailing and facebooking... or even work out hard without returning a text (yes, I am embarrassed to admit this:))

As a recent college graduate, I have been working on figuring out my life path and how to balance making money with finding a career I love and expanding my horsemanship knowledge. STRESSFUL. But I have found myself falling into the me me me trap. All I can think about sometimes is where I am going, how to achieve MY goals, how to carve MY own path, and what I can do to be successful and productive.

A story in Chicken Soup for the Soul really touched my heart and I probably looked like a total dork shedding tears by the pool today, but I didn't care. The story meant that much to me and made me realize what I have been missing out on in my life thusfar....

The man in the story recounted a Thanksgiving when his family had no money and no food and someone came knocking on their door and brought them a huge box of food, a giant turkey, and even pans to cook it in. The stranger said that he knew they needed help from a friend of theirs and that they had no choice and were going to take the box. The experience had a profound effect on the man's life as he grew up and he vowed that one day he would do well enough financially so that he could return the favor to someone else. He started his Thanksgiving ritual when he was 18 years old. He would buy food for a few families, dress up as a delivery man, then go to the poorest neighborhood and knock on a few doors. He always included a note about his Thanksgiving experience as a kid. All he asked in the note was that the receiver would take good enough care of themselves that one day they could do the same thing for someone else.

He and his new wife were in New York away from their families one Thanksgiving and she was really sad because she wanted to be decorating the tree and house for Christmas at home. He said, " Why don't we decorate some lives today instead of some old trees?"

The couple proceeded to buy several weeks worth of food and get a bus ride into the bronx to give food away to families who really needed it. They fed seven families for 30 days. They made a huge difference in people's lives on that holiday. I want to be a person that can help other people. I commit to doing something like this with my family one day. This kind of behavior is so rare and it is really sad.

Reading the book today also really prompted me to step up in a situation that I almost didn't take action in. A few weeks ago, my father met a woman on an airplane who has a daughter that just recently had her leg amputated because of cancer. This girl is 17 and was a highly competitive gymnast before the amputation. My dad told her that I had experienced some adversity in my life and that they should connect us to talk. This girl wants to get a prosthetic that will help her tumble again and also wants to do some motivational speaking. During my year as Miss Rodeo Montana, I had been the keynote speaker for SOAR (Students Organized Against Risks) and had spoken at numerous banquets and events.

The girl had emailed me and it took me a week and a half to get back to her because I felt emotionally frail and wasn't sure how to handle the situation. But we are corresponding now and I am really going to befriend this girl. I gave her some advice on how to get into motivational speaking and how to stay positive through difficult times. Reading the story today on helping others has got me thinking about how I can help this girl and be a good friend to her. I almost missed out on this opportunity because I was so focused on my own life and day to day meaningless activities and stress. I am excited for our friendship to progress and I want to find other ways to help people. So much of life is take, take, take, me, me, me, and I don't want to get sucked into that.

Well, the man in brown is bringing me a new Droid today. But I'm going to remember all of the lessons I learned away from my cell phone and work on being a more loving, unselfish, focused, and productive person! Have a great week my friends!!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

"BREAKIN' NECKS and CASHIN' CHECKS" Cowgirl Profile: Wylene WIlson of Wild West Horsemanship


(Photography by Charles Brooks)

Wylene Wilson is making a SPLASH in the equine world! Not only is this chick hilarious and gorgeous, she is more of a hand than any man I've seen. It only makes sense that she specializes in colt starting!

Dubbed as "Extreme Wylene" because of her daredevil riding presentations and fearless competing style, Miss Wilson sure is building a reputation for herself. She has won Extreme Cowboy Races, Mustang Makeovers, and was just in an inspirational documentary about mustang trainers called "Wild Horse, Wild Ride". The film has debuted at many film festivals across the country and Wylene can add *MOVIE STAR* to her resume.

I met Wylene at one of her clinics in Arizona and she invited me to come assist her with a clinic in St. George, Utah. We had a blast and I learned a lot from her. I was blown away at how great the colts turned out. I have always started colts so slowly and with Wylene I was loping down the river wash on colts on their 2ND DAY! Her style and the way she builds confidence in horses is almost hard to believe!

Choosing Wylene as my first cowgirl profile was easy because she exemplifies COWGIRL! She can get the job done looking damn good! She wears makeup, hair glitter extensions, and a flower in her cowboy hat. Check out her website and youtube videos...It's a kick!!!

***Charlie Brooks, Wylene's friend and professional photographer is great at capturing all of the CRAZY moments:) Check him out at ***

"As Long As We Structure Our Lives in a Way Where Our Happiness Is Dependent Upon Something We CANNOT CONTROL, Then We WILL Experience PAIN."

Are you someone that allows the troubles of the world to affect your level of joy? Most people are. I read this quote in Tony Robbins' book "Awaken the Giant Within" and I realized how simple happiness could be. We all believe that we will have joy around the corner; when we open up our new business, or get married, or get a material item. This is false. This belief system will make you depressed. Ever wonder why rock stars and celebrities are so unhappy and headed to rehab because of addiction? Most of them have expected their success to bring them constant joy and when they reach the top they feel unfulfilled. They need Coke, Meth, and Ecstasy to flood them with endorphins. Tony Robbins suggests setting up your happiness so you're in control. Create and list by filling in the blank: ANYTIME I ____________ I FEEL GOOD.

If you ever start feeling down- grab the bull by the horns and do some of the activities on your list!!! Here are a few from mine:






Here's a few more from my list...exercise. being a good listener, helping someone and expecting nothing in return. doing spin class. g something new. being positive. eating healthy and frequently. listening to music. hanging with girlfriends. getting dolled up. lighting candles. getting massages...

It's awesome if you can combine some of these together to get an extra boost!!! For example- this is dorky but I created a DOG WALKING MIX of happy songs on my ipod and combined listening to music with hanging out with my dog.

CREATE YOUR LIST and let me know how it goes:)

Friday, May 13, 2011

People usually Regret the things they DON'T do, not the things they DO...

I heard this once and it will be with me forever. To me the most painful experience in the whole world is thinking about myself as an old woman wishing I had experienced something that I was either too lazy or too scared to do. Do you want to be that person that lives vicariously through your children because you never achieved your own dreams? I saw that a lot in the pageant world when I was Miss Rodeo Montana. What holds people back from what they want to do deep down? I believe it is more discomfort than fear of rejection, even though both are common. It's uncomfortable to make the phone calls, write the letters, and put yourself out there when you are stepping closer to your goals. But the pleasure of long term success must outweigh the short term discomfort.

If fear is what holds you back, you must get aggressive with your goals. Rejection is great. It's an awesome thing because every time you are rejected and improve, then try again you are getting closer. I used to be worried to try things when I was training horses because I didn't want to make a mistake. One of Australian horse trainer Clinton Anderson's favorite one-liners is "Mistakes are good". Don't be scared to make mistakes. They will just make you better.

Don't be the person that looks upon others living their dreams with jealousy. Visualize yourself as an old grandma or grandpa looking back at your life. If you would say, "I wish I did that", go do it now!!! Err on the side of doing too much!