When it comes to a cowboy's topper, the moniker “Mad Hatter” refers to more than an eccentric character in Alice in Wonderland. The origin of the term comes from the phrase “as mad as a hatter,” referring to the neurological disorders some old-time hat makers suffered from breathing vapors from the mercury used to cure pelts. Today, most hats are made in factories where machines do much of the manufacturing, but there are still custom hatters who preserve and perpetuate their traditional cowboy craft.
Ask Our Expert - Jon Ensign
Horseman Jon Ensign’s techniques are drawn from Ray Hunt, Martin Black and Buck Brannaman. He uses these techniques to educate in clinics around North America, and to work with horses at his facility in Belgrade, Montana. In the July issue of Western Horseman, Ensign discusses ways to gentle your horse, minimizing injury to both horse and rider. Here, Ensign answers reader-submitted questions on crossing water, riding in spurs and suppleness.
Be a Better Horseman - Mike Major
Mike Major - Ranch-Horse Versatility
Cowboy For Hire
Wanted: Day worker. Long hours, difficult tasks, unpredictable schedules. Pay not always commensurate with experience. Benefits include freedom, family time, opportunity to be horseback. “ I work all over, for whoever needs me. It’s the worst way in the world to make a living, but it’s the best way of life.” —DUB METCALF
Ask Our Expert - Mozaun McKibben
Mozaun McKibben is a New Mexico native who now lives in Whitesboro, Texas. In March, he rode Lil Ruf Catalyst to earn the American Quarter Horse Association’s Versatility Ranch Horse World Championship.
McKibben buys, sells and trains versatility and stock horse prospects. He also has shown in reining, cutting and working cow horse competition. In the June issue of Western Horseman, McKibben talks about why he enjoys stock horse events and how Lil Ruf Catalyst has become a great equine partner.