Ralph Galeano is a columnist and novelist. His monthly column, Picket Line, is featured in national livestock and agricultural publications. He has written three novels and hundreds of articles and columns about horses, cattle and the West.
He has been featured in Western Horseman, The American Hereford Journal, Rocky Mountain Game & Fish, Performance Horse and many other publications. He is a member of Montana Author’s Coalition, Wyoming Writers, Inc. and his published works about horses and the West have qualified him for acceptance in the Western Writers of America, a national organization of professional writers devoted to the literature of the American West. Ralph is the recipient of the Milestone Award, presented to him by Wyoming Writers Inc. He has won numerous championships in national cow horse competitions on horses he has bred and trained.
His novels, articles and columns about horses come from hands-on experience and the passion of a true horseman that reflects over fifty years of working and training western horses.
Hobbles are a good tool for horsemen. If you train your horse to respect them, you will save yourself a lot of trouble and always have a way to keep your horse in a confined area. It pays dividends when you want your horse to graze in a small area or don’t have anything to tie him to when you have to dismount and leave him for a while.
When you ride through a gate, stop on the other side and wait for the rider who offered to work the gate. Wait until he re-mounts. He’ll appreciate it and his horse won’t give him any trouble if all the other ponies are sitting on the other side waiting for him. Cowboy etiquette for going through gates with other riders.
On the morning of April 1st, 1882, the Circle Dot herd started up the long trail from south Texas to the Blackfoot Agency in Montana. Andy Adams was a young man on that long ago trail drive. His story of the early day cattle drive relates the hardships and dangers endured by the cowboys.
Complacency can get you in trouble but respect goes a long way to keep you out of trouble. Keep your eyes peeled and don’t let your guard down when you’re working with cattle. Yes, Cattle. Even those gentle old cows that you've worked for years can sometimes have a bad day and throw you a curve.
Bummer is the ideal calf to have on your place. He doesn’t eat or drink and just hangs out until you have work for him to do. He was named after a bum calf we raised years ago. This new Bummer is a mechanical contraption that runs back and forth on a wire and trains colts.
Where else can you work from before daylight to after dark, sleep on the ground in good weather or bad and feast on Dutch oven cooking if you’re on the range? These are men and women who are proud of who they are and what they do. Worn leather chaps and custom made boots are a mark of honor. Some wear chaps handed down from generation to generation.
You have to be able to catch your loose horse and mount him whether you were bucked off or simply dismounted. Getting on is never more important than when you’re alone. Spend time making your horse stand still when you want to mount. It will pay off when you’re alone and need to depend on him to get home. Here's how.
I never knew a horse that liked saddles until I introduced one to Shadow, a young, solid black filly. She was two and it was time to start her career. Bad things happen when you rush things starting colts.
Hackamore horsemen have been around a long time. The Spanish Vaqueros were using them to train colts 400 years ago. Working a branding near Baird, Texas, I watched young horses in manila hackamores being schooled to work cattle. It puts a soft handle on young horses. Here's a look at how to start a youngster in a rope hackamore.
Horses perform great feats on the ranch and arena. I've wondered what form of communication the rider conveyed to summon that wonderful performance. The more I thought of the great rides I’ve had the pleasure to witness, I began to realize that many of those rides were made by Women.
The term Californios is an honored name given to the best of the early Vaquero horsemen who first brought Longhorn cattle from Mexico to California in the 18th century. The Vaquero style of horsemanship has influenced natural training methods for centuries. The Vaquero history has a special meaning to horsemen. It was the beginning of the working cowboys in North America.
Gates have made fools of all of us. I've smashed fingers, lost blood and even my horse while trying to open or close ranch gates. They test your skill, patience and strength trying to open or close them. Problem gates always show up when you have an audience, a nervous horse or runaway stock.
Horses are critters that like consistency. They understand easier if you do the same thing each time. They need a recognizable signal to carry out your orders the way you want them to. Train your horse to move all parts of their body with consistent cues that tell them exactly what you want.
Will James and Will Rogers put their mark on the West and forever inscribed the lore of riding, roping and rodeo in the hearts of people everywhere. They left us a legacy of the cowboy way and their teachings revolved around the same main ingredient–horses.
Why are some animals better keepers than others. They can live on half the rations and maintain themselves in better shape with less sickness and have more resistance to bugs, ticks, worms and mosquitoes. Some horses have less injury and hardly ever come home with wire cuts, bumps, bruises or packing a leg. What's the reason?
Sometimes it’s the little things that keep you out of trouble. Trouble can come from a lot of different places but the worst kind comes when you least expect it. Experience is the best teacher and these little things will give you a heads up to prevent injury and unexpected wrecks.
A colts first day of training is probably the most important day of his life. Starting colts takes as much time thinking about it as it does doing it. Here is a good primer on starting them the right way. First encounters leave a lasting impression so make it a good one. When you leave the pen it should always be as two friends finishing up a good day’s work. Learn the right way to start colts.
How sensitive is your horse? They can feel a fly land on them so what do they think when you are aggressive with your spurs or reins. Learn how to cue your horse in a soft manner and you'll be surprised how well your horse responds with the lighter touch. That little fly can teach us a lot about a horse.
Here's the low down on remote cow camps. All about the riders that live in the camps, their work, play and how they live in the solitude of the range. They've got to have a myriad of skills not required of people working near the home ranch. Wrangler, farrier, doctor skills for horses, people and cows, cook, fencers and builders they must be. No electricity or telephones on the range and
Steamboat is a Cowboy Chatter article about a famous bucking horse that became a legend in the West. Steamboat was voted The Worst Bucking Horse of the year during the Pendelton Rodeo in 1906 and 1907. He was called “Old Outlaw Horse” and “the worst to come off the range in many a year” by newspaper writers of that same era. This is the story of Steamboat's life.
Wild horses and Badlands in the Northern Rockies intertwine in a classic adventure of a young woman on the trail of stolen mares. Warned not to ride into the Devil’s Maze, she enters the Badlands and becomes hopelessly lost. She is attacked by a wild stallion and falls into a gorge with no way out. A story of survival and the bond that develops between the young woman and an injured wild stallion.
The challenge of the rodeo arena drives Ann Olsen in her quest for a barrel racing championship. Struggling to compete against powerful contenders in a fast paced event, Ann faces insurmountable obstacles as she desperately rides for her future. A Valiant woman, courageous horses, cunning horse thieves and a handsome bronc rider intertwine in this epic novel of horses.