Ranch Life Articles

Penny and I

September 22, 2022
Jan Swan Wood

In my writings, I’ve mentioned the buckskin mare, Penny, who helped raise me. She and I were foaled on the same year, her in June, me in November, so we literally grew up together. She was orphaned before she was old enough to wean, so was raised around the corrals and was an absolute pet. […]


Good Kid/Bad Kid Foals

September 16, 2022
Jan Swan Wood

Penny and I were foaled/born on the same year. She was a June foal, me a November. When she was four and I was a coming four, my oldest brother put us together and she took good care of me. She was the kindest, sweetest, gentlest horse ever and she spent her years hauling me […]


Roping Roy

September 7, 2022
Jan Swan Wood

The cavvy on the New Mexico ranch I was on numbered around 85 head of geldings with some studs thrown in. Catching a horse out of the milling mass every morning could be a challenge if the horse didn’t want caught. I’d gotten my string to where they’d stop and turn toward me without much […]


Testing Lily’s Sweet Nature

August 27, 2022
Jan Swan Wood

The drought that summer had hung on until the dams were getting low. Oddly, there’d been enough rain to keep the grass growing, but there had been no runoff into the dams. I watched the water close where the cows ran on summer pasture. But, when water goes bad it happens fast, so just a […]


Horse Smooches

August 25, 2022
Jan Swan Wood

My grandboys loved the horses and I was getting them horseback every chance I got. Carson, 4, was riding Timmy, who was a fairly recent addition, Welsh size pony. Taygen, 3, was on my pet saddle horse Rush, who was 16 hands. Mostly I was letting Rush keep Taygen occupied and safe while I was […]


First Outside Ride

August 11, 2022
Jan Swan Wood

The first ride on a colt is always a pretty important day. How that goes can set the colt up for his whole saddle horse career. My son Colin was not quite 13 and had started some colts at some clinics I’d invited a respected horseman to put on. He’d learned a lot and had […]


Sorting Cows the Hard Way

August 8, 2022
Jan Swan Wood

It was mid-summer when I got a call to go help a guy sort a bunch of cows and calves that had gotten mixed up at his place. My son was big enough to be good help, so he was included in the daywork agreement. I asked the man, who I’ll call Harvey, what time […]


Sage the Shark

July 30, 2022
Jan Swan Wood

Her name was Sage. A 30 pound dynamo of Australian Shepherd/Border Collie/Kelpie origins, she was a bob tailed, gray murl demon. She was a useful stock dog, nice companion and entertaining in a way I’d never encountered in a stock dog. She was over 30 years ahead of her time in her favorite trick, but […]


The Straw That Broke The Camel’s Back

July 29, 2022
Jan Swan Wood

Almost 40 years ago, I had a gelding called Traveler that I’d ridden for several years. He was tall, narrow, very Thoroughbred looking, and had a lot of staying power but was beyond lazy. He loped easy, trotted okay but couldn’t outwalk a sloth. I peddled him every step we took. I swear, if I’d […]


Wound Care and Fly Sheets

July 28, 2022
Jan Swan Wood

Fly sheets are sure handy when used around the barns and corrals. I found them especially handy when doctoring a body wound on a horse during fly season. Several years ago a stud had gotten to a gelding at my place and had put some horrendous wounds on the upper curve of his hind quarters. […]