Ranch Life Articles

Tubing Horses Was Not for the Faint of Heart

June 23, 2022
Jan Swan Wood

Old Tony was a fine gentleman I worked with on a ranch in New Mexico in the early 1980s. I don’t know how old he was, but the ranch owner said he hadn’t changed since he was a boy and Al was a Korean veteran. Tony was a man of pure Spanish blood. His family […]

First Paying Job as a Kid

June 19, 2022
Jan Swan Wood

Most people’s first jobs are when they are in high school, perhaps to save money for a car or college. My first job was when I was 12 years old. I can remember it like it was yesterday. I was at a 4-H rodeo when a good friend of my Dad’s, Darrell, approached me and […]

Colt Antics

June 15, 2022
Jan Swan Wood

Back when we were raising horses, we had two proven saddle horse mares who had both foaled stud colts one year, and they were as opposite as can be, but became best buddies out in the pasture. The Thoroughbred colt, LeRoy, was all legs, big, gangly and full of mischief. Spider was a Quarter Horse […]

De”cap”itated by a Hawk

June 12, 2022
Jan Swan Wood

It was an early summer and I had been hired to ride on the cattle on a big summer range next to my folks ranch. I did the riding on both places as I was in high school. The pasture I was checking steers in was rolling prairie with some deep draws and hills with […]

A Very Senior Cow Horse

May 25, 2022
Jan Swan Wood

It had been a nice wet spring and calving was on full blast. I needed to go get a cow in who was taking too long to calve, so I decided to kill two birds with one stone and ride the old kid horse. Kid horses need to have an adult ride them occasionally and […]

Soggy Sheep Saga

May 23, 2022
Jan Swan Wood

One chore on the ranch that I didn’t enjoy much came in the last weeks before lambing started. Since we range lambed, we didn’t shear until on the brink of it starting on about May 15, as those ewes could get mighty chilly once sheared. So, when it rained, their fleeces got really heavy, and […]

Moose The Rez Pony

April 27, 2022
Jan Swan Wood

Late in my high school years, I was short of horses for my summer herd cattle job. A friend said he had a little red roan gelding for sale that was tough as boiled owl, honest and could really walk. I always liked a fast walking horse, so I was interested. I took the horse […]

Highway Crossing Fiasco

April 15, 2022
Jan Swan Wood

Fall was in the air, calves had been shipped, and this particular bunch of cows needed to go down on the river bottoms for the winter. I was working full time for the outfit and knew this bunch of cows pretty well. They were high horned Herefords and spent every season on the forest permits […]

The Ol’ Hangin Tree

April 13, 2022
Jan Swan Wood

My husband and I were working for an outfit in Wyoming years ago. The crew was gathered up to get some cows and calves gleaned out of thick timber, both oak and brush thickets and pines. In the crew was the owners’ daughter, son-in-law and their two young kids. The folks were good hands and […]

The Big Easy

March 26, 2022
Jan Swan Wood

He was a royally bred AQHA gelding that was about 7/8 Thoroughbred and looked it. Taping at an even 17 hands, he was an imposing figure of horseflesh. We called him Easy. I had traded for him from some friends. I had a mare they wanted and I needed a rideable gelding a lot more […]

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