Ranch Remuda Legacies

A tribute to the American Quarter Horse legacy.

When Bob Denhardt, in the 1930s, saw the need to track the pedigrees of a group of horses that were being referred to as Quarter Horses, he went first to the ranches. That's where the good horses were. The result was the formation, in 1940, of the American Quarter Horse Association. Recognizing the importance of the ranches to the Association yet today, AQHA and corporate partner Bayer Animal Health came up with the Best Remuda Award. They wanted to honor the ranches for their horses. Fifteen ranches have been honored since the award's inception in 1992.

What is a Ranch Remuda?

A ranch remuda is defined as "the herd of horses from which those to be used for the day are chosen." The ranches that have received the Best Remuda Award exhibit quality in their remudas. Without exception, the Best Remuda ranches agree that they could not do their work without their horses, and a lot of planning goes into the breeding and training of the mounts in their remudas. Best Remuda ranches are well known for the cow horses they have produced and are still producing. Some of them say that they are able to keep good cowboys because of the quality of their horses.

Get an inside look at the Best Remudas. Join Jim Jennings as he captures the stories and traditions of ranch life in many parts of the North American continent in his book, "Best Remudas." Ride with Jim across the sandhills of Nebraska, the sagebrush sea of Nevada and the plains of West Texas.

Inside Ranch Life

An excerpt from "Best Remudas," depicting the Babbitt Ranch, by Jim Jennings Finished with breakfast, Vic Howell skillfully balances his coffee cup on his plate as he steps from the main room of the bunkhouse into the kitchen. Going to the big sink, he holds his plate and coffee cup under running water until all the remnants of egg and bacon are washed away. One by one, each of the other cowboys files into the kitchen and does the same. Janet, the cook, will wash all the dishes later, but this little bit of courtesy makes her job easier. The screen door of the bunkhouse then slams as Vic steps into the cool morning air, and it slams again and again as the others follow. Their boots crunch on the gravel parking lot, and the occasional ring of a spur rowel echoes softly between the buildings. It's a few minutes before 6 a.m. - not dark, but not yet daylight either - the moon still hangs over the hills to the west. But it's light enough to see the horses standing in the corrals, and the cowboys walk toward them, bridles in hand. Mounts for the day were roped out of the remuda yesterday afternoon, and the horses selected stand waiting to go to work.

Read more of Jim Jennings' incredible stories of Best Remuda tradition and lifestyle. Order your copy of "Best Remudas," available through Quarter Horse Outfitters. You'll get an in-depth look at all 15 ranches honored as of 2007, with touching stories and unbeatable photography.