Ranch Life Articles

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 […]


The Kicking Contest

March 24, 2022
Jan Swan Wood

The spring of 1981 I was working for and living with an elderly couple in the middle of nowhere, calving a big bunch of heifers and mother cows. They couldn’t do the outside work anymore, but had a neighbor who managed the place for them. He lived miles away and had thoughtfully brought all of […]


Bravery Is Overrated

March 21, 2022
Jan Swan Wood

I used to day work for many ranchers when I wasn’t too busy at home. Doing that led to many interesting experiences. Some that required quite a bit of bravery. A registered Angus breeder hired me to come and help them fertility test all of their bulls. We had finished up testing about 70 sale […]


How to Pick a Horse of a Lifetime

March 16, 2022
Jan Swan Wood

This is an old family story about how my Dad chose the horse that became his “horse of a lifetime”. It occurred the year before I was born, but I know it by heart because of Dad telling it over the years. When my folks were still in the family partnership, my Grandad had a […]


Saddle Horse Ladder

February 28, 2022
Jan Swan Wood

Where I grew up, my family’s ranch was side by side with my Dad’s brother Keith’s ranch. They were separate ranches, but we neighbored back and forth, especially as the kids grew up, left home, and the work force on each place got smaller. When I was in high school, my Dad loaned me to […]


Rock Solid Horse vs Crazy Heifer

February 22, 2022
Jan Swan Wood

The folks I was running some share cows for had gone to a registered sale back in feedlot country and brought home some corn fed, bedded in good hay, bred heifers. Bad enough that they were pampered and unfit to live in the ranch environment they were brought to, but they were also bred to […]


Aging In Dog Years

February 14, 2022
Jan Swan Wood

My right knee just isn’t what it was when originally issued. It’s had plenty of wear and tear over the years as most knees have. But, some incidents come to mind that really put the kibosh on the overall knee function and longevity. One particular one involved a crowding pen and an unaggressive cow. Fall […]


The Disposition Line of Horses

February 7, 2022
Jan Swan Wood

My Lily mare who was my top horse for nearly 20 years, was an outstanding individual as a saddle horse, had speed galore (came off the track), stayed broke, had lots of eye appeal and all that good stuff. But, for me, her best characteristic was her sweet and people loving disposition. She also loved […]


Saddle Horse Daycare

December 20, 2021
Jan Swan Wood

Raising kids on a ranch is, to me, the perfect environment. They learn so much about the lifestyle, the facts of life, responsibility, and reality. I’m sure glad I got to raise my son the way I did. I worked outside always and as soon as he was big enough to go in a backpack […]


Puckered Up Learning

December 9, 2021
Jan Swan Wood

Returning from a fairly short day of riding, I had time to go catch a fresh horse that had been turned out to heal up from an injury. This was a mare I’d raised, started and ridden a lot and she was about a five year old. It was time to return her to the […]