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"Cowboy Beans" by Ol Shepp

posted by Horse Owner Today    |   August 3, 2012 09:26

Cowboy Beans

By OLShepp

 Food is our fuel and everyone is pressed for time, even cowboys.  Protein needs must be considered every day and especially during physically stressful times. Because protein is needed not only to maintain energy levels, it also is needed to help control hunger and maintain lean muscle mass and muscle replenishment for hard working cowboys and cowgirls facing extreme conditions, students learning, and anyone thinking and working hard all day.

When I knew Pops, he was in his later years and his days of punching cattle were numbered.  His concept of food was drastic and his ideals are the most basic of cowboy cooking.


“It’s just food.  You’ve gotta eat it, doesn’t have to taste good.”  Pops declares as he heaps ‘Cowboy Beans’ on each plate around the campfire.

‘Cowboy Beans’ not only tastes good it is loaded with protein and carbohydrates that we all need for energy to work hard, and to concentrate and ride all day in the pouring rain .


Cowboy Beans

·                 Brown 2# lean hamburger, drain and set aside (protein 20 grams/85 g serving, 244 cal )

·                 1 large can baked beans   (protein 14 grams / 1cup serving, 382 cal )

·                 1 small onion chopped

Bits of 1 slice of cooked bacon crumbled for flavor

1 small can diced tomatoes (fresh tomatoes when available).

I heat ingredients, until hot and bubbly @ 350, about 20min.


*Ingredients are listed for convenience sake.  Cowpokes living far from town are not allowed the luxury of always having fresh ingredients.  I have listed alternative fresh ingredients along with the good-old standbys.  I do recommend always using the fresher items when available.


*Serve hot with a fresh tossed salad and my kids love this with corn-on-the-cob.

Protein consumption of between 10-35 % of total caloric intake, diminishes hunger and ensures maintenance of healthy muscle tissues.  Protein is required to maintain energy balance, satiety and nutrient intake to promote health and support lean tissues in order to reduce risk of chronic diseases.  Good quality proteins that are low in fats; fish, lean meats, poultry, whole-wheat cereals and grains, nuts, seeds, fruits and vegetables and low-fat dairy are essential to everyone’s wellness.

Good food and happy tummies are a “cowboys” preventive medicine.  You Cowboys like to eat, and will come in from a busy day for a good meal.


Reprinted by kind permission of OLShepp, lives with her family on a ranch in Wyoming where she cooks and writes for the health of it.  www.cookingforcowboys.com , provides simple recipes for healthy cooking on a budget.



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Cooking For Cowboys by OLShepp

posted by Horse Owner Today    |   August 3, 2012 09:20



I, like you, dreamt of being a cowboy as a kid roping calves and riding like the wind.




Cowboys are no more healthy than anyone else.  Cowboys do get the flu and they should get vaccinated and visit the dentist on a yearly basis.  However, most of you cowboys and some of you cowgirls whom I know do not see a doctor regularly.  And certainly not when it’s something that can be fixed with a sip of  whiskey, an aspirin or a horse pill.




Most cowboys reside too far from town to mess with the trip for preventive medical efforts like dental check-ups, vaccinations etc.  Self-sufficiency is this terrible disease that we cowboys have of not letting anyone tell us what we need nor what we don’t need.




Time is another factor to consider today for us cowboys seeking preventive measures.  A full day must be set aside for trips to town with lists stretching into the neighboring county.  Imagine the fences wasting away, the water wells gone dry, the irrigation water wasting while you were wasting time for a check-up.  Cowboys don’t do this.  We go to the doctor when and only when we’re broken.    Sound familiar?




The “Cooking for Cowboys” column originated as a cooking column.  My research logically began with recipes; the recipes I had in my collections, my mother’s collection, her mother’s and so on.




The recipes discovered are grand, the stories behind the recipes are entertaining and the characters are divine.  The tales that unravel while I research and write become much more than recipes, much more than cooking.  The people who do the cooking, the nourishing, do so much more.  Much more work, love and living go into cooking for cowboys than you ever imagined.








 Reprinted with kind permission of OL Shepp, thanks!


