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Just finished a great Horsemanship/Stockmanship/ Godmanship book titled “The Hands Of Cantu”.  It was about a young man seeking horsemanship skills in the 1500s. Spaniards in Mexico dealing with stolen horses and living God and Horsemanship.  Great book.


The brand was the cross enflanked I.( +I+) and they would ride to their death for it if needed.  Ride for the brand is a great tradition and a great way to think.

We are at the “Home Ranch” this week and I’ve been coming here for a long time and watched how the managers got the employees to “Ride for the Brand”.  The three I have worked for have had different styles but were good at getting the most out people to ride for the Home Ranch brand.


When I was doing lots of horse clinics and demos I was on the Purina team and the name of the program was” Ride With The Brand”.  For some legal reason they couldn’t call it Ride for the brand, but I was proud to ride for the outfit as they treated us right and had a good research backed product, and the boss men Darrell Burnett and David Nelson were more than fair, so it made it easy to want to do your best for them.


I’ve worked on several ranches and some you really wanted to ride for the brand.  The Iverson’s (-FL)in Townsend, Montana were our first full time ranch job.  I would do about anything for Boyd.  They really took care of us and appreciated our work.

Some of the other places were good but the management was such that you new you were an employee and they could not see all the extra you did to take care of “their” livestock.

On some of the bigger ranches I have been on if the management doesn’t connect properly with the crew you don’t get the “ride with the brand” mentality.  I think this is one of the most important skills of a good manager or owner.  So much of this lifestyle is pride of work and care of the animals.  If you know your boss appreciates and respects what you do you will go the extra mile.

I have been working for the National Cattleman’s Beef Association as what I call a “day worker”.  I have been doing demos on cattlehandling for them by myself and first with Todd MacCartney, then Ron Gill and Dean Fish.  I think we make a good team and all ride for the “BQA” brand of the NCBA.  Lots of good people at NCBA as well as State BQA people have made this organization great to work for.  I don’t get into political stuff in the industry, but I do believe in education and doing the right thing and that’s why we Ride for the Brand  by day working for this good outfit.


Riding for the Brand is very important to me.  My Dad always told me-to be paid more, do more than your paid for.  When you do this and work for good people(like I have) the “sell/buy” works for everyone.

I have been through some very interesting situations this year.  I have found out it is very difficult to come onto a place and take over where someone has been riding for the brand for many years.  It is a tough transition for people to make, especially when they really don’t want it, but are forced into it.  I was in the middle of it twice.  No fun.

The first time with the added pressure of Wife Tammy’s challenges and the ranch challenges it was not worth it to me, so we agreed with the boss to not continue.  I think it worked out good for everyone.  The ranch didn’t have a brand yet.

We went to work for the Levy Family on the “63” ranch.  It has been a working ranch/dude ranch since 1929.  The sixty three brand  was established in 1863 and it’s the reason the ranch is named so.  They got the brand with the purchase of the ranch.

We got in the middle again and there were some hard feelings.  I didn’t do anything wrong and happened to be filling up with fuel and I heard the previous manager bad mouthing me to someone.  I think his emotions got ahold of him and he acted in a way he would not normally act.  He apologized and I accept it.

The thing that was so good that came out of it was to see how the new ranch owners reacted.  They didn’t stick up for themselves, they stuck up for me.  They backed me 100 percent and proved that I had been doing the right thing for the guy all along.

They had me riding for the brand when they hired me, but now they have proven to me we are in this together.  They take the high ground and don’t talk behind people’s back and do negative things.  We are all going to help make the sixty three the best it can be and take it into the future with respect to the past and all create high quality outcomes.  We are exited.


[I’ve ridden for lots of brands in my Greeley Hatworks hat, and I think the “63” is a good one to ride for!]

If you have people you work with or have people working for you I think it is so important to get the “Ride for the Brand” mentality going.   It’s a great tradition.

Beautiful Morning

I have been starting every morning jingling in my horse herd and I can’t tell you how much I enjoy starting my day in a long trot.


Today was extra special as I had some extra help that sure added to the beauty of the Montana morning.

If you were wondering how Tammy is doing, I’d say she is doing real good.  She is getting stronger and more confident every day.  Thanks again for all the wonderful thoughts and prayers!



