Ranch Life Articles

Working Cows in a Hurricane

November 20, 2023
Jan Swan Wood

It was October and fall day work was going steady. We’d shipped all of the steers we’d ridden on all summer by September, but there hadn’t been a letup in the riding. We’d been called to gather the D cows out of the oak thickets and gumbo breaks and knew it would be a tough […]

Well Broke Cows and a Homegrown Cowboy

November 10, 2023
Jan Swan Wood

The cows were needing moved to a fresh pasture on the place I was leasing grass from. Our cows handled really well and were very broke, so I knew that my seven year old and I could handle it, but, there was a problem on the route we needed to move them. There were two […]

Gumbo and Cow Tails

November 8, 2023
Jan Swan Wood

It had been a wet fall with rain, cool temps and even an October snow storm that melted and soaked in. The end of October had the ground saturated with moisture. We were hired to go and gather a bunch of cows and ship the calves off of some genuine gumbo country. We’d ridden this […]

Ranching in Florida; We Are All Chasing the Same Thing

October 31, 2023
Marisol Tarango

When I was in elementary school, I had an aunt who was still in college. She was more of a big sister to me than an aunt. Every summer while she was in college she would travel, and when she got back, she would tell me about all her adventures. When I was older, I […]

High Wind Warning

October 25, 2023
Jan Swan Wood

We had been day working steady all fall. Day after day of up before dawn, pack a lunch while eating breakfast, saddle and load horses and be somewhere far away by daylight. But, the season was winding down and it was becoming important to get any cows home from summer range before winter struck. On […]

Using Horse Language

October 24, 2023
Jan Swan Wood

Maybe I’d read something about it, or maybe it was just an idea that hatched in my own head, I don’t remember, but, the addition of an old gray mare made me put it into action. “Lou” was an old calf roping horse and quirky due to her opinion of people in general. Being a […]

Satisfaction is Payment Enough

October 23, 2023
Jan Swan Wood

I’d never met the lady who had called me about starting a colt for her, but I’d known her late husband and thought a great deal of him. What she had was a three year old Thoroughbred stud colt that was sort of halter broke and pretty gentle. I knew the stud he was sired […]

Ranching in Florida; Florida Cowboys

October 13, 2023
Marisol Tarango

If you took a cowboy from every region of the United States and lined them all up in a row, they would all look like a group of cowboys. Of course, on closer inspection you would notice differences in the style of their clothes and gear, and if you listened to them talk about how […]

Unexpected Ending to Gathering Cows

October 11, 2023
Jan Swan Wood

Weeks of riding, combing brushy draws, timbered ridges, and gumbo breaks, had finally culminated in having the cows all, hopefully, gathered on the ranch where I was working. They were wild, snakey old rips who hadn’t seen a human since their calves were branded, if they’d gotten branded even, and they’d gathered hard. One at […]

Tarzan Gets a Headache

October 5, 2023
Jan Swan Wood

We had gathered a big chunk of country that morning. The owner had made the outside circle and “rode” the canyons out in his Bell Jet helicopter. The New Mexico ranch was huge and rough, so that helicopter really saved some horse sweat when he was able to get in the air. We had the […]

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