Living on the family ranch in Wyoming,  OL Shepp writes of love, laughter, life and sometimes her cute kids, or maybe a horse or two.  When she's not cooking for cowboys and cowgirls.  Read more of OlShepp's @ olshepp.wordpress.com & cookingforcowboys.com




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Creation of a Functional Kitchen by D'Reen

posted by Horse Owner Today    |   August 3, 2012 09:13

   I thought I should start at the beginning. For some this is one of the most terrifying, mind boggling events of our lives. Yes this is about the creation of a functional kitchen..  I am not talking about bottled water, frozen dinners and a microwave, no my friends  it is buying equipment, stocking your pantry and passing on American Idol reruns  to make some delicious and may I also add healthy dishes. Do not get me wrong this is not an inexpensive venture but like buying a car if maintained will be very affordable, manageable and have great results. If you do not make an attempt you will be doomed to a life of drive-thrus and frozen  dinners..

First we need to purchase some basic equipment for the kitchen.

Fridge and stove is a good start. Then maybe add a few gadgets like a rice steamer and a food processor but RESIST too many gadgets we need room on the counter to work.

Cutting board

Set of 8/10 st.st. pots at least a 2qt. 6qt. and a fry pan (non stick is a good choice)


Box grater

Measuring cups and spoons


Mixing bowls

Wooden spoons

Pastry brush

Can opener


Chef’s knife, paring knife and bread knife

And of course a set of 10oz. wine glasses!!!!!! Oops personal preference  8oz. would work too….

This will give you a great start. Do not get me wrong there are a lot of fun gadgets we will need later in our food travels. Just be sure that when you go shopping make it fun, try on your tools do they fit well in your hand? is the weight  comfortable? If your tools are not right you will not use them.  So take the time and pay a little extra for  good  kitchen equipment and most importantly does the color  match your ipod dock?

Now you are excited, super excited so when you get home tonight and tear off your clothes grab that vegetable peeler and peel those carrots, and potatoes and feel proud of yourself because you are on the food adventure of your life.

Next we will stock the pantry and the spice rack.



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Your Hurricane Action Plan

posted by Horse Owner Today    |   August 3, 2012 09:10


Check out Public Safety Canada’s site, www.getprepared.ca, to find out how to prepare for any kind of emergency or potential disaster. On that site you’ll find lots of information about how to make your personal emergency plan and what you should put in an emergency kit.

Here is an action plan of what you need to do before a hurricane becomes a threat:

1. Learn about hurricanes – Find out if hurricanes could be a threat to you. Visit the Canadian Hurricane Centre’s website to learn as much as you can. Go to the Climatology section of the website to learn if you are in an area that is visited by tropical cyclones and to see what such cyclones have done in the past. In particular, visit the section on Hazards and Impacts, which outlines the four basic threats posed by hurricanes or tropical storms in Canada:

2. Secure your home - You can make your home more secure and less vulnerable to storms. Once you know your vulnerability or areas of weakness, you can take steps to protect your family, pets and property.

First, make sure that you have the proper home insurance, which covers for specific losses where you suspect you are vulnerable. If insurance companies suspect that you are more vulnerable in certain ways, this will be factored into the amount of risk they are willing to take. This will in turn be reflected in the cost of your insurance. Doing whatever you can to reduce your vulnerability could also reduce your insurance costs.

Second, put the time and money into strengthening the areas where you are vulnerable. For example, if you already know that you have a basement flooding problem during heavy rain events, you can seal your foundation or other areas where water is finding its way in, build drainage ditches to divert water away from your house, and make sure that you have a working sump-pump. If wind is your greatest threat, you can strengthen the exterior of your home to keep wind from breaking in by doing things like protecting and reinforcing your roof, windows and doors (including garage doors). Construction experts can advise you on your exact needs. There is little you can do ahead of time to protect your home or property from storm surge and large coastal waves. The best thing you can do when storm surge or large waves are on the way is to move away from the coast.

Third, if a power outage would cause serious problems for you, you may want to consider having a backup generator that will supply enough power to meet your essential needs (like in the case of essential medical or supportive equipment). Most emergency plans focus on being self-reliant for the first 72 hours after disaster strikes, but if your needs extend beyond that, then this must be part of your personal plan.

