Escape Artists

140416 moorhouse 144Proponents of good stockmanship advise cowboys to handle cattle in a smooth, quiet manner. Good positioning and patience translates to calm cattle and efficient work. However, yearling cattle don't always get the memo. No matter how skilled some crews can be, sometimes the herd chooses not to cooperate. That's what happened here on the Moorhouse Ranch near Benjamin, Texas. It was chilly, and the cattle were acting silly. One disrespectful steer saw a small opening between two cowboys, and in a matter of seconds the entire roundup was spilling left and right. But thanks to agile horses and good teamwork, the crew eventually put the herd back together.

Cowboy Coffee Shop

Whirring espresso machines, chatty baristas and hipster music in the background may be the sounds of most coffee shops today. But on traditional cattle outfits, you're more likely to hear clinking cast iron pots, jingling spurs and a flapping wagon fly. I took this photo several years ago during a branding on the Dixon Creek Division of the Four Sixes Ranch in Texas. I didn't dare ask if there was wi-fi, or if the cookie could swirl whipped cream on top of my beverage. But, believe it or not, I did notice a few similarities between this "cowboy coffee shop" and the java houses in the big city: strong coffee, mood lighting and plenty of desperate, decaffeinated expressions on those still waiting for their first cup.Whirring espresso machines, chatty baristas and hipster music in the background may be the sounds of most coffee shops today. But on traditional cattle outfits, you're more likely to hear clinking cast iron pots, jingling spurs and a flapping wagon fly. I took this photo several years ago during a branding on the Dixon Creek Division of the Four Sixes Ranch in Texas. I didn't dare ask if there was wi-fi, or if the cookie could swirl whipped cream on top of my beverage. But, believe it or not, I did notice a few similarities between this "cowboy coffee shop" and the java houses in the big city: strong coffee, mood lighting and plenty of desperate, decaffeinated expressions on those still waiting for their first cup.

Golden Hour

To this day I have never seen light like this. I was on the CS Ranch in 2007To this day I have never seen light like this. I was on the CS Ranch in 2007, and it had been a frustrating day for a photographer. Many times, despite the best laid plans, the right scenes don't come together. A summer thunderstorm hit late in the afternoon, providing much-needed rain and, surprisingly, giving me some interesting scenes to photograph. Later that evening, while sitting at dinner with the Davis family, the clouds slid to the east, just as the sun was setting. It created a bolt of golden light that made the plains near Cimarron, New Mexico, glow like the landscape of another planet. It was truly a gift from above. In seconds I was out the door, camera in hand and running out to the horse pasture. I guess that explains why these ranch geldings have placed their full attention on the heavy breathing photographer crouching in the grass and mashing his shutter button like a machine gun.

See another image from this day in Cimarron Storm

'Round and 'Round They Go

347bartlettRanch-bred 2-year-olds learn to carry riders on the Bartlett Ranch near Chugwater, Wyoming. For a week in June, young horsemen from across the country work with dozens of geldings owned by Woody Bartlett and Bill Smith of WYO Quarter Horses. The ranch gets many of its future sale horses started, while the riders get to learn important lessons in horsemanship from respected horseman Bill Smith. An article about this colt-starting event appeared in the May 2008 issue of Western Horseman.

 

Misty Morning Gathers

 080402 deseret 228Beau Anastasio gathers cows and calves on the Deseret Ranch in Florida. Even though it was foggy and the grass had bronze coloring, this was shot in April. By 10 a.m. temperatures were in the 90s and cowboys were pouring down with sweat in the humid air. This photo was the opening image for a feature on the Deseret in the June 2008 issue of Western Horseman.

 

 

Modern Marvels

Under the shadow of a wind farm in the Oklahoma Panhandle, Todd Adams doctors a yearling calf on the Hitch Ranch. Despite countless technological advances during the past 20 years, ranchers still rely on savvy cow horses to do their jobs. Here, Adams' horse Brutus keeps the rope taut while the cowboy administers medicine to the yearling.Under the shadow of a wind farm in the Oklahoma Panhandle, Todd Adams doctors a yearling calf on the Hitch Ranch. Despite countless technological advances during the past 20 years, ranchers still rely on savvy cow horses to do their jobs. Here, Adams' horse Brutus keeps the rope taut while the cowboy administers medicine to the sick yearling.