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The Horse Queen of Idaho or, How You Make a Cowboy

Updated: Jun 6, 2021

Kittie Wilkins, who became known as the Horse Queen of Idaho, was born in Oregon in 1857, but moved with her family to Idaho where they began ranching. As Kittie grew, so did her skills with horses. Astounding skills. She rode as if she’d been born in the saddle. Passion, ability, and an effervescent personality combined to make Kittie the perfect woman for building a successful horse operation.


For thirty years plus, the Wilkins Horse Company at Bruneau’s Diamond Ranch supplied thousands of horses for customers all over North America. Thanks to Kittie’s leadership, it built and maintained a sterling reputation. Sales were strong for decades and the Diamond Ranch counted some pretty impressive customers among its fold, such as the US Army and Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show.

One cowboy later wrote about Kittie’s tough reputation, “If a man weren’t a good rider when he went to work for Kit Wilkins, he was a good rider when he left or he wasn’t riding at all—unless in a hearse.”

Now that’s how you make a cowboy … and a lady in defiance.

If you’d like to learn more about Kittie, here’s one article I recommend:

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