3. Develop a family plan – Make sure everyone knows what to do, where to go and how to stay connected to information sources. Your family's plan should be based on your specific vulnerability to the hurricane hazards. Keep a written plan and share it with other friends or family.

Check out Public Safety Canada’s site, www.getprepared.ca, and let them help you create your own personalized family emergency plan. It will highlight things to consider such as

  • safe exits from home and neighbourhood
  • meeting places to reunite with family or roommates
  • designated person to pick up children should you be unavailable
  • contact persons (close-by and out-of-town)
  • health information
  • place for your pet to stay
  • risks in your region
  • location of your fire extinguisher, water valve, electrical box, gas valve and floor drain

4. Create an emergency supply kit - There are certain items you need to have regardless of where you ride out a hurricane. It’s important to keep it fully stocked with what you need and for everyone in your home to know where it is kept. You can either buy an assembled kit or create your own from things commonly found in your home. You should also consider an emergency car kit.

Public Safety Canada’s site has details of what to put in your home emergency kit and your car emergency kit.

5. Information sources – Make sure that you know where to get the latest weather forecasts and public announcements from emergency managers. During a disaster, battery-operated radios are the most reliable way to get information. However, in the days leading up to a hurricane, these websites will provide the best up-to-the-minute information:


Provincial Emergency Measures Organizations (EMOs):

Regional Weather Forecasts:



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Cup of Cheer Blog Staying Safe in Black Bear Country

posted by Horse Owner Today    |   July 9, 2012 14:53

Photo credit:  http://wildanimalsnames.blogspot.com/2009/03/black-bear.html

(if you are in Grizzly Country, good luck to you, the Grizz is altogether a different animal!)
This week the spring Black Bear hunting season ended, and with it ended the filling of bait stations everywhere.  After three peaceful years camping out in Black Bear back country, my normally completely- out –of- sight, out- of- mind neighbours have started knocking on my door to borrow a cup of cooking oil….or a bucket full,  if I’ve got it.
So yesterday I had to make a quick study of Black Bear behavior to learn how to re-establish a demilitarized zone around my cabin, a safe place for me and my family in the midst of wild animal country.  I don’t want to become a bear hunter myself, and I surely do not want to become prey.  In my quest for peace, I have learned several key points to getting along with Black Bears:
1.     Black Bears (Ursus Americanus) are curious, intelligent and timid creatures by nature.  Given their basic needs are met in their natural habitat (abundant berries and bugs, lots of space and good cover), they won’t impose on human neighbours for hand-outs.

2.    Hunting season is a game changer. 
I wish I had thought of all this BEFORE I agreed to let a hunter set up a bait station on my land.  I realize that these bears have no natural predators, and population control is necessary from time to time.  I’m really not against hunting.   It’s just that I expected the huge bears from the trail cam to become nice cozy rugs in front of the hunter’s fireplace…I had no idea these same bears would not even be seen by the hunter in 6 weeks, or that they would carry off the extra bait to MY place, laughing all the way back to their dens.  (According to trail cam, 3 or 4 different bears were involved, that’s a mob, imo.)

3.    It only takes ONE TIME to train a Black Bear to eat un-natural food out of an un-natural package.  From just a single experience, a Black Bear can become trained, or “food-conditioned”, seeking out any object resembling that prize food container (bait station) and will investigate any such container, even if it does not contain food.  (By investigate, I mean tipping, rolling and puncturing with teeth and claws.)

I returned to the site of my little cabin in the woods this past Sunday after being away for a week.  The 45 gal drum rain barrel was tipped over and the 45 gal drum that keeps our kindling dry had been rolled around, the baggie of dryer lint and matches inside had been thoroughly chewed.  It took me a few minutes to realize that hunting season had ended the day before, and the cooking oil and sugary carbs were no longer being served out of ….you guessed it, a 45 gal drum. 

 I must give the bears credit here for not disturbing anything ELSE in my camp site, including my lawn chairs, my wooden clothes dryer rack, picnic table, benches, BBQ.  So, thanks guys.