I’m reading a new book that is available on Marketing with Bud Williams.


The main concept is sell-buy rather than buy-sell.  The focus is on trading livestock, but it has got me thinking about everything on a sell/buy mindset.

My grandfather was a real sharp trader and many of the things I heard from him growing up, this book says it in a similar way.

The two main things were never to run out of feed or money and you make your money on the buy, not the sell.  They both said once you bought something the price didn’t matter any more as you couldn’t change it so forget it.  When you want to sell, what you paid for something no longer matters as you can’t change it.  Also when making a deal, everyone needs to benefit.  That is so important to remember, especially to establish a reputation as someone good to do business with.  My grandfather was great at it.

The thing Bud Williams has done is to use math and current prices to figure if something is a good buy or sell.  If you are in the business long enough I’m sure you start to understand, but using math and prices rather than guesses and desires is a much better way to be successful.  It is especially good if most other people buy on emotion.  It gives you an unfair advantage.  We can’t predict the future, so only base decisions on what you know, not on what you hope will happen.

Wife Tammy’s “Art Of The Cowgirl” had a horsemanship clinic with Lee Smith.

It was the first clinic I have rode in as a student for a long time.  I really enjoyed it and it really got me working on some things I might have been missing.  Lee and her Husband Mark are real good folks and have a real nice style of presenting things.

At the clinic I started thinking sell/buy.  The folks that attended sold money to buy Lee’s time and experience.  After three days of the clinic they should have more skill, so when they get home and “sell” time to work on their horsemanship it should be more valuable as they have more skill. (The buy)

At the clinic there were some folks that had just purchased a ranch in Livingston,  Montana and we got to know the family better.  We went up to the ranch for a couple days and we all decided to work together on the new undertaking.  We have a new job!  We sold our time and knowledge for a job and quality of life we seek.  They are so much fun and it is such a beautiful ranch that I feel we made a “good trade”.

As some of you know I wear a  Greeley Hat Works cowboy hat.  I have for several years.  Trent makes me a great deal on my hats and I try promote it to as many people as I can.  I told him in one of our many airport run ins last year that I thought I was getting the better of the deal.  He said it must be a good deal as he felt like he was getting the best deal.  Another example of sell/buy with everyone feeling good about the trade.


Tammy and I felt like we had one of the best weeks of our life last week. Her clinic was great, thanks to lots of good people selling time and energy and others buying the program.

Next we made the good trade on the job that we both are very comfortable with.  We will be close to Bozeman and doctors and get to live in one of the most beautiful places we’ve seen with real good people that we fit with.

But the most amazing part of the week is her progress with her cancer.  We had done a sell/buy trade with her kidneys by putting the nefrostomy tubes in to get her kidneys to functioning. She sold the freedom of normal to having bags to buy health and life.  When she had to make the decision one doctor said she may never get rid of them.  That was hard to take.  Tammy has no backup in her so she did it, but she didn’t take that sell.  She never doubted that she would get them out.

The other thing Tammy did was to decide not to take one of the cancer treatments doctors prescribed.  She instead made the sell/buy with the doctor to do his protocol and an treatment of animal wormer that lots of people are having success with.



Well last week her numbers were so good that they took the tubes out as her kidneys are functioning normally.  The doctors don’t know why,  but things are working and getting back to normal.  I can see she is getting stronger and feeling better.  We’ve got our old Tammy back.  It is so great!

So many of you have been offering thoughts and prayers.  We believe that is such a big part of it.  THANK YOU!!!

I am really looking at life much different now than I ever have.  I try to think of the sell/buy concept in everything I do.  Time and quality of life are our most important commodities.  Make sure when you sell time you make a “good trade” on quality of life.

No Normal Life

I need to do a little follow up from the “Badger Hole”.

First of all thank you to everyone who sends kind words, thoughts and prayers.

It was so comforting to both of us to have so many nice responses.

I’m not sure why I felt the need to write about it, just felt the need to get it off my chest and from all the great responses from true friends I’m glad I did as it really inspired us.

We have been vacationing at the Bozeman Deaconess  hospital since Saturday night.  Tammy got a couple of infections so we are taking care of that.

I am in awe of how great the people that work in the health care industry are.  We have been dealing with them so much in the last two months and it is just amazing what these dedicated people do.

