What We Are Doing, When We Are Doing It &

Who’s Doing It

Here  is where you can learn about our regular barn acitivities, the schedule for upcoming events and clinics, and what horsemen who ride with us are doing with their horses

An All-Around Champion Cowgirl

By Kerry Kraha

It’s a miracle that Tia Kraha is alive today. She was born prematurely with many health conditions, including brain damage from severe fetal alcohol syndrome. She is 16 now but will always be about age 4-8 mentally, and it was predicted that she would lead a very limited life. But Tia doesn’t understand predictions so she goes about her life doing the unexpected.

No one ever imagined that she would be riding horses today and learning to herd buffalo at the Briggs arena. I’m Tia’s sister-in-law and I admit I didn’t see this coming, because in the beginning Tia was darn scared of horses.

She was adopted into my husband’s family shortly after birth. She’s the embodiment of the childhood spirit, and she will always stay that way. She’s so sweet and just loves her life. She’s always so full of joy and she brings a smile to your face. If she meets you, then you are automatically her new best friend. She will cheer you on very loudly and hug you every time she sees you.

I offered for her to ride many times over the years and she used to scream and cry at the prospect. She didn’t even want to be in the pen with them. Horses were just too big and scary.

She had many opportunities as her dad is a farrier and I’ve always had horses. This past March I had her for about six weeks because one of her brothers had a major medical incident which resulted in him being air lifted to ICU in Great Falls. His mom went with him and I took care of Tia here.

During that time she helped me do my chores and feed the horses and she slowly started to gain more confidence around them. I would bring hay in and she would be my gate person. When she realized she could order my horses around and they would do what she said she was so excited.

Then one day after I had been riding my horse Peaches at Dean’s on the buffalo, I asked if she wanted to ride. Keep in mind I had offered this same thing hundreds of time to which she was always adamant that she did not want to. She said yes that night and I was shocked. I led her around on my gentle little quarter horse while she waved at everyone and said, ” Look at me! I’m just like a real cowgirl.”   After that she was hooked. I led her around until the beginning of April when I let her have the reins while my little horse followed me around. Soon after she complained my horse was too slow for her. Which was true. She would kick and kick and Peaches would just stand there being a good babysitter.

I put her on my old Arab horse Blue. He can be quite the stinker and only works for people he wants to. For example, my husband can’t ride him at all without him trying to spin or buck or spook. But Blue has always loved kids so I saddled him up and took them both to Briggs’ arena and turned them loose. The rest is history.

I bought her a helmet and a new saddle her size and the two of them looked like real pros. She competed in all the local omoksees on him this year (beginning with me leading him and ending with her trotting and loping the patterns by herself). I can’t get her to slow down now. She lopes that old horse everywhere. He’s 22 and she loves him to death and he loves her. Never before had he chased cows or buffalo and now she has buffalo night every Wednesday and sorting every Friday in the fall.

She loves Dean, Wendy, and Shawn and can’t wait to show them her horse every week. She brightens up the whole barn even though there’s never a quiet moment there now. We are local Whitehall people and it’s so amazing to see the people who support and love her. Our local Wednesday buffalo group pitched in and secretly bought her a belt buckle which is inscribed with “All Around Champion Cowgirl.” And just ask her and she will tell you that’s exactly what she is.

We’re interested in doing a clinic for advanced barrel riders.  Are you?

Well-Broke horses run barrels faster than horses that aren’t Well-Broke. It’s just a matter of bio-mechanics. You need shoulder control to sweep around those barrels efficiently. Efficiency is speed. And shoulder control is at heart of our Well-Broke training program.

 Would you like to learn shoulder control and get an edge on the competition next summer? We’re planning a barrel clinic for early spring 2018 that can help you get that edge.

 Before we put this clinic together we would like to know if you are interested, and if so, what are some of your problems you’d like Dean to help you with. This will be serious barrel racing training for the intermediate to advanced rider and will be limited to 10 riders.

 Contact Wendy and tell her if you are interested in riding in this special clinic: Phone: ranch 406-287-3670, cell 406-565-2681. email briggssranch@yahooo.com.

Our Ongoing Activities

Cow Horse Practice on Wednesdays

We have designed this activity to help riders improve their skill for any stock event.  We get fresh buffalo every year and school them for this work.  They offer varying challenges from slow to fast.  You can practice at a level comfortable for you and your horse.  Start at 5 pm. Fee is $20.




