A good ranch horse knows when to shift quickly from quiet to fiery.
Knowing when to simmer around cattle and when to make explosive moves is a critical trait for a working ranch horse. Earlier this fall, cowboys on the Muleshoe Ranch in West Texas were sorting yearlings from cow-calf pairs. Whitney Fuston rode into the herd, and her Muleshoe-bred mare eased through quietly so the cattle didn’t scatter. When they finally drove a heifer out, it tried to return to the herd. That’s when the mare crouched low and darted left and right, blocking the yearling’s path with quick moves and deep stops.
The Muleshoe raises 30 to 35 horses each year, keeping some for ranch work and selling the rest to the public.
“I’ve got to sell a pretty gentle horse,” says John Anderson, whose family owns the ranch. “But if a guy wants to have some fire, he’s got to be able to pick that up. These horses will let you go fast or slow.”
On November 8 in Amarillo, Texas, the American Quarter Horse Association will present the Muleshoe Ranch with the Zoetis-AQHA Best Remuda Award. AQHA gives the award each year to working cattle operations that raise and use Quarter Horses for ranch work. Read more about the Muleshoe Ranch in the November 2014 issue of Western Horseman.