A Cut Above

Second chances can be few and far between. But Buck Daniel of Florida's Lake Cattle Company has made a fresh start, breeding top cutting and ranch horses his way.

Buck Daniel has played many roles in his life – son, businessman, manager, land steward and cattleman – to name a few. But of all the hats Daniel's worn, the one that was put on first and still fits best is horseman.

"He just loves horses," says friend and 1976 National Cutting Horse Association world champion Olan Hightower, Chappell Hill, Texas. "It's hard to explain his affinity for horses, but it's natural. He's done other things, but he always comes back to horses."

Born in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Daniel's a fifth-generation horseman and accomplished calf roper.

"My daddy, granddaddy and great-granddaddy were mule, cattle and horse traders," he says.

It was only natural that Daniel and his father take over and operate the family ranch in Okeechobee, Florida. Since then, Daniel's passion for horses and ranching has taken him on a 40-plus year ride, filled with highs and lows, and diverse enterprises.

It's hard to get Daniel, a humble, quiet and collected man, to sing the praises of the horses he's brought into Florida, but beneath his reticent shell is a man who has a clear concept of what he wants in a horse, and where he's headed with his breeding and training program.

After years of experimentation and even getting out of the horse business for a while, Daniel's recently re-entered the industry, breeding cutting, roping, and working ranch and cow horses on his terms, not the standards set by the show pen. Today, at a time when he should be thinking about retirement, Daniel's focused on establishing a horse-breeding program that emphasizes strength, longevity and soundness. As a result, Lake Cattle Company is making a name for itself – one horse at a time – as a producer of some of Florida's most outstanding western performance horses.

Read the complete story in the October issue of Western Horseman.