Zach is an itinerant horseman (saddle tramp) who has worked every corner of this country. His life on the road consists of training horses, riding ranges, consulting and building horse properties, horseback guiding professionally in the mountains, and managing stables. The rough and rowdy life of a cowboy led him through an extensive journey full of perspective and the privilege of learning modern horsemanship (natural horsemanship) from the generation that founded the concepts we take for granted. Zach’s methods are steeped in Vaquero horsemanship traditions found in renowned horsemen like Buck Brannaman and his predecessors, Ray hunt and the Dorrance brothers.
In raising all-around ranch and reining horses, Zach has also worked extensively with mustangs and troubled horses. These experiences are where he developed a hybrid style of training, using a scientific approach of positive reinforcement for gentling that incorporates the subtleties of the Vaquero style. It takes him an average of around thirty days to gentle a mustang for adoption. Some of his best reining horses came to him abused and dangerous, but patience and a skilled hand can save a horse’s life. The top horse he ever raised came to him abused and would attack if you came close with something in your hand—vaccinations were quite the experience.
Zach comes from rodeo on his father’s side and cattle ranching on his mother’s side. Needless to say, his knowledge and experience come from sowing blood, sweat, and tears, and feeding the horses while going hungry. Handshakes and simple acknowledgments are the foundation of his life and what carries the reputation and respect of him and his horses. He believes that working with horses is a privilege, something that is earned through the integrity and dedication required of working ranches every day of the year down to the bone.
It is a rarity that one of his horses is even available in the marketplace. His horses are professionals that live the life of a working horse, not the stable horses raised and coddled in arenas. They spend seasons guiding in the mountains: leading dude strings of over twenty people; standing tied with twenty other horses some days for two or three hours; camping for countless nights from high lines or hobbled to graze; being swarmed by people with their hands in their faces, yelling and screaming and waving things around, etc. They spend seasons riding ranges: a lot of alone time, covering country and camping in the wilderness, chasing cows, and riding off poachers. They spend seasons traveling around the country while he consults, exploring endless new places and joining different herds across the country. By the time his horses are four years old, they have grown professionals who have done and experienced more than most horses will in their lives.