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A Cowboy’s Best Friend

Cowboys on the Waggoner Ranch work hard, but they’re not the only ones. The cowboys rely on horses to get the job done as they travel across the wild expanses of the ranch. On the Waggoner, a single pasture can span 6,000-10,000 acres (small pens are often 300-400 acres!). The horses and cowboys work hard day in and day out tending to the cattle.

Waggoner Ranch cowboys and their horses

Daley Welch saddles up his horse on the Waggoner Ranch

Bobby Daniel, long time Waggoner Ranch cowboy, riding his horse

There’s no pecking order as the cowboys line up across the horse pen each morning. “It’s like church, sitting in the same pew every Sunday,” explains cowboy John Paul Welch. “Everybody just stands in the same place.” At Wagon Boss Jimbo Glover’s signal, the cowboys call out the name of a horse on their string they want to ride that day. Oftentimes, the horses don’t volunteer; instead, they turn their backs on Jimbo and Straw Boss Ryan Wells, who rope them for the cowboys.

Horses on the Waggoner Ranch have a rich history. Poco Bueno was born on the ranch in 1944, and many of the horses who live there come from his lineage. To see more photos of the incredible Waggoner Ranch horses, follow us on Pinterest.

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