Black Ranches, Inc. - Quality Versatile Ranch Horses

Where Legendary Bloodlines Wear the Stirrup Brand

  Article by Vince Poppe - Photos by Peg Black
It's a beautiful sunrise with pink and orange hues glinting over the Sandhills in Western Nebraska. The cowboys from Black Ranches and neighbouring ranches have already put a few miles on their horses getting to the cattle to gather for a branding, pre-conditioning, weaning, or pasture rotation. Neighbors helping neighbors is a way of life here with the one constant through the years being - "Good Cowboys riding Good Horses." Being horseback at daylight is how most days in mid-April through mid-June begin. Also during the fall work of September and October. Young horses get exposed to all phases of cattle work throughout the year. "The normal ranch miles, dragging calves to the fire and the pre-work sorting settles the mind of a colt" according to Butch Black.
Ranch History
Located in Lakeside, Nebraska, Black Ranches. Inc. was established in 1900 by Ode Black, Butch's grandfather. Ode brought up his son. Arnold Black, Sr. on the ranch and shared a partnership with him through the early 1950s. Arnold in turn showed Butch the ropes, and Butch assumed the position in the 1980s.
Butch can tell ranch history from Black Ranches inception to the present day operation. It's like opening a book on cattle ranching since the turn of the 20th century. The Sandhills was one of the last "civilized" areas in this country, and its history is always an interesting story. Today the ranch encompasses about 55,000 acres.
There are four properties that make up Black Ranches, Inc. The main headquarters at the Lakeside Ranch, the South Ranch (12 miles south of Lakeside), the Hord Ranch (14 miles southwest of Lakeside) and Black Ranches Feedlot, a bull test/heifer development lot (located in Antioch, 8 miles west of Lakeside).
Ty Sutphen on Derek
Ty Sutphen practicing on "Derek"
A 2003 gelding by Derek Hancock
The Black's run a diverse operation, including 2,000 cows, 2.200 yearlings, and 200 horses. The first Wednesday in April they put on the Black Ranches, Inc., Nine Irons Seedstock Bull Sale. Offering 150-200 bulls, 10-15 well broke horses and open yearling heifers.
On August 22. 2010, in Gordon. Nebraska, the Black's held their inaugural Horse Production Sale. They sold 250 horses, including mares, foals, 30 broke geldings and six studs. The horses sold to several states and the buying crowd was active, from start to finish.
Dusty Trails
Breeding Program
The Black's are going into the 2011 breeding season with a string of 70 highly selected mares. 55 yearlings, 50 two-year-olds and various three to five-year-old horses. The mares possess foundation pedigrees and will be bred for cow work.
Foaling takes place in big pasture country and the foals are truly "ranch raised." The disposition is inherently quiet in their herd. The color is equally impressive, with all the shades of roan, grays, buckskin, blacks, bays, sorrels and palomino. It is quite a sight to drive up, or ride up on a band of these mares and foals in a summer range. They possess good feet, are well-boned and solid structured, with pretty heads and trim necks. In general, the herd is eye catching and well made.
A breeding program is always challenged with improving the next generation over the current one. Butch plans to continually breed cow sense in every mating. Some of these horses will wind up in the arena, but they will all get their start on the ranch.
Peg, Butch's wife, has the job of registrations with the AQHA, an unending task when 200 horses are involved. Like any seedstock outfit, she has developed a data base system to handle the challenges of registering the annual foal crop. She carries a notebook with her including pedigrees, matings, and year brands that allow her to identify quickly out in the pasture. Record keeping is nobody's favorite job, but Peg has designed an accurate system that is efficient at the desk or out in the hills.
Another task that Peg fulfills is photography, taking pictures of horses and bulls for the annual bull sale catalog. The patience required to achieve printable pictures is an acquired skill, developed over several years of work.
A good reputation takes a lifetime to build. Everyone has heard that statement, and knows it to be true. It requires a way of life committed to honesty, integrity and fairness. I think of those qualities when I think of Butch Black. He chose that path for himself and carries it along wherever he goes.

End of the Trail
It's nice to know you can call Butch, ask him about a particular horse, and take that information to the bank, based on Reputation!
Black Ranches has all classes of horses available, year round. Call Butch or Peg for more information on a prospect of interest.
Bull Sale
The Annual Black Ranches, Inc. Nine Irons Seedstock Producers Bull Sale will be held on April 1, 2015. One of the noticeable differences this sale displays is that the bulls arc sorted horseback a few hours prior to the sale. Most of the horses used for pre-sale sorting are lotted in the catalog as sale horses. The majority of the bulls are sold in sire groups from two to six head, and are brought in the large sale ring by the sale horses. The buying crowd has the opportunity to observe the horses working prior to, and during the sale.
The hospitality during this event is second to none, including a steak dinner after the sale concludes. Peg Black is the hostess with numerous friends and neighbors helping out. If you go away hungry it's your own fault.
During the summer of 2009, the Black's remodeled the sale barn, adding a balcony and video deck on the auction side of the building. Peg constructed a false front, town wall facing the registration and meal side of the sale barn. It was built with barn wood recovered from old buildings on the ranch and around the local area. She designed several storefronts with the food serving counter in front of the wall. It is a unique and attractive construction, and a first class sale facility. Everything about sale day at Black's is top notch. The people are friendly, and the auction barn is situated where there isn't a bad seat in the house. The genetics offered are cutting edge, with the bulls and horses in fit working condition.
Mares and Foals Mares and Foals
in Summer Pasture