Horseman Greg Gardiner knows that pen work at Gardiner Angus Ranch gives his horses lifelong skills.

Work in the wagon wheel cattle pens at Gardiner Angus Ranch makes a broke horse, says lifelong rancher and horseman Greg Gardiner.

The pens surround the ranch’s breeding center near Ashland, Kansas, where Greg and his brothers, Mark and Garth, and their families raise hundreds of registered Angus bulls every year.

Carrying a rider through several pens to check and sort cows at all hours offers a horse all kinds of lessons through gates, trucks, cattle and tricky footing.

“[Pen work] teaches them, but it doesn’t grind them down into subservience,” Gardiner says. “When you are interested in horses and horsemanship … every day you can work on something.”

The April 2019 issue of Western Horseman explains in-depth how and why it betters a horse’s mental and physical skills.

The Gardiner Angus Ranch has a long legacy of raising homebred ranch horses like Gardiner’s buckskin mare, GAR Rosette. Originally homesteaded by Greg, Mark and Garth’s great-grandparents in 1885, their late father, Henry, shifted the ranch’s focus to raising purebred Angus stock via artificial insemination and embryo transfer.

Despite the destruction the ranch experienced in the March 2017 Starbuck Fire that devastated much of Clark County, Kansas, the Gardiner family’s ranching resilience remains strong.

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