We are very proud of our four-legged working partners. We maintain a herd of about 40 registered Quarterhorses, Appaloosas, and Paints for our saddle horses and two teams of Belgian, two teams of Percherons and one team of shire-cross for our sleigh and wagon rides. Most of the horses are either born and raised right here on the ranch or born on one of Janice's brothers' ranches. The horses are worked with and handled at an early age to begin adapting them to their future uses. As two-year olds, we begin their official training, getting them used to the saddle and working them in the round pen. They then graduate to the arena, and then to some short trail rides. We use a training system called the "Basic Handle," founded by Monte Forman and Pat Wyse. This system creates a safe, responsive, and sensible horse. Of course, we carefully breed and maintain horses that have a disposition that lends itself to the guest ranch industry.
As three- and four-year-olds, these horses are used as mounts for our trail guides. Then, as five-year-olds, they begin their career as mounts for our guests. We use both mares and geldings and rotate mares in and out as they produce more offspring for our future string. Here is some more information about some of our horses:
J.R. Chicka Do – "J.R." is a Palomino Quarter Horse Gelding born May 12, 1992. J.R. was purchased from Janice's brother, Steve, as a two year old. He had not been on the ranch long before Janice and Roley's daughter, Danielle, laid claim to him as her personal horse. Danielle and J.R. turned out to be an amazing team, teaching each other along the way. Danielle used J.R. in 4-H for 11 years, used him for lessons, and now Danielle's daughter Emily enjoys riding and even showing this big beautiful boy.
Unfortunetly, from time to time we have a sad moment on the ranch and have to say good-buy to one of our special partners.
Will He Cowboy"Willie" is a Paint gelding born at Janice's brother's ranch on 1984. He was purchased by Roley and Janice in 1987 and has been a great addition to the ranch herd ever since. Listen to what Danielle, one of the wranglers, has to say about why Willie is one of her favorite horses: "If I am headed out to move cattle, horses, or people, I can always count on Willie to get the job done right. He has got the speed, power, and agility to chase down a stray cow, but he is laid back and level headed enough to mosey down the trail with a 6 year old on his back."
Little Driftn Peppy – "Peppy" is a Quarter Horse gelding born April 14, 1994. Peppy was previously owned and trained by Larry Smith, who was a great horseman and mentor to many of us here at the ranch. We were so honored to have the opportunity to purchase Peppy and have enjoyed every day we have owned him. He is extremely talented, willing, will go anywhere and do anything you ask of him.
We were sad to see Peppy pass on in the winter of 2012.