I have been watching and learning to try to see how I can make myself better on the livestock side of healthcare and improve my BQA skills.

I watched an ultrasound of Tammy’s heart yesterday.  It was a moment of awe at the miracle of our body and how it all functions. You should take better care of your body (as should I).

Tammy has a great young doctor in Bozeman that was recommended by her brother-in-law Pete Petersen.  We had a visit yesterday and told him about using the livestock wormer.  He was a little set back at first but then because of Tammy’s enthusiasm he got interested.  She sent him some info.

It is so hard to know what to do.  Tammy is very good at researching and making decisions, and not just taking the easy way and doing what everyone else does.

She is using the parts of modern medicine that she feels will help, naturalistic things to support her body and immune system and livestock wormer.

Talk about “Art Of The Cowgirl “, that’s pretty ranchy  if you ask me.

The challenge has been her kidney function.  As soon as we can get those suckers back to normal, then our life will get back on track and we can have a fair fight.

So, I did not write for sympathy or asking for anything, just wanted to get it off my chest and let people know.  We had know idea of the response and the offering of prayer and support we would receive.  Amazing.

It’s fun to see how much Tammy means to folks.  I used to do Women’s Ranch Horse Clinics at the Home Ranch, a guest ranch in Colorado.  I made the decision to focus more on the beef production side of stockmanship so Tammy took over doing clinics at the Home Ranch.

When I was doing clinics women would cry sometimes in the middle of the clinic because they were frustrated.  Women cried at the end of Tammy’s clinics because it was over and they didn’t want it to end.  There was crying at both, just a little different types.

I feel I’ve been more of an animal person, but Tammy is both, but mostly a people person.  It is really evident that people really care about her just as she really cares about people.

You should see how she is in the resort(hospital)She is always saying she’s sorry to the nurses and doesn’t want to bother anyone.  No matter how much they poke and  prod her she stays positive.  I was  amazed how tough she was when she was having our children and I am amazed at how she is handling this.

So again thank you for your thoughts and prayers.

This is a site about Stockmanship and not about our personal life.  I am not going to make this a place to talk about this.  I just wanted you to know and to share how important it is to think and plan  ahead whether you are trotting through the tall grass or living life.  You can’t always see the badger holes but you can be prepared just in case.

Tammy brought this quote to my attention on our way home from Seattle.  It fits our situation


Many years ago I was long trotting in real tall grass.  Some cattle I was taking care of had gotten into a pasture they were not supposed to be in (CRP for those of you that know that program)and I was going to them.

All of a sudden my horses front end disappeared.  I kicked out of my stirrups, lifted my reins and leaned back.  As my horse continued to “endo”, my position in my saddle sent me forward and I lit on my feet out of my horses way and holding my rein.

My horse had stuck both front feet in a badger hole and went over.  He wasn’t hurt and either was I.  I just stepped back on and went and got my cattle.  This was back in the day of no cell phones.  We were on a pretty big place and no one knew where I was, and if I had been hurt they would of had a hard time finding me.

A fellow by the name of Greg Elio had told me several months before how you should react if your horse endos.  He said you needed to prepare for it in your mind so when it happened you would react as you have no time to decide what to do.

I had prepared myself mentally and had the physical ability to do it.  When it happened it was just like time slowed down and I was aware of everything that was happening and did the right thing instead of panicking and not following my plan of action.

Fast forward fifteen years or so and I was in a whole different world.  I was still horseback, but instead of big country with cattle, horses and dogs I was surrounded by asphalt and concrete and lots of interesting people.  I was in North Carolina and really enjoyed visiting with a real successful guy that liked the cowboy world.  Gary had lost a son in a car accident not to long before.  He told me that something in the future would completely change my life, and I should prepare myself for it.

Well, that change has come.  Beautiful wife Tammy has some health challenges.  We were trotting along in the perfect tall grass in life and all of a sudden we hit a badger hole.

We never dreamed this would happen to “us”.  It hit us hard but without really knowing it we were prepared.  We have been married for more than thirty years and it seemed through all the ups and downs we were in a perfect married state of mind to ride through the wreck together.

We have both been very concerned about our health and have tried to take care of our body’s in a way that we could enjoy our lifestyle as long as possible.

Tammy is very strong mentally and physically.

