She’s already the National High School Rodeo Association’s student president and a champion competitor, but this summer Raley Mae Radomske will take on a new set of challenges—college, developing a career and reluctantly parting with the horse that helped fuel her success.

Seven years ago, a horse-crazy kid and a reject cutter joined forces. Then-11-year-old Raley Mae Radomske wanted a horse she could spend every waking moment with, and then-5-year-old Venture On Me, also known as “Harry,” needed someone with a lot of free time. Together, they’ve ridden seemingly a million miles on the Radomske family’s Venture Farms and Caribou Creek Ranch in Ellensburg, Washington.

Two months from now, the pair will make what could be their last ride together, at the National High School Finals Rodeo in Farmington, New Mexico. Raley Mae will try to become just the second cowgirl to win three NHSFR girls’ cutting titles.


ImageFirearms engraving has been around for hundreds of years, but acclaimed engraver Ernie Marsh helped popularize the smoky finish on bits and spurs.

as a bit and spur maker is mechanical by nature, but the craftsman thinks more like an artist than a machinist. His creative expression starts in his imagination and is unleashed when he picks up his hammer and chisel.

Each time the craftsman engraves a new pattern or attempts to resolve a problem with an existing design, he grabs a pencil and sketches scrolls on anything in front of him. Unlike a fine artist who has a large, blank canvas on which to create, Marsh’s challenge as an engraver is to find ways to fill odd-shaped spaces with fluid, attractive patterns. Scrollwork is one of the most graceful, ornate elements Marsh has found to fill space, and they provide limitless design possibilities.

Marsh’s uncontrollable urge to use scrollwork started more than 20 years ago, when he first discovered its decorative value in firearms engraving.


ImageClinician • Haines, Oregon

Posture in the saddle—something many of us ‘Western types’ seem to shy away from discussing, leaving that stuffy image to the “Dressage types.” The bottom line is that a pretty picture on a horse is a pretty picture, and costume has very little to do with creation of that beautiful image. Posture and attitude go hand-in-hand. The combination of the two is what creates willing communication between horse and rider.” 


In this exclusive online article, Dan Byrd shares his warm-up routine to prepare your mounted-shooting horse for a stage.


Between shooting events, Dan spends a lot of time keeping his horses legged up on the track or trail.

Mounted shooting can be hard on a horse. The intense sport demands tight turns, boomerang-style direction and lead changes, and nothing short of a flight to the finish line. Because of this, mounted shooting horses need a fair share of athleticism, agility and heart. Just like any athlete, your horse needs a complete warm up before shooting a stage not only to stretch his muscles, but also to focus his attention on you and get him in a competitive frame of mind.

Top mounted-shooting horse trainer and competitor Dan Byrd of Cave Creek, Arizona, stresses the importance of a proper warm up.

“Mounted shooting is just as mentally and physically demanding as barrel racing, roping, polo or any other sport,” he says. “You can’t expect your horse to go in the arena and perform if he hasn’t been prepared with a solid warm-up routine.”

About 30 minutes before shooting, Byrd warms up his horse using a variety of horsemanship maneuvers that supple the horse’s body and prepares him for the high-speed challenge ahead.



ImageThe Absaroka Mountain Range fills the Big Sky horizon as horseman Farrell Lloyd and a friend make their way through the Montana backcountry, just outside of Livingston. The small town in the southwestern part of the state is home to nearly 10,000 people and an excellent staging area for some of the state’s best riding opportunities. 


ImageUSDA’s efforts to implement a national animal identification system have been met with confusion and outrage. With so many forms of identification already in use, horse owners question the reasons behind yet another government program.

Bruce Knight, a soft-spoken Clark Kent lookalike, finds himself in an unenviable position. As the U.S. Department of Agriculture undersecretary for marketing and regulatory programs, he should be considered Superman, overseeing a process for the livestock industry that would save it from sure devastation should disease, occurring naturally or introduced through bio-terrorism, strike the nation. But instead he is, to a growing number of livestock owners, the Joker.