Zapata Ranch Daily Journal

To view entries by location, click on a ranch name: Zapata Ranch // Chico Basin Ranch
July 30, 2014


There is water in places I have never seen before. Micro ponds are popping up all over the prairie. The standing water and rain has been very peaceful and reminds me of the Colorado I knew growing up, where every summer afternoon the clouds would roll in right on time, shoot some lightning, sound some thunder, and leave a dusting of rain.

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July 23, 2014

Where the Buffalo Roam

My job is never boring.  Last Friday night proved that.

After a long Friday I got a call that there was a bison stuck in a lake.  I’ve pulled plenty of cattle out of dried up ponds and even some that fell through the ice, but never a bison out of a dried up lake.

Apparently a young bison cow wandered into a local park.  She knew the way back home and apparently had enough of the park, but unfortunately the way

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July 8, 2014

Grazing Games

Cattle are a tool.  Used properly they are an asset.  Used improperly, they are a liability.  Bottom line is, if you use a screwdriver to hammer nails, it’s not the screwdriver’s fault.

Through proper management, grass that is grazed by cattle and then given adequate rest, sequestrates carbon into the soil by collecting solar energy, growing roots that aerate the soil, trapping water and preventing topsoil runoff.

Left unused it simply seeds out and dies.  Because it’s not grazed there is no

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July 4, 2014

Ding Dong

Zapata seems to be inspiring Romance more than ever! This year we’ve had a number of guests renew their vows amongst the cottonwoods of Zapata often on horseback and toasting with a glass of champagne. This weekend we are going all out with a 3 day wedding! Dooma and Kathia chose Zapata after Dooma had visited on a boys weekend last year. Prep has been happening for months now and finally the big day is just around the corner. These guys all

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June 30, 2014

Kate and Queenie

If you can’t tell, Kate is more than a little enthused. This is her new horse Queenie successfully checking off the “roping” box at the last Zapata branding after weeks of working up to the occasion.

Kate loves working with horses and it looks like the muscular, stout Queenie will be game for life on the Zapata.

Kate’s other horse is a two year old who might end up outsizing Queenie, revealing a trend with Kate’s preference for horses – big and

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June 27, 2014

Coffee Time

I have these two coffee cups.  Maybe I think too much, but every morning they remind me of the choices I make in my life.  Part of our identity is wrapped up in what we do.  Often times this part becomes too large.  We forget that we are human beings and not doings.  And, at least for me, being a cowboy has engrossed too much of my life at times while being a father and husband has taken a backseat.


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June 21, 2014


After seeing countless baby animals each Spring, Tess and I added our own to the mix. Woods Neal Leach.

If he keeps up with his current size he might end up being bigger than Uncle Duke and we’ll surely encourage pinning Uncle D as often as possible.

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June 20, 2014

New to Riding

At Zapata we get to ride with some amazing riders from all over the world, polo players, show jumpers, dressage riders and those that have been in the saddle for a lifetime, we also get brand spanking new riders. Some have maybe been in the saddle once. Ever.These are I think the most rewarding to ride with, slightly nervous, excited and with no clue what they are able to achieve when they first step on. Quite often but under no

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June 19, 2014


Having been on the hunt for a job for over a year, I’ve looked at lots of options.  There’s the work.  I had a good idea of what I wanted.  Then there’s the location.  I couldn’t find a ranch job that offered a beach house with a mountain backdrop, but I did have some reasonable expectations.  Of course, we can’t forget the pay.  I have three kids.  I used to have a neighbor in Kansas that said one day you’ll

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