4.    Black Bears ears are attracted to and eat just about anything.  (Think GOAT). 
Once “habituated” or conditioned to unnatural food, you have a “nuisance bear”.  This bear will approach camp sites in spite of their fear of humans, to feed their craving for our food.  Once the bear starts this behavior, the next step is usually a call to the conservation officer to have the “problem” moved to someone else’s back yard.  Most people I talked to about this thought the answer should involve a loaded gun. 
What I learned through my research into Black Bear behavior is that relocating a bear often doesn’t work (they come back.)   Killing is not the best way to deal with conflict situations.  We could run out of room to hide the bodies!
This situation is, after all, not the bear’s fault.  (Think of STARBUCKS, or TIM HORTONS.  Why is it so hard to just drive away?)

5.    There may be a way to restore lasting peace in the wilderness without destroying the problem animal.
So, even if the local Black Bear population has collectively become hooked on cooking oil and day old donuts, I’m hopeful  we can turn this around and resume our natural patterns of living.  I have discovered advice on re-training bears to stay out of my camp site and I am hopeful that it works.  I’m not a killer, and I don’t want to give up my Summer Paradise either.

I’m also hopeful as a human being that I can beat the Tim Horton’s effect myself  – that I might prefer saskatoons over double chocolate dip, honey crullers or Boston Creams and coffee.  If sugar makes us crazy, I guess it’s a good thing we don’t all tote guns around.  (Put DOWN the donuts and BACK AWAY from the deep fryer.) 
WHAT TO DO if you come in contact with a Black Bear
First of all, remember that Black Bears are timid creatures and fearful of those that stand on their hind legs all the time. (that’s us)  Even if addicted to sugary, deep fried things, they are still AFRAID of us.  Given the chance, they will flee the scene of the conflict rather than fight you for your donuts.

If a Black Bear wanders into your space:
 In a firm manner, showing no fear, instruct the bear to leave.  Point out the exit.  Be stern.  Make yourself as large as you can, get all your buddies to gather together with you, and do not back down.   Get louder if at first you don’t succeed.  If the bear keeps ambling toward you (it probably won’t), feel free to send a shot of pepper spray into the air above the bear’s head, or launch a rock from a sling shot.  In much the same way that we need to establish and enforce boundaries with our horses and other pets, we need to enforce our boundaries with wild animals, for their safety as much as our own.
Pepper spray is a controlled substance, available at your local hunting outfitters.  If you have a sling shot, fire away.  The bear will learn that human food is not worth having if it’s this much trouble getting.

If you accidentally stumble upon a Black Bear while hiking or berry picking:
This is a completely different situation and requires a completely different response.
It is important that you NOT act aggressively now.  In this situation, the bear will be frightened and may not feel that it can get away from you.  In this case, the Black Bear can become defensive and attack you out of sheer fright.  The thing to do in this situation is to speak to the bear in a soft tone, backing slowly away by the same route you came, not making direct eye contact.
 All the bear really wants is to feel safe by having lots of daylight between itself and you.  If the bear is snorting, huffing or “whoofing”, smacking the ground with a paw or even charging you, it is most likely BLUFFING in an attempt to move you away.  It is not a good idea to further escalate the bear’s anxiety by becoming aggressive yourself, so just back off the pressure, slowly.  Even though you will be shaking in your boots, be strong and very courageous, don’t show your fear.
 Do not turn around, and do not run from the bear.  Don’t bother trying to climb a tree either, as the Black Bear is the undisputed master of the canopy, and actually feels MORE confident up there than they do on the ground.

All this is easier said than done, of course.  Your best bet is to conduct yourself so that you don’t end up in a situation of conflict to begin with.  Follow a few simple precautions and enjoy your time outdoors in the woods:

Always travel in groups of 3 or more, make lots of noise, and stick together.  Keep your eyes open for signs of bear presence and if you see a bear in the distance, give it lots of space.  If the bear has a carcass or cache of food, alter your route!  If you give the bears half a chance to steer clear of you, they usually will, unless guarding food or their young.  Just stay away.  In all my time in the woods, I have not encountered a bear face to face.  I make noise and they stay out of sight.
Don’t let children wander far from the group, keep pets on a leash as a free-roaming pet can irritate and provoke a bear.  Try carrying a long walking stick with a bandana tied to the top.  Wipe your sweaty brow on the bandana, steady yourself on the trail with the stick, and if you do stumble upon a bear, hold the bandana end of the stick out to the bear and carefully drop it as you back away.  The bear is all about a proper introduction, and wants to explore your scent.  He will likely be satisfied to investigate the bandana sample of you while you slowly and calmly back up the way you came.

