Broken Horn Ranch Ministries

In Phoenix this week helping set up for “Art of the Cowgirl “.  Woke up, got coffee and went to reading emails, and the first read was a real nice surprise.

I really get a lot of inspiration from reading Marty’s writing, but to be in one of his writings is a real honor, and to have my name in the same paragraph as Jesus doesn’t happen very often.

I hope Marty keeps writing and I hope you will subscribe and start reading.  It’s a good way to start your day.

I get to start a colt this week at Art of Cowgirl. I will try to keep it cowboy simple, and thanks to Marty’s inspiration keep my spiritual life simple.

Daily Reading-1-22-20–Whispering

The first time I met Curt Pate, he was putting on a colt starting clinic in Casper, Wyoming. My dad had known him for several years, so he and I had a lot to talk about when we met. I truly enjoyed visiting with him, and watching his colt starting demonstration was great, as well. The thing I like about Curt is that he doesn’t get too showy. It’s not a circus act with him, maybe to a fault. I mean there are some of those clinicians who put on a pretty good show, and they develop quite a following because of it. Not Curt. He just starts a colt or works cattle and talks to the crowd while he’s doing it. It’s pure, and it’s simple. No witch doctoring here.

As he put a start on that colt in Casper, I was impressed. He just did it like I’ve seen a million guys do it, but he seemed to really be paying attention to the horse. It wasn’t like he was going from step A to step B to step C; he was moving with the horse. When the horse was ready to move, he moved. If the horse wasn’t ready to move yet, or he just wasn’t yielding the way Curt thought he should, he stayed right there until the horse was ready. There was no watch involved, but there also wasn’t a real formula involved, just a simple rule to make the right things easy and the wrong things hard and get that horse to feeling which was which.

When he got done, Mandi and I were standing visiting with some friends, and we overheard a few old boys saying, “Well, that wasn’t anything special. That’s just the way my grandpa done it.” No kidding. And that’s really exactly what Curt was saying. He was just sticking to the basics of horsemanship. There was nothing magical about it. No whispering, except what he tried to say under his breath (which is hard to do when you’re wearing a microphone). He simply put a nice little start on a nice little colt and did it as basic as a guy can. These guys were looking for some “Horse Whisperer” who was going to teach them to speak “Equus”. I think they were hoping for some pyro to kick the show off as well as some sort of timed colt breaking event. They went to the wrong show. Curt’s just pure cowboy, pure horseman, and I think he kind of likes it that way. He’s there for the horse.

Lots of times, we try to find some magical formula that will bring us closer to God. We try to find “The Secret,” and we search high and low for that path that will make us better Christians. I’ve listened to c.d.’s on prayer where the speakers talk about “mechanisms” in prayer. I’ve prayed with people who use all kinds of flowery language. I’ve talked to people who just wanted to feel something more during a church service. I’ve known people who were appalled that a church had chairs instead of pews.

The thing is that Jesus doesn’t want things that complicated. Sit on a pew, or sit on a rock; I don’t care. What are you talking about? Mechanisms. He even tells us to bag the fancy language when we pray. When the teacher of the law quizzed him on the greatest commandment, Jesus didn’t get all theological. He didn’t dig into any dogma or doctrine. He simplified it. “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12: 30-31). That’s about as simple as it gets. What about the Ten Commandments? They’re covered in these two. I like it. If we are doing something, as long as it is helping us love God with all we are, or it’s helping us love our neighbor as we love ourselves, we’re on the right track. One time, my doctor told me after I blew my knee out, “If it hurts, don’t do it. If it doesn’t hurt, you’re probably okay.” I like simplicity. So does Curt Pate. And so does Jesus.

God Bless,

Marty and Mandi Campbell

P.O. Box 112*Pendleton, OR 97801*541-278-2301



Flying home from Denver where I presented a couple of horse demonstrations at the Western and English Sales Association (WESA) Denver Market.  I had presented there many years ago and it was fun to go back and see lots of old friends in the industry and meet some new.

I am wearing the same style Wrangler jeans and white shirt and a vest and a neck scarf that I was 15 years ago.  I can’t remember if I was wearing a Greeley hat then, but I sure am now.  I would imagine I’ll be wearin the same style 15 years from now Lord willing and if the creeks don’t rise!