We have really tried to not have debt on things that don’t add to our future financial security.  We are not rich, but we don’t have to worry about making payments.  If we had a lot of em it would really make our life much more stressful right now.

We both have strong faith.  We go about it a little different ways from ourselves and other people, but we believe.

We hardly ever follow the crowd.  We try to do things that we feel best fit us.  Tammy will not do things because everyone else is or someone says we should.

She figure things out and does it her own way.  Doctors beware!

Tammy has a way of making people feel good.  I have seen her lifting folks up and making them feel good about life for the last thirty years.  From Peruvian sheep herders missing their families to wealthy folks that have everything, Tammy has a special way of bringing folks to a better place in their life.

She has created such a strong support base for us. You can’t believe how many people are praying for her.  I’ve seen grown men cry when they found out, and people offering whatever they have to help us.  You can’t imagine how good and confident this makes us feel.

As I look back we have always been in a long trot, sometimes at a lope, and have been on a dead runaway at times.  We’ve covered more country than we could have ever imagined, stumbled a few times but have never stepped into a badger hole.

Because we are prepared we can lean back and ride through the wreck and we believe we will come out the other side on our feet with our reins in our hands.



To tell a little more of the story cancer is the badger hole.  Tammy has been researching lots of ways to go about this.  From her research she feels the best chance at the quality of life is not conventional way of chemotherapy, as the doctors have told us that with this cancer there is no cure, you just slow it down.

The interesting thing is that the animal pharmaceutical company’s that have provided much of our living for so many years seem to have the cure for her .

Fenbendazole  (animal wormer)seems to be working with great success at curing and stopping cancer.

We are so thankful for the great care she has gotten from modern medicine,

and I believe everyone is doing the best they can, but sometimes you have to step up and go for it, and I’m so proud of and in awe of Tammy’s ability to go through this with so much courage and try.

Two Tim’s and Two Harwoods

I have written before about Agape Boarding school and the great people that help young boys with a little trouble through the horse and God.

When I was there last year I spent a lot of time learning from and being inspired by a cowboy in the truest form from a skill standpoint, try standpoint and a spiritual standpoint.

Tim Mulloy has some rare disease that is taking parts of his body.  He had one leg missing when I was there last year and was still getting horseback and working and getting lots done.  I just found out they have to take his other leg.

They are doing a fundraiser for Tim and this saddle is being donated.

I have more to add to this story.

Several years ago I was at an event where there lots of saddle makers and artists.  If you know anything about western saddle makers in the west Dale en he Harwood is one very well known and respected saddlemaker.  I couldn’t afford one of his saddles and didn’t want to wait the 6 years on the waiting list, but I always wanted one.  Dale and his wife Karen were at the deal and when I got introduced I told Dale how good it was to meet him.  He said he new me when I was a little kid.

My grandfather worked at a big feedlot in Roberts, Idaho and when he went to town he would stop and visit Dale at the saddle shop.  I remember going in there and hanging out, but I didn’t realize it was his “Trails End” saddle shop.

That brought back memories and made me want a “Harwood” even more.

As the story continues I was doing clinics in the Kansas City area and I met a fellow by the name of Tim Trabon.  We hit it off for some reason, and I tell you he truly was the most interesting man I have ever met.(and I have met a lot of interesting men)

Through the years when I would go to the area I would ride his horses and use his gear.  He was a great collector of good gear and had the best.  He new the story and my desire to have a Harwood and always wanted me to ride a wonderful full carved slick fork that fit me just right, when I was there.  He would just leave the stirrups long and not ride it so I could use it the next time.

We had so much fun and I really enjoyed spending time with Tim and his wife Patty and their boys.  They were people that had done very well in life and really lived.

Tim got cancer, spent lots of months in Houston fighting it and getting the most out of life even then.  He wrote me this note one day.



I’m getting real tired of storing that Harwood saddle of yours in my tack room
Takes up space and I feel the need to clean it up.
I thought you were more of a responsible guy.
When I get home in February, I’m gonna ship it to you.
Tired of looking at it




  I told him no, that I would come ride with him when he got home and we would discuss it.  He agreed and I was so much looking forward to riding with my real good friend.

I can’t tell you how many acts of kindness I’ve seen from Tim, but how much crap and guff he could give to his friends.  He was the best storyteller I’ve ever heard (and I’ve heard some good storytellers.)