Do not approach a bear or in any way attempt to make contact with a grown bear or cub.  It goes without saying that you should not entice a bear to approach you with food, DO NOT FEED THE BEARS.  Keep your campsite clean, take all solid garbage out frequently to secure containment and bury all liquid waste.  Don’t keep food, bait or any scented toiletries in your tent.  Don’t sleep under the stars.

Carry a sling shot or pepper spray at all times while out in bear country, just in case.  In the highly unlikely event that a Black Bear approaches  you aggressively and won’t stop coming on, use the spray or pelt it with rocks from 20 or 30 steps away.  Remember not to turn and run, don’t try to climb a tree, and under no circumstances ever drop and play dead with a Black Bear.   If the bear makes contact with you, fight it off with everything you’ve got, striking the head and eyes,  making lots of noise.
Remember that Black Bears have been living around humans for hundreds of years, and in all that time there have been very few outright attacks and even fewer fatalities.  Keep up your courage out there and take your place as a human, without fear, the bears will respect that.

Happy Camping
The bears thought it would be a good idea to store a jug of oil over at my place.  I was told a bear will eat his fill at the bait station and haul the leftovers to a “safe place”.  Evidently they have watched me enough to know that the deep fryer insert that came with my cast-iron dutch oven has never been taken out of the box, so apparently storing oil at my place is a great idea.  I noticed they didn’t store any leftover donuts though….

6.    It is not necessary to have a nuisance bear removed or destroyed.
I have been advised to pick up some bear spray and an air horn, having these close by so that I can re-train the bears to stay out of my space like they used to.  I am told that a sling shot rock works well to chase a Black Bear away, and that the normal order will return. 
In my research of Black Bears, I learned that I am more likely to be struck by lightning or win the lottery than to be harmed by a Black Bear in the woods.   I hope it’s true.  I really don’t want the conflict.
Stay tuned to see how this all turns out.  If the next post is written in bear paw, then you know what likely happened to me.  I’m off to buy a lottery ticket now!









Gillian Thiessen, Sales Representative www.HorseOwnerToday.com



gillian.t@horseownertoday.com or call 306-292-6768


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Paying it Forward in 2012

posted by Horse Owner Today    |   July 5, 2012 13:01

Big thanks to SaskPower Shand Greenhouse booth at the Farm Progress Show 2012, we stopped by their booth, picked up order forms and entered their draw.....we won - Saskatoonberry Chocolate Hearts by Riverbend Plantation!

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Proactive Horse Ownership

posted by Horse Owner Today    |   May 28, 2012 11:35

Photo credit:  Danette Stevenson - HOT Sales Force Consultant

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Meet Judi - "HOT" Sales Force Consultant

posted by Horse Owner Today    |   April 26, 2012 08:08

Judi "Hot" Sales Force Consultant & Lester


I am a career florist but at heart my true love is horses!  I am starting to ride this spring, after losing my beloved Lu two years ago, it is time to get riding.  A strong background in retail sales and real estate is providing a jump start to becoming a HOT sales consultant.  Give me a call or email and I will help you become HOT advertising vendor, enjoying the benefits of our amazing on-line traffic.


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General | training

Ride from the Heart DVD - The Art of Communication By Jenny Rolfe

posted by Horse Owner Today    |   February 28, 2012 07:10




Ride from the Heart DVD

The Art of Communication

By Jenny Rolfe

Cracking Media

50 minutes - $37.00

To purchase on-line, go to: http://www.spanishdressagehorses.com

Also available on Amazon


Reviewed by Carol M. Upton http://www.dreamsaloud.ca

Training is about connection with our horse with love, harmony and respect. The more we understand the ways of the horse, the more we understand our own feelings. As a result we can live in more harmony - not only with our horse - but with ourselves. ~ Jenny Rolfe


U.K. riding instructor Jenny Rolfe teaches innovative techniques of core breathing to connect with the horse and help the rider to find harmony in body, mind and spirit. Now these techniques are available in progressive and well-organized detail on the DVD Ride from the Heart.


