Our Black Angus herd is handled gently and humanely by a crew of experienced cowboys on horseback, who provide caring attention to their well-being. By riding through a herd slowly on horseback, a cowboy can spot a sick or injured animal and cut it from the herd for treatment. A horse can go into places to retrieve an animal where a jeep or ATV cannot. The cowboy chores of herding, moving, roping, cutting and calving are done more effectively on horseback. During calving season our cowboys are saddled up and ready to go 24 hours a day.
But there is another, more important reason that we “cowboy” our beef: Because it is slower, quieter and more natural for the animals, it keeps them calm and minimizes their stress. Stress produces adrenalin (epinephrine) in cattle which is absorbed into their muscular tissues. A frequently stressed cow will produce meat that is inferior in taste and tenderness. An important part of a cowboy’s job is to work in a way that keeps the herd quiet, contented, and focused on grazing. Trucks and ATV’s move faster, are noisier, and produce emissions, none of which are good for the herd. No motorized vehicles of any kind are allowed on our ranch. We even use windmills to pump water. It is not the most convenient or economical way to ranch today, but we are convinced that it pays off in the quality of our beef products.
There is no better beef than that which is naturally raised, grass-fed, grass-finished, and 100% cowboyed – Cowboy Beef.
The horses our cowboys ride are one of the last working Old Foundation Quarter Horse herds left in the United States. An Old Foundation Quarter Horse is a real quarter horse descended from the original old bloodlines bred in Virginia in the 1600s. Two hundred years of crossbreeding with Arabians, Barbs and Light Drafts produced a “quarter-type” horse with strong feet and bones, broad chested, strong hind end, 14 to 15 hands tall and weighing about 1200 pounds. They were an ideal multi-purpose horse, good for farming, logging, pulling a buggy or riding. As the eastern settlers move west they brought their horses with them and continued to breed and sell them. This bloodline became the horses ridden by cowboys everywhere, and helped to tame the west.
During the Civil War these quarter horses were highly prized as Cavalry mounts for both Confederate and Union forces and even the Mexican armies. They were valued for their steady performance with cattle and their reliability under stress or fire. These are the same qualities that make them special on our ranch.
Our Old Foundation herd and the cowboys that ride them provide visitors to our ranch a true look into how cattle ranching was done in the past.
Once long ago, this pure and natural lifestyle of the west was the majority. Now it is a rapidly dying minority. We live in a world dominated by processed foods, dyes, additives, and preservatives. A world where new health issues are bombarding our life on a daily basis. Issues that are being brought to light by the most educated professionals on earth. Doctors, scientists, and dietitians are all seeking the answers. The solution will not be derived from a laboratory, book, or study... our destiny will be dictated by a deeper understanding of “we are what we eat.” Our destiny will once again be in the hands of the cowboy.