Family raises herd of 80 horses in Wyoming’s Red Hills

There are about 80 horses grazing on full, green grass with the Red Hills creating a colorful backdrop in Teton County, Wyo.

The sight is the Red Hills Ranch, and manager Brian Cook works to keep the scene and horses in top shape.

“My favorite part of my job is just being able to live here,” Cook said. “It is a beautiful place to live. The Red Hills are right next to us, and on the other side is all trees. We have elk here all winter. Who wouldn’t want to live on a ranch with 80 head of horses?”

But the ranch wasn’t always this scenic. Sen. Herb Kohl, D-Milwaukee, purchased the land more than 40 years ago, when the land it was a 160-acre homestead with just sagebrush for pasture. But Kohl saw potential and had the sagebrush plowed and grass planted in its place. The land was fenced and a lodge house, bunkhouse and cabins were built, along with a pond. Once the land was completed, Kohl started to buy horses.

It’s the horses that brought Cook to the ranch in the first place.

Cook started to work at Red Hills Ranch when he was 14-years-old. Roger and Paula Lasson hired him to train horses and help with irrigation. The Lassons were in charge of the ranch for 35 years before they retired.

“Roger is one of the greatest horseman I know,” Cook said. “I learned a lot from him, and he was a major influence on the training methods we use now.”

The horses Cook raises are able to lead and flagged out by time they’re two and are comfortable around humans.

  A Quarterback’s Portfolio: Where Does Drew Brees Live?

“By the end of the summer, they are so gentle, anyone can do whatever they want with them,” Cook said.

The ranch has a registered black Quarter Horse stallion, Dressed All In Black, who has been on the ranch for 18 years. Dressed All In Black breeds with the 22 mares who make their home on the ranch. Most of the mares are paints, so the colts come in a variety of colors, with about a third of them paints. The mares typically produce about 18 colts a year.

“(Dressed All In Black) is safe to be around, and throws really nice colts,” he said. “Our stallion has really good breeding and bloodlines. The colts are really gentle and easy to train. When people come to look at them, they are amazed at how gentle they are. From a baby on, they will just come right up to you. They have good conformation and a great mind.”

Most of the clients at Red Hills Ranch are either repeat customers or heard about the facility through word-of-mouth. Some of the clients travel from Idaho, Utah, Colorado and Oregon. Some travel longer distances.

“We’ve been here a long time, and people have had such good luck with our horses, they come back,” Cook said. “We have a lot of people ask our customers where they got their horses.”

Some of the horses went on to compete in different competitive horse events. Cook said he will get pictures of horses he sold that compete in traditional and non-traditional events. But the ranch isn’t just for growing horses. Cook said he found the ranch to be a great place to raise his family. He and his wife, Jodi, have five children. All the kids help take care of the horses and Cook’s oldest son, Colten, trains the horses full-time during the summer.

  Ben Roethlisberger vs Drew Brees Stats

Cook said there won’t be many major changes to Red Hills Ranch, but he is on the lookout for a new stallion.

“Our stallion is getting older, so we will be looking for a new Quarter Horse stallion that is a good performance horse,” he said. “We want to find the best one we can.❖