Stock Dog Training Seminar with Lorne Landry

Students made their way to 105 Mile to visit the Sandhill Lea Ranch, home of Lorne Landry and his amazing stock dogs.  Lorne holds sheep dog trails on his property and he invited students to bring their dogs out to his ranch so they could get a taste of stock dog training.

Lorne's Ranch Sandhill Lea, home to his amazing stock dogs

Lorne produces grass fed beef and lamb and he has working stock dogs to help him out. Lorne’s stock dogs are trained to bring the lambs out to the pasture and to bring them back in. It was truly an amazing sight to see his dogs work. Calmly,with precision the dogs can move the flock one way or another, and go bring them home! Even from a very very far distance Lorne’s dog knew what it was supposed to do and did it effectively.


Working with the instincts of these herding dogs is the key to having a successful working stock dog.  I think we left this stock dog clinic with a whole new appreciation for how a dog can work at a really high level and how this could be such a beneficial relationship and function on a ranching or farming operation.


Students got a chance to bring their dogs in with the sheep to participate, and try it out. Lorne was great. I think we were all a little scared of how the dogs were going to react, but Lorne was a great instructor and within a few minutes we could see what he was trying to get the dog to do and he took control when needed to make sure the sheep were safe and that the dog knew its role. IMG_3249


All in all, a fantastic day with Lorne and students with the Applied Sustainable Ranching program. I know, for me- I want to get all the books he recommended and keep learning more.




Diversification: Raspberry Farm & Apple Orchard – Fraserbench Farms

This week was a busy one as we have entered full swing into the diversification section of our applied skills course in the Applied Sustainable Ranching Program here at Thompson Rivers University in Williams Lake.


For our first diversification seminar we traveled out towards Soda Creek, along the Fraser River in the Cariboo and found ourselves at Fraser Bench Farm and home of Charlie and Lynda Archibald.


Lynda’s place is incredible, and a real testament to the idea of “staying in place” -she’s been on that site for thirty years, and the establishment of her trees, and berry bushes and flowers shows it. Lynda has a successful raspberry enterprise where she grows, picks and sells fresh and frozen berries. She is a great example of diversification as she has several businesses on her farm.

Lynda's on-site farm stand

Lynda has created diversification with her apple orchard with apple sales, juice sales and she creates her own apple cider vinegar product that is in high demand.  She is part of the Cariboo Grower’s co-op and grows onions and early garlic for them to sell in Williams Lake.  Her set-up was simple and showed that with a little creativity setting up an additional enterprise on your ranch or farm could be easily established.

Along the Fraser

We enjoyed Lynda’s farm so much, spending a lot of time learning from her, but also a lot of time sitting on her deck in the warm micro-climate, basking in the sun and flowers.


No wonder she has invested so much of her time in this beautiful place, how could you not?







Ranching Students Visit Historic Gang Ranch for Curt Pate Stockmanship Clinic

At the end of August the trifecta of ranching happened when the Gang Ranch- one of the largest ranches in Canada met Stockman Clinician Curt Pate, and a group of students from the Thompson Rivers University’s newly minted Applied Sustainable Ranching Program.
It was a testament to the program’s commitment to industry partners to have organized this coming together, and a witnessing of industry support in the endeavor to educate up and coming ranchers and their diverse enterprises.
Students prepared ahead of time, packed up horses and tack, loaded their trailers and set off down the road last week, headed for the Gang Ranch. Curt Pate began his formal training 25 years ago, and now passes along his skills and knowledge in stockmanship onto his students through demo’s, clinics and on-site training. Students were lucky to have spent three days on the scenic and historic Gang Ranch for this clinic with him.
Curt believes” If we are managing livestock for environmental sustainability it should be profitable to maintain over long periods of time. Proper placement of the animal as well as timing of grazing is very important for sustainability, as well as being able to manage livestock health and marketing. This requires handling the animals. Handling livestock is a skill, and skills are learned and improved upon.”
These values and beliefs are mirrored in the Applied Sustainable Ranching Program, and students had the opportunity to spend time and learn from Curt about managing livestock and realize how important those livestock handling skills can be.
Student Aaron Herrick, a third generation Rancher from the Pablo Mountain Ranch in the Cariboo shared his learning, “I really enjoyed the experience at Gang Ranch, site seeing around the ranch was great, Larry and Bev were awesome hosts and the Curt Pate clinic was excellent, I learned to apply pressure from the side of cattle, as opposed to the back. The way we handle cattle with less stress will improve gains and generate more profit, as well as make cattle easier to handle.”
Livestock skills are important for places such as the Gang Ranch, primarily a cow/calf operation that covers over a million acres. The history of the Gang Ranch is rich with stories of cowboys, horses, and cattle on this long running operation. Unique to this large area are the canyons, rivers and mountain hillsides that cover large and diverse climactic zones for cattle to graze.
Ranching student Megan Flatt relates her experience, “The Gang Ranch was fantastic… the food, the friendship, the clinic, the hospitality, the laughs and the memories will last a lifetime. When in my life would I ever be able to spend time on a real working ranch of this size? I attended a great clinic to learn horsemanship and stockmanship with Curt Pate, got to hang with Larry, Bev and the Gang Cowboys, and learn new skills… skills that I can use in my own operation. When I left, I was tired, but when I got home, I wanted more.”
Combining together the Gang Ranch, Curt Pate and the students who have been
working hard in the Applied Sustainable Ranching there are some very good teaching moments, to a very receptive audience. Unforgettable moments in a vast landscape. The essence of ranching, and the best in the legacy of cattle culture.