Ranch & Rodeo

Reata Brannaman

Sheridan, Wyoming

Meet the youngest instructor in Montana State University history and producer of the Brannaman ProAm Vaquero Roping - Reata Brannaman - a passionate horseman and proven badass. Though she's the daughter of legendary horse trainer, Buck Brannaman, she's managed to make a name for herself all on her own by channeling a love for horses from a young age. While most kids were sitting in sandboxes and playing on swingsets, Reata was in the stables nurturing, training, and learning tips and tricks about each horse. And today, she uses her years of expertise to cowboy and train young horses.
What goes through your head when you first wake up in the morning before you teach a class?
I have a lot of horses. Literally every day I think that I have too many horses.
How do you up your game year after year?
I always keep learning in everything I do, you never know too much about horses and this lifestyle; or anything for that matter. You can always learn something new from every single person you meet.
If you could do anything better, what would it be?
I think I have room to improve in every aspect of life, if you quit improving you quit living.
Who are your heroes? Who do you look up to?
My parents are obviously my heroes for so many reasons. But my grandma Betsy is my all-time hero. Raising 20+ children, some foster and some her own, and being an amazing role model to all her kids and grandkids. I've never been around someone that brings so much life to everyone around them and makes everyone want to be a better person. All I want in life is to be more like Betsy.
What haven't you accomplished that you aspire to do in your lifetime?
There are a lot of things I want to do in my lifetime! I want to be able to raise really nice ranch horses that are versatile in all aspects of the industry. I've got a pretty good start on this with my lineup of mares and studs that we have, but I want to get them in the hands of people that will use them and help them to grow. Depending on the day, I have a lot of different hats to choose from. When you're using your horses for a job, the job is your classroom for the day. I think about how I can educate my horses and get the job done too.
What part of you, or what you do, reflects a spirit of restlessness?
The western lifestyle is something that is so full of adventure every day, I can't imagine living any other way. Whether it's riding on cows, working colts, or branding calves; you never know how your day is going to go and when the end of the day will actually come! Horses are unpredictable, and they add a level of adventure to your life that is really incomparable.
If there is any love-hate relationship with any aspect of what you do, can you describe what that is?
I love being able to help people with their horses and see them succeed, but the hardest part is dealing with the people sometimes, the horses are the easy part.