Faith, Family, Cattle – Avery / Graham Ranch
- January 8, 2021
- Tiffany Schwenke
Faith, Family, Cattle is what you will find at the Avery / Graham Ranch near Moorcroft, WY. I recently asked Delcy Graham to tell us a little about her family’s ranch.
“Cowboying has been in our blood for generations, so it only comes naturally that this is what we are still doing to this day. Our great grandparents worked on some well-known ranches around the area which included Kendrick Cattle Company, Morton Ranch (Douglas, WY), Bales Ranch (Sayle, MT), CX Ranch (Decker, MT), King Bales Ranch (Gillette, WY) and Faddis-Kennedy Cattle Co. (Gillette, WY) just to name a few. It does not matter which side of our family you do research on; you can always find cowboy history in our genes.
We currently live on the ranch that our great great grandad purchased in 1938. My family resides here (Marty, Tina, Selby, and myself Delcy Graham) along with my grandparents Matt and Diann Avery. You could say that it is a family operation. In fact, our ranch’s slogan is Faith, Family, Cattle. It really does not get any better than that.
We currently run a cow/calf, yearling/heifer operation and start colts. Every single person contributes to something on the ranch, whether it be cooking for a crew, calving heifers, haying, or anything else that might entail ranch work. The whole family will spend every evening in the summer at the round pen contributing to making great young horses, which is our place we go to get away from all other ranch duties.
Starting colts has come naturally for all of us, considering not only do we come from good cattlemen, but also horsemen too. We have started groups of colts here and there for as long as I can remember, but we really started to push it when my brother and I got a little bit older.
The past few summers, we have started about 4-5 colts. We spend a lot of time on groundwork, but we also believe in covering country and getting miles on the colts. I believe this has really contributed to our well minded, all around horses that we make, which was our goal from the very beginning. We set out to make the all-around horse, whether it be out in the pasture or in the arena. With trying to not spend a lot of time in the arena, we expose our colts to everything outside of the arena, calving/tagging all horseback, rope/drag branding, doctoring cattle horseback, and so much more. We feel this gives them a great base to be able to turn around and make a good arena horse if that is what we choose to do with them. However, the best part is, the whole family each has their own piece that they have put into starting every colt.
By the time we sell our colts, they have already had about 4 different hands on them. We like to give them the best chance to be as versatile as possible. It is a family thing, and it is what makes me crave to be around the horses that much more. Not only do I love to start them, but I love what they teach me in return. That is why I went into the career that I did.
I studied under a very talented, educated lady and started my own business doing equine massage and bodywork. I call my business Hands for Horses and it entails everything from what I have learned about horses from starting colts to Traditional Chinese Medicine. My family likes to call me the horse whisperer, and they joke about it, but in all seriousness, it has made its way back around to helping start some pesky colts. When some of the colts are struggling, sometimes a good bodywork session helps them out physically and mentally. The bodywork can help with physical vises but can also go deeper into internal vises as well. You never know what you will find in a session and you never know what you will run into when starting colts. Both go hand in hand, and it is just a blessing to be able to do what I love, with who I love.
As far as our future plans go, we just want to continue to cowboy, raise good cattle, and make great horses. It is the only way of life that we know, and we want to continue it for several more generations. We take great pride in the work that we do because most people do not get this opportunity or understand this way of life.”
There are still family ranches like the Avery / Graham Ranch out there still starting colts, ranching, and doing it all as a family. No matter the wind or weather, they are out there getting the job done and having fun!
About Tiffany Schwenke
My family has been ranching and raising horses for over 100 years. We raise, train, and market AQHA horses at North Four Mile Creek Horse Ranch. We produce the annual event WYO WILD RIDE RANCH RODEO. I am a wife and a mother to 3 amazing...