I flew in Saturday afternoon and met my good young friend Nate Bowers at the National Western Ranch rodeo.  Had a great time visiting with Nate and his friends and the ranch rodeo was ok.  It would have been much better if they would have had bronc riding.  I’m not sure you should be allowed to call anything a rodeo that doesn’t have bucking horses, it’s kind of like fake meat.

I haven’t been on a work trip for quite a while, but had booked this a year ago.  I got an upgrade on my rental car and got a Chevy Camaro, (nobody I new even saw me drive it, but I sure was cool),had a suite motel room and got upgraded to first class on my flight so it was good traveling weather.

Nate brought me a horse in to use for my demos.  It was a 30 foot round pen with rubber mats and shavings so there was not a lot to do.  The horse was really nice and made for a good demo.

When it was all done Nate couldn’t stand it.  He got on his horse and rode through part of the trade show!  No one got upset that I saw and I think he got a picture with Dale Brisby   When he got back he said if he hadn’t done it he would have regretted it the rest of his life.  That’s a good way to “live” life.


I met Nate many years ago in Madison, Wisconsin at the Midwest horse fair.  He was driving six bicycles in front of a golf cart at full speed.  He was a real character then and hasn’t changed much.

I got to be good friends with his Dad Steve and liked and respected him as much as anyone I have met in the horse world.  He passed away unexpectedly and I really miss him and his calm way.

Nate is married now and his wife Amy is a real good horsewoman and has  beautiful posture on a horse.  Nate is making a go of it and is quite the businessman.

I really have had a horse resurgence this past year. After so many years focusing on the beef side of things it’s been fun having all the horses at the 63 ranch to deal with, and seeing lots of old friends in Denver bought back lots of good horse fair and colt starting demo memories.

I’ll get to share some more coming up in a couple weeks.  The second  annual Tammy Pates “Art of the Cowgirl” is happening and I get to auction art and horses(without pay of course).  There is some great gear and art and some real nice horses so I am looking forward to working with Daughter Mesa and friends Gord Collier and Dean Fish to get em sold to the highest bidder.

I am really looking forward to a colt starting demo that Son Rial and I will be doing with Wife Tammy helping us horseback in the ring.  Rial and I have lots of fun starting colts together and don’t really worry bout things getting a little western, so I would be surprised if the crowd won’t see a little Pate family drama  and Tammy leaving the pen and commenting from the outside!  It should be fun, entertaining and I hope good for the colts and those watching.

Yep, I sure do like horses, horse people and the lifestyle it has created for us. When you add cattle and dogs and good friends, life don’t get no better than that.

Real Christmas

It’s been a very different year for me.  Instead of constant travel and interacting with lots of humans and animals in a manufactured world, I have been spending my time with my animals and pretty much by myself put on the land in my work.

While I miss all the interaction with the great people and the livestock business, I have gotten to really appreciate the taking care of the land, restoring a great ranch, and getting to work with animals for more than a day at a time.

As I rode up mission creek, then trotted up a big grassy draw, and moved my horse herd up to some better grass, and they went out of site over the top and when I topped out they were running and bucking down the steep hill and I got this view.

As I sat looking over this wonderful sight, and thought of what this was.
  Since Jesus birth or Christmas,  this land and animals has pretty much stayed the same.  I’ll bet mission creek was running and there were some deer or some sort of wildlife.  We’ve added domestic animals but they have been here for a long time.  It’s a beautiful thing.

As I look down on Livingston,  it’s a great town, but hasn’t been there to long compared to everything else.  Down there there is lots of Christmas going on, like people buying gifts and getting ready for the big celebration for Christmas.

I hope you get some time to really appreciate what it’s all about to you.  This modern world has a way of drawing us in to what seems so important, and as they say “movement creates movement” and if you aren’t careful you’ll be having a run away.

Good health is the most important thing in our life.  Tammy and I have always believed that, and now we know it.

I have always wanted to be around and take care of animals at Christmas.  I think you will get great satisfaction out of a little special care of your animals at this time of year.  If you think about it it’s the one thing we have in common with the folks that were around when Jesus was born.

They didn’t have laptops and cell phones or cars, but they had animals and land, and I feel those that understand how to care for them will always be closer to God.

