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With the Owl Creek Mountains in the distance, Austin Goggles gathers the cavvy of 80 solid ranch workhorses. Several will be chosen for that day’s work.

There is a quiet stillness to the lands of the Arapahoe Ranch—lands that are not overused and are spiritually respected for their gifts. The quiet way seems to extend from the earth to the members of the Northern Arapahoe Tribe who tend their 300 horses and many cattle on a sprawling 380,000-acre ranch that reaches into the Wind River Range in central Wyoming.

Early mornings the horses are not wrangled with flying ropes and shouts, but they are gently moved toward corrals as if the rider is one with the horse’s spirit; gentle, coaxing and respectful.

Forrest Whiteman, horse manager, explains the feeling of interaction with horses: “We take the trust of the mare-colt relationship and develop it. We build trust from their trust.”

Watching the Arapahoe cowboys, so much a part of the lands, there is a feeling of an ancient bond or connection, an in-the-moment presence with land and all animals.

Aaron Guffy, Forrest Whiteman and Shawn McWilliams ride through the Red Creek area after checking on a stud bunch. The studs, and stud and mare groups, graze and roam free on areas that can be more than 3,000 acres.
Aaron Guffy leads horses through ranch corrals for the day’s training.
Whenever possible corralled horses are not roped, Arapahoe cowboys prefer to walk up to the horses to prevent the development of resistance.
Northern Arapahoe tribe member and horse manager, Forrest Whiteman, works to train horses every time he is on them or near them; he stresses the importance of petting.

Western Light Photography

Mary Steinbacher, Photographer |

Winter 2003 Contents | Git Home!

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