Rolfe’s principles are based in dressage, but applicable to all forms of riding.  She demonstrates with her Iberian stallions using liberty work, not only as a training aid, but also as a warm-up, re-establishing connection on the ground prior to riding. The object is calm, assertive leadership, and total empathy between horse and handler.


The DVD includes common training tips such as not pulling on a horse’s head when leading. There are also excellent demonstrations of Rolfe’s exercise system to improve the rider’s body awareness. Exercises, loosely based on Tai Chi, are done in standing positions. The rider is then soft and relaxed when mounted, and thus the horse is as well. Most athletes already use such techniques prior to competition, but not much has been offered on DVD for the equestrian.


Instructors will value this DVD as a teaching tool for all levels, but it additionally offers fresh perspectives on position and groundwork. It is really for anyone who wants to help their horse become a more confident athlete and simply create a better ride.


Jenny Rolfe’s clients come from all over the world and include those professionally involved with horses, among them BHS trainers, physiotherapists and natural horsemanship instructors. She is also an artist and author of the book Ride from the Heart and her upcoming 2012 release Breathe Life Into Your Riding.

HorseOwnerToday and Elaine Ward of Western Dressage in Canada

posted by Horse Owner Today    |   February 11, 2012 16:05



1.  Tell HorseOwnerToday about your journey to developing Western Dressage in Canada to where it is today.
I've been involved with Western Style dressage for the past 30 years. I was a successful youth rider, and did the 4H, Paint and Quarter Horse Shows. I was learning dressage at the time also. My first dressage lesson was back in 1973! When I started teaching professionally, I would have students that would come to me with their Western horses.  I would work on really basic dressage exercises to improve the gaits and suppleness of their horses, and work on the rider's  position. It's really no different for me. Good training is good training. I teach the horse to use his hind end, and teach the rider how to achieve it.  Ideally we want the horse to carry it's self. My best analogy to riders is to imagine the horse is like a motor boat. Without the power of the engine (the horses' hind end) to lift the bow (the horses' front end), you will never have a horse that is light and can carry it's self.
Western Style dressage as a discipline is so new, that our job right now is to educate riders to the benefits of it. To develop a better level of communication, and a higher level of learning. What's really cool about Western Style dressage is that it is a progressive training, and the levels of tests increase in difficulty to reflect that. Even if someone has no interest in showing, the tests are just that, the ability to ride patterns of increased difficulty and to ride to a standard.

2.  What changes have you seen in the the Dressage in Canada market in the past 5 years?

I think the market has really not changed. You have two types of riders out there. The competitive and the recreational rider. It has always stayed that way. But on the other hand, the generations are getting older. What I have discovered from talking to people is that the older riders no longer wish to sit in a dressage saddle. They find the Western Style of riding much more relaxed and less restrictive. Those riders have also gone out and purchased a more average moving horse with a good mind. They still want to learn dressage, but not on a big moving, active minded horse. They love the camaraderie of riding with friends, and still want to go out there and learn, but not with the big warmblood or hot Thoroughbred types anymore. I'm not saying that Western Style Dressage is for the older riders, but from looking at several studies, the demographics point to the over 45 rider. I have discovered the same thing from talking to people interested in Western Style Dressage.  WSD also is important to the youth out there too. We would like those riders to develop a good foundation for training, no matter which discipline they choose to ride. Dressage is the French word for Training. Training done correctly.

3.   What changes do you predict for the future of Western Dressage in Canada in the next 5 years? 

The goal of the Western Style Dressage Association is to get WSD out there to every corner of Canada, through demos, displays, clinics, etc. Our long term vision is to have Equine Canada except WSD as an actual discipline with a section in the rule book. In the mean time, it's all about education!  We would like to see WSD included in regular dressage competitions. We would like to have an affiliate in every Province!  http://westernstyledressage.ca/