Merry Christmas


Got one response from my last scoop loop on try and one discussion with my friend Bill Dale. It’s interesting what creates discussion. What I feel is very important is not necessarily important to others. That’s the great thing about working with animals, it’s a very personal thing.

Marie’s question was how to put life back in a horse properly. I feel it’s very important how you go about it, and it is really how you keep life in any horse, you just have to really focus on it with one that the life has been taken out of.

You can create life with lots of pressure, but that can create fear or bad habits or make it even harder to get life because they become dull to more pressure.

I really think it comes down to how we ride, and the amount of life and try we have in ourselves. It seems like when you are riding with a crew, the boss is always out in front. He has purpose and focus on where he (or she) is headed and that life comes up through the horse being ridden.

I have noticed when I am riding a horse he has lots of life and I am at the front of the bunch riding out if I’m in charge. Someone else can switch horses with me another day and I’m in the lead again. That suggests to me it’s our riding that creates life.

The first thing is how we set a horse. I ride pretty long stirrups to get more life out of my horse. With my feet under me I feel like I actually draw the horse forward with my seat. When you have short stirrups you sit heavy on a horses hind quarters and he has to pick you and his back up. By getting close to the withers with your saddle fit and rigging position and rolling up on your thighs you are much more athletic and so is your horse.

When you put the first ride on a sensitive colt all you have to do is roll your seat bones forward and many times it will cause them to go upward in a transition and to slow em down just get heavy by rolling your seat bones back. This is how you create life without using your legs to much. Save them for more important things. The life in your body should create the life in there body.

The other thing I think is important is understanding the mind and how it works. It’s easy to create forward movement by alternating sides of the body which alternates sides of brain. When you apply pressure on both sides at once it draws the mind to the pressure to figure out which respond too. With one side then the other the mind goes forward away from the pressure with a better attitude and a quicker decision. The release is more pure as it is the only pressure the mind is dealing with. I really feel this is important to try and understand.

To help understand let’s set this up in our mind. You are riding a horse in a fifty foot round pen. You are trying to go from a trot to a lope. If you are traveling to the right the horses body is shaped to go with the bend of the round pen and his mind is on that which is everything shaping up to go right. If you ask on the left side you are taking the mind off the forward to the right and putting the mind on the left which makes a smooth transition very difficult and requiring more pressure and more decision for the horse, so we create confusion, fear and getting used to and accepting more pressure.

If we simply move our hand on the right hip of the horse or ask with a little tap of something on the right side of the horse when his body is shaped up to make the transition, it usually happens very smoothly. If you ask on the left it often creates a different reaction and the transaction is not as pure and smooth.

Try it out. Understand how to figure out what side of the horse to ask when you are not in the round pen. If you are out in a pasture or pen try asking on the side your horse is thinking on.

The next thing I have learned to be careful with. I have made a lot of people upset and angry with my thoughts on “overbending “ a horse. Like I said In the last scoop loop, lots of people can’t ride a lot of try and life in their horse so they need to take it out, and I feel bending the horse to much or at the wrong time will take the life out quicker than anything. If that’s what you need to survive and get your goals with your horsemanship than you should do it. The thing we are talking about here is putting or keeping life in the horse, and if you bend them at the wrong time or to much you will not get that done.

I have started to find a lot of value in bending my horses with there feet still. You don’t unbalance the horse on his feet or take the life out, but still get the benefit of the softening and responsiveness bending gives you.

So I get a real dull horse that is healthy and sound. When I get on I am not focused on anything else except life in the feet. I move forward in my seat, roll off the “W’s” on my wranglers and sort of bicycle my legs slightly. If the horse goes I’ll try to ride in time and draw those hind feet forward under me. You can lengthen the stride by six inches just by the way you ride. If he doesn’t respond, depending where his mind is(which side he is focusing on) I will take my machate lead on the left or the tail my rope on the right and spank him down the leg with the pressure or just a little more than I think he needs to create life, and when I get it I make sure I am ahead of it so we match up an I get with him to encourage more.

If you are behind the action you will have defeated the purpose and make it even more difficult the next time.

I hope this helps get you to thinking about life. It’s what we admire in a horse, but also fear. You have got to be honest with yourself to know how much life you can handle.

