Stunning photography, Wyoming native’s book features Haythorn RanchWritten by Jennifer Womack
Casper — “As a western artist and photographer, I will always be moved by the play of light on the gold leaf coat of a dun horse at dawn…by the breathtaking colors splashed through a thunderhead at sundown, and the squeaking leather of a saddle as the jingle horse heads out in the delicate morning light to gather the remuda during branding.” — Lisa Norman in Haythorn Land and Cattle Co., A Horseman’s Heritage
First released in 2007 and re-printed in 2008, Lisa Norman’s book featuring the Haythorn Ranch of Nebraska won the 2008 Regional Gold Medal Independent Publisher Book Award and the 2008 Will Rogers Gold Medallion Award. Nelson, whose maiden name is Mengering, is a native of Buffalo who is now living in Edgemont, S.D.
Norman and her husband, Denley, lived and worked on the Haythorn Ranch for around 15 years. Her book includes over 600 photographs, some historic and others she took during their tenure working on the ranch. Norman was among the tradeshow exhibitors during the recent joint convention of the Wyoming Wool Growers Association and the Wyoming Stock Growers Association.
“…enterprising young men like Harry Haythornwaite saw the advantage of grazing livestock on this vast expanse of grass,” writes Red Steagall in the book’s introduction. “New residents like Harry very shortly found an unlimited supply of water just below the surface of the sand. With the discovery of the Ogallala Aquifer, windmills were set to pumping water, barbed wire was introduced, and the livestock industry became the lifeblood of western Nebraska. When the windmill was introduced, cattle didn’t have to travel long distances to water, and with the invention of barbed wire fencing, a rancher could improve the breeding and beef quality of the Texas longhorn cattle. Later the railroad brought the market to western Nebraska ranchers.”
Steagall continues, “Harry’s name, which has since been shortened to Haythorn, is one to be reckoned with in both the cattle and horse industries. Harry’s son Walter, his grandson Waldo, his great-grandson Craig, his great-granddaughter Sally Ann, and his great, great-grandsons Sage and Cord, have branded and continue to brand the Figure 4 on countless horses and cattle that are recognized throughout the world as animals of quality and breeding.”
Throughout the nearly 170 pages of the book, the story of a ranch that continues to utilize roundup and branding crews, chuckwagons and draft horses, is told in both words and through Norman’s stunning photographs.
“Just as it was 100 years ago,” writes Norman, “the chuckwagon is still ‘home’ for the better part of two weeks while it is pulled out in the hills during branding. The cook is the first one up and the last to bed. He works his magic with cast iron Dutch ovens, a good bed of coals and the ability to gauge the time and temperature without modern conveniences.”
The Haythorn story, beginning with the family patriarch who made it to America as a stowaway on a ship, is both interesting and picturesque. It’s laced with tradition that spans from the Texas Trail to the ranching practices that continue today in the Nebraska Sandhills. Norman’s numerous talents allow the Haythorn’s story to be told through both words and photographs.