My friend Tim died.  It really never hit me until I went to visit the family long after his death.  To go his home and family and him not there it really hit me.  I was very sad.  The reason I was there is his wife Patty had read the email that Tim had sent giving me the saddle and she wanted me to have it.

So I now have a full carved Harwood that means so much to me.  Every time I put it on a horse, I have a piece of my memory of my childhood with my grandfather, know I am riding a saddle by a real legendary craftsman that has been an inspiration to lots of folks I know that build saddles, and when I pull up my cinch it always brings me back to a “Tim” story and sometimes I look at the spur tracks he left in the seat. Tim had more buck off story’s than anyone I know,(and I’ve herd a lot of buck off story’s)or think of his hunting bear with a black powder rifle, or how much he loved his family and life and the pride he had in both.  My friend is with me every time I throw my leg over that saddle.

So that’s the start to my saddle stories.  I was going to go about it a little differently than I did, but when the Harwood for Tim’s benefit came up it got my emotions going.  If you need a good saddle that will only gain in value while you ride a great one, check out the benefit for Tim Mulloy.

Contact Riley Olson by email.  Here’s his email.  I’m sure you can find him on Facebook as well.





4Suns Ranch

The King of Hearts Ranch that was purchased and I went to work on is now named “4 Suns Ranch” spelled Suns but in honor of the owners four sons.


I think the name is perfect and “fits” the beauty of the country the ranch is in.


I have been horseback a lot.  I feel the best way to learn the land and really see things and learn is from the back of a horse.  You can see out and around as well as down at the grass and the ground.  You go slow enough to see everything and you don’t have be as in tune as with a vehicle, the horse sees the holes and sagebrush, and pick the trail.

The Zupan’s that have the cattle on the place are calving, and I help tag calves when I can.  Weston, one of the Zupan’s 4 Sons (fits the new name)works on a neighbor ranch is who I help tag with and he is real helpful on telling me things about the ranch, hunting and anything I ask, so I think it’s time well spent.  I enjoy working with all the Zupan’s.

It’s been a long time since I have tagged calves and covered lots of country horseback.  I really feel like the knowledge I have accumulated about animal behavior and stockmanship has really helped me set up the catching of these calves in a real positive and safe way.

Most of the calves are pretty young and easy to catch, but a few are a little older and want to go.  Today I had two that I was able to get them to stop and actually come toward me a step or two to get a nice standing shot.

I used the drive, draw and maintain pressure to stop the cow/calf then draw the calf and hook him on and get a nice easy safe shot.  It is so rewarding to use stockmanship skills and get the same satisfaction as a hunter or fisherman, only with stockmanship you are improving life rather than taking it. (So you can take it later)

It’s good sized pastures, lots of trotting and covering some country.  The three horses I am riding are really benefiting from the work and getting much better.

The last couple of days we have had a late spring storm and it’s been cold and snowy.  The ground is slick and it is cold riding but I still think it’s worth it and refuse to do my cattle work on the new side  by side, as my horses eat hay anyway and they only get better when you ride them, and if you find a problem with the machine you probably have to get a horse to solve it anyway.

Two things that I use everyday is my “Greeley” (my cowboy hat) and a saddle.

It’s pretty windy country and it is so good to have a hat that fits good enough to not worry about them blowing of your head.

I wear my older used Greeley’s.  I’ve had them a long time and they are well used but still look “ranchy” and are in good shape and fit good enough to stay on my head.  I don’t leave home without one.


I am going to write a little about my saddles and horses I’ve been riding in the next few weeks.  I think it will provoke some thought and give some insights in saddles and horsemanship.

Son Rial is in Wisconsin with the Sackett’s doing a horse clinic and starting some colts.  In true Rial style I have not heard from him or how it’s going, but I bet he’s making it just fine, and doing good for horses and people.


Wife Tammy is in Oklahoma with Daughter Mesa, who had a horse fall with and broke her ankle.  A word of advice, don’t cowboy outside with sliders on your horse, stay in the arena.

So it’s me and my dogs and horses at the 4Suns Ranch.  The cook is not to good so I’m losing weight, and their is not much else to do so I’m getting lots of work and exploring done, and enjoying the heck out of life.