The mornings for wranglers at the 4UR Ranch are about as adventurous as you can imagine. After a breakfast at the lodge they head down to the barn to prepare for the day ahead of them. The next step is to walk into the near pasture, where several horses have been kept overnight for the bring-in. Wranglers will halter the horses and bring them to the barn’s corral where they will be saddled.
Now most of the herd is placed out in pasture at the end of everyday so they have ample time to graze, drink from the stream and well…be horses. Throughout the season, several pastures will be rotated in and out to ensure that one isn’t overused and balance is maintained. When the wranglers finally reach the pasture and the herd residing in them, the fun begins.
Communication is key for this part of the process as the wranglers ride throughout the pasture gathering the horses. It’s always interesting to see the group dynamics of the herd during this process. Horses are very social creatures so they naturally form bonds with the other members of the herd. Social cliques are common and often entertaining to watch as they are pushed from the pasture to the barn. For example, two horses that are always seen together in pasture are Danny Boy and Quaker, where one goes, the other follows. This can sometimes help with the bring-in as no one wants to be left out from the herd.
Once the horses are back at the barn, they are sorted and saddled for their rides that day, which have been assigned the previous evening. Wranglers review notes and past riding history to determine the best possible horses for each of their riders. Additionally, they sort out rides and group riders based on skill level and fundamentals to keep quality and expectations of rides consistent. Since only select horses are needed for rides that day, the ones that stay at the barn will be looked over and inspected to make sure there’s no ailments or injuries. Furthermore, if it’s a Wednesday, our farrier, Kim Wintz, will check feet and make any adjustments to shoes.
In the evening, after all the rides for the day are done, the wranglers saddle up their horses and push the heard back out to their pasture. From there they will spend the night socializing and horsing around until the next morning. Once the morning arrives, it will all start over again. To get the full picture, take a look at the gallery below!