Years ago, we started buying hay from a rancher/hay farmer down the mountain from us. Good hay at a good price. After a couple years of this business relationship, we lost our minds and decided in addition to running the lodge, we would run a horseback riding livery and take rides into Rocky Mountain National Park. Our hay supplier had a herd of well trained ranch horses that we could lease for the summer to round out our herd.
The rancher told us his daughter was in charge of "the horse operation", so we would be dealing with her. Sadly, most of the people I had met in the "horse industry" up to this point were, umm, not what I would call horse friendly. In fact a large number of them were what I would call jerks. This gal was a truly pleasant surprise. Quick to smile and laugh. An excellent understanding of horse behavior. Comfortable around livestock. A good horse trainer. And she knows her limitations (there are very few) and will work around them.
For better than 10 years now we have been boarding our horses with her on various leased grazes each winter. It's good for us so we don't have to haul hay in the winter, and GREAT for the mustangs attitude. They get to be "wild horses on open range" for 4 or 5 months each year, and come home ready to work.
She has a very good rapport with her horses and they will come to her when she calls, which is no great surprise as they like her and have known her for years. The shocker was how well Ranger liked her early on. He didn't like strangers. Hell, he didn't much like anybody, including me. He'd just kind of tolorate me. Kind of like now. But he liked the rancher's daughter.
One time they needed to move all of the horses to another pasture, but her dad sent a couple hired hands. They managed to catch the herd EXCEPT for Ranger. He was going to have no-part-of-it-thank-you-very-much. This gal didn't have a halter with her, so she walked up to Ranger, took him by his split mane and led him into the trailer with a "come on, boy". No fuss, no muss.
She is also a very good, if unconventional horsewoman. One day Juanita and I both looked on in mild shock as she jumped on one of her horses to round up some stock in her flip-flops.
Quite possibly the only problem we have ever had with this woman is getting directions from her. As the family has many, many acres of graze leases in many many different locations, and we are never sure where we may be taking our horses for winter graze, this can be... interesting.
B- Juanita, can you call and find out where our daughter's horse Estes, is?
J- Let me get a pencil and paper ready. Okay, I'm going to start from the middle of the page...
Hi Juanita! Estes is on my dad's new property out by the interstate so take the highway up to countyline road and turn left and go up the big hill and down a little bit of a hill and start up another and when you get to the top the road T's but I'm not sure it's marked and go for less than two miles and the road turns and then turns back and if you come in from the other way you do not make the first turn but go straight into the driveway between the house and the barn and if your bringing the two horse trailer it would be easiest to take the driveway through the dummy locked chain and you can turn around a lot of places or you can take the rope down and follow the path to the field that has a large stack of blue irrigation pipes in the corner of the field of dads' property opposite the lake by the road if you came in the from the other way. The horses will be in the pasture behind the hot wire and may be off to the left with the cows or off to the right on the other side of the lake. Now if you come in from the east you will need to take the turn into the drive way after the first turn but turn left into the driveway before the second turn......
Drove straight to it.
Found the mare and loaded her up.
No problems, years of practice.
A bit of bad news from her was that she was going to sell off her herd as the family was no longer going to focus on horses.
I sure hope they change their minds. I'd really miss the ranchers' daughter.
And really, how could you downsize this animal?