The thing that is so important in all animal handling is controlling and creating the proper amount of life in the animal. My goal is having a horse that responds with the right life when I ask for it, but being able to calm that life down and relax when I want. It is really important for the work I want to do with my horse not to be late with the go, and not to be late with the whoa!

If I’m roping a step forward or a step back can set up a shot that means catching or not, and a half second can make a big difference. If I’m pulling and animal in a feedlot and my horse is late with moving a foot forward or back, it can create a bunch of wight loss in the pen chasing cattle around.

It’s important stuff to understand, and I think that the ranch based horsemanship pioneers (Ray Hunt and the Dorrance’s) were trying to get this across to us.

The farther we get away from real livestock jobs with our horses the less we have focused on it.

This is why I keep studying this type of horsemanship as it fits what I want to do. I can learn lots from watching the competition horse world, and am entertained by the clinicians on RFD tv, but unless I change it to fit me and my job, it might be creating more problems than solutions.

Wife Tammy and I were riding and doing a few jobs the other day. I was riding a young horse that Daughter Mesa gave me. I give Tammy a bad time for always taking pictures and not riding, but I’m sure glad she did as she got some pictures that really help explain what I’m trying to say

This photo shows lots of forward. I’m sitting so I’m not hindering my horses hind legs coming forward and he and I as well as my dog Taco are all focused on forward movement.

Moving a herd of horses is a great way to really get a horse moving forward. I love jingling horses on a young horse. If you want to feel what strait and lively feels like try it!

Here my horses attention (and Taco and Possum) is on something else. I like to draw the attention back to me with my reins, set the body up to ask what ever front foot I want to leave and then ask with my body.

My colt (I call him “Cord” as he came from Cord McCoy) is focused on the draft horse coming up behind him on the left. You can see I am looking at the horses to the right and want to go to them. I need to change my horses mind to where I want to go before I ask.(remember the round pen)

Here we are moving on and everyone is strait with body’s and mind and it’s “on to

the next one”. Pow pow

Here I got lucky. I was petting and praising Silver for not going after a bunch of deer, and Possum came up and licked my horse on the nose. That could have created more life than I was ready to ride in that position.

This is exactly how I want my horse when I quit riding. I sent my dogs to get the cattle and Cord just stood there relaxed, but square on all four feet In case we need to move. The cattle learn that they can relax with me and my relaxed horse and the dogs should take the pressure off the cattle. Should is the key word with dogs that really want to work and have lots of try.

Even on the ground you should be thinking about the life in your horse. Prepare his feet and ask the one you want to move first to go through the open gate.

Here’s a picture of the picture taker. We had a good day. We had gone for doctors appointment and blood work in the morning and her numbers were all back to normal. The doctor declared her in remission! You can’t take the try out of her.

Not a bad place to enjoy an afternoon after a great morning. Good horses, dogs, companions and maybe the prettiest place on earth. A great day to celebrate try!


Just finished watching the Professional Bull Riders (PBR) world finals. It was so good. Bull riding is using athletic ability with the mind to overcome the speed and power of a bull that can hurt or kill you intentionally or unintentionally.

To be world class you must be in shape, healthy and overcome the fear of death or injury. To be a world champion you need all of that plus try. Lots of it. Jess Lockwood is the champ, beating two guys with lots of try José Víetor Leme and Chase Outlaw.

The top 35 bull riders are all in shape and very athletic. There are no old out of shape guys. Age starts to factor in around 30 due to injury’s and loss of athletic ability. I am not sure if we will ever see a woman in the top 35 in the PBR.

I think a lot about try. I admire try in humans and animals. It’s hard to respect someone without much try, and for me It’s important to preserve the try or create the right amount of try in the living things I am around.

Looking at the horse world, my style of horsemanship doesn’t fit most riders today. I was raised in an environment where you rode. We rode a lot and a lot of different horses. I never new much about training so I just rode what I had and rode the try.

When I started riding bucking horses and bulls I really learned to respect the try in an animal. To have an animal give it’s all to try to throw you off gives you a real respect for the spirit in a horse or bull.

My Uncle Wilson was a real good rodeo cowboy. He rode all three rough stock events, bull dogged and could fight bulls as good as anyone. He had more try than anyone I have known. He was such a good influence when I was with him when I was learning. He even had “try” stamped on the swells of his bronc saddle.