Team Roping Practice on Mondays

Our open team roping practice gives you a chance to polish your roping and iron problems you may be having.   You can share information from other team ropers and get tips and suggestions.  Start at 5 pm, fee $20. Take your roping to next level with private instruction from Dean for $40 a lesson.



Well-Broke Horse Instruction

Dean teaches his Well-Broke Horse system in private and group sessions and in clinics.  One of his most popular clinics is basic horesmanship that helps riders lay a foundation for advanced riding skills.  He gives these clinics several times a year.  Each year he does a problem solving demonstration during our Customer Appreciation Day in September.  Dean’s instruction includes, cutting, roping, barrel racing, and gymkana.  He accepts all breeds.

Dean also is available for consultation on ranch safety and stock handling.  You can reach Dean at 406-287-3670 or 406-490-3670

2 Girls, 2 Horses with the Right Stuff

Two youngsters who ride with us did well in competition this summer.  We wanted to share their success with you.

Caydee and Ike

Caydee Johnson has been riding with us for a little more than a year.  She’s a  good all-around hand, ropes, runs barrels, ties goats.  If it is something that can be done on a horse, Caydee is up for it.  Cutting wasn’t one of her skills when she came here but she was interested to find out what it’s all about, and  we were glad to show her.

Caydee started learning with Ike, one of our studs.  Ike has been around the block a few times and knows the game well.  Ike is a kind horse, and he and Caydee were a good fit.

Caydee’s high school life had plenty to keep her busy at Manhattan High, but she made cutting and riding Ike a priority.  She made the trip to our ranch three times a week and stayed focued on getting to the National High School Rodeo Association’s finals, which were held this year in Gillette, WY.

This is tough competition.  Riders come from all over the country.  Many of them  have pro abillity and go on to compete in college and professional events.

There were 110 riders in this year’s cutting.  Caydee and Ike placed 31st.

Caydee has talent.  No question about that, but she also has the work ethic necessasry to develop that talent .  And, we have to say that when you match talent like hers with a horse like Ike, good things can happen.

Like many of the other riders in the finals, Caydee is moving onto bigger challenges.  In the fall she will enroll at Laramie Community College in Cheyenne, WY, on a full rodeo scholarship.

Ike is back home now and is taking some time off.

Julia and Fritzy

Early this spring, Julia Hoagland had high hopes for this summer’s rodeo competition.  Julia is 9 and believes almost all things are possible with a horse. She had a new horse that was a Christmas present, a well put together mare with plenty of speed in her background.  Julia was ready to meet all comers.

 Two weeks before the season started, her mare suffered an injury that would keep her out of this year’s competition.

Our do-everything horse is Fritzy.  He’s 19.  During the years, he has been a beginner’s horse, a lesson horse, a rope horse.  He even filled in once in a beauty-queen contest and ran a reining pattern that helped the girl become queen.

Fritzy just always rises to the occasion.  He even seems to know how to keep track of the numbers on the cows in sorting events.

Julia rode Fritzy many times when she was a beginner.  He helped her learn how to run barrels and sort cows and anything else she wanted to try.  Julia learns fast and moved on to other horses.  Fritzy had other things to do, things more suitable for a 19-year-old horse.  He is good at retirement and taking life easy.

We wanted to help Julia and suggested she use Fritzy.  There were some who said this was a silly idea.  Fritzy was way past the time he could run.  The speed was gone.  But Fritzy does rise to the occasion.

The results: Julia won the all-around title and a saddle in the High Winds Rodeo, which is series of seven rodeos.  She competed during the summer in the Whitehall Barrel Series and qualified for the youth division in Whitehall’s Frontier Days celebration, which features bronc riding and barrel racing.

In all of this, Fritzy returned to his youth.  He lost weight, developed muscle, and showed he can run, best time in barrels so far this year 19.5.

Julia is now learning  to rope, so it looks like Fritzy won’t be going back to retirement anytime soon.

Fritzy was born on our ranch out of a Kansas Badger mare we owned and our stud the late Along Came a Spider.

Contact us if you have any questions about our activities and would like to participate.  We’d love to hear from you.


Ranch: 406-287-3670

   Mobile: 406-490-3670, 406-565-2681