I was very fortunate to get to try to gather two different bunches of farrow wild horses quite a few years ago. I admired the try and spirit and smarts of those horses. I also learned to appreciate the try in my riding horses to get me where I needed to be when I needed to be there.

I had a guy named Alfred Rice that worked for me when I was doing lots of horse clinics. He saw all the horses I rode and he pointed out to me one day that every horse I owned would try to buck you off if things went wrong. I thought about it and most of the horses I had were something no one else wanted to ride, and I admired that life and try, and I could handle it if they did buck.

Having the ability and the try to ride a horse when it gets athletic allows you to keep your horse athletic. If you don’t have that ability you either better not get on, or you better take the try out of the horse.

If you were upset above about my statement of no women in the PBR, I thought I would let it fester a bit and then explain. Animals don’t discriminate. They don’t care if you are man or woman, black or white, fat or skinny, they are going to do what they do and if you can’t ride it you better stay off. That’s just fact.

The ironic thing is if you can’t ride a horse through some tough stuff you will never learn how to keep him from that spot, so you must take lots of the try out of him to survive. That’s just the way it is.

We breed horses for athletic ability and looks. We feed horses for athletic ability. We sell horses for their athletic ability. Then we try to figure out how to ride all this athletic ability and try that’s under us. We have to control the try.

When I got exposed to the “horse fair” world I was in shock and awe. The things the “experts “ were selling and things the people were buying seemed crazy to me. If you had lots of carisma and salesmanship and you made people feel like you had the answer to their problems, you could tell them and sell them anything. It reminded me of TV preachers.

I tried to stay true to keeping the try in the horse yet keep people safe and having fun. I never sold one piece of equipment and never had a booth to try to sell something to someone.

To be honest I just didn’t fit. The horse clinician today is about taking enough try out of the horse to get inexperienced and/or non athletic people safe and having fun. Some do it very well and are really helping people and horses to get along alright.

When a horse displays the most athletic ability and try they are strait in the spine. They can run the fastest and buck the hardest when they are strait, so if a horse wants to buck or run off and you can’t ride, you better get the spine bent. When you bend the horse you control the try. It’s the only chance you have if you are riding the physical part of the horse.

The trouble is so many people take the life and try out of the horse by overdoing the bending. Then the wonderful animal under them has come down to their level instead of the human rising up to the animals level.

What I have always thought was best is controlling the mind. If I can keep the athletic try in there but control the mind of the horse that would be best. If It doesn’t work I feel like I can ride the horse through it because of my athletic ability to ride a horse, just like the bull riders have the athletic ability to ride a bull. If you don’t have that ability it doesn’t work for you, so you better try something else.

My horse Jaxson has lots of try. I have gotten his mind under control (most of the time) without taking the life out of him. He is a pain to ride with other people as he walks with so much life. I have noticed the horses I ride walk lots faster than most folks horses. I ride them with lots of life so they have lots of life. Having lots of try in a horse makes riding more challenging by keeping the life in and also controlling it. Not everyone wants to ride that way. A horse with lots of try is lots of work, but to me it’s worth it.

When I ride some of the dude horses or horses in a feedlot it takes lots of effort to get them and keep them going. I would much rather hold one back leaving the barn in the morning than kick one all day!

Try comes in lots of different ways. I was mentioning the try of bull riders. Well I have someone in my life that has more try than you can imagine. When wife Tammy was diagnosed with cancer, we were just like those folks at the horse fairs I used to see.

We had no idea what we were supposed to do to get this bronc rode. I’ll guarantee there was no quit or loss of try. When the doctors tried to sell her on the latest gimmick to slow it down a bit, just like the magic halter and stick at the horse fair, she got to the real horsemanship to ride this pony, and took a deep seat and a tight rein and is on one heck of a bronc ride.

I’ve seen her go through about as much as you could and never loosing her try.

She’s had to make decisions and listen to doctors tell her things, and she never loses her try and proves them wrong. She is getting stronger every day because of her try.

Just like Jaxson, sometimes all Tammy’s try has been a challenge, but what a great thing it is when you need it.

Try is so important. Try to keep it in what is important to you.