So there isn’t really a new RanchFit workout fitness craze. But maybe there should be. I started thinking about this recently as a good friend of mine told me about how they spent the summer getting fit by going to a class that met a couple times a week inside a local gym.

She said that the workouts all involve fast paced repetitions of lifting and moving heavy and awkward objects, with the motivational assistance of other members and loud music. I thought at first that it must be a really cool program. Certainly it must be at the least effective as she looked better than I have ever seen her. She seemed to really enjoy it, too. The comradery of being part of a group of people working hard is a great feeling. All that hard work, staying fit, making you strong. It sounded great.

A bicyclist riding on a road surrounded by fields in a rural setting. There is a farm, some hills and the sun shrouded by some clouds in the background


But the more that I thought about it, the more I realized that maybe I already had it better.

In the springtime at Black Mountain Ranch, I seem to spend a great deal of time walking around with a shovel in my hands. Our irrigation ditches were originally dug by the Germans that settled the area. They dug miles of ditch, by hand, to make their homestead improvements to claim the area. To this day, we honor them by maintaining the ditches by hand, with shovels.

Actually, I’m kinda lying. We would absolutely use more machinery on the ditches, if we could only get machinery to them. Many sections are in rough terrain, in places that we can only get to on foot.

So let’s see. Walking a couple miles, up and down hills, in the woods. That sounds like good cardio work. Running a shovel is good strength work for your lower back and triceps.

After that realization, I started to take stock of what I do on a daily basis and looking at it in a fitness sense.

I think that it wouldn’t be a stretch to think of a four hour trail ride as four hours of abs and inner thigh toning and strengthening. Never mind the 70 plus horses we tack and untack everyday.

Two women. One is moving a saddle. The other is preparing two horses to be ridden. It's a mountain setting with pine trees in the background.


Firewood. Holy cow. Go try stacking firewood for a couple hours and tell me what muscles you haven’t been working out. Your back, your biceps, your abs, your hands… Everything will be… fitter… afterwards.

We currently have at least 10 miles of jack leg fences at Black Mountain Ranch. Well, at least it feels like 10 miles worth.

Rain Apparent in the sky above Black Mountain Ranch. A pen of horses is in the center of the picture. A larger building with stairs is on the left of the picture.


For those of you not familiar with our jack leg fences, we actually do build them all by hand out of 16 foot pine poles. For those of you not familiar with 16 foot, six inch diameter pine poles, they are heavy. Each section of fence has four of these poles. The top one sits at about five feet up, sometimes higher. We have to lift each one into place by hand.

I really don’t want to know the cumulative weight of all the horse poo I shovel all summer. A cowboy moving a wheelbarrow full of horse waste.

No wonder I can eat like all our great food all summer and not gain a pound.

Join RanchFit now! Eat all you want and still lose weight!

A plate full of BBQ, beans, macaroni and cheese, potato salad and a muffin


Enjoy life in the great outdoors in a supportive group setting attaining the fitness you always wanted!

Jimmy taking a break on a porch after a long day working. He's holding Betty White, the dog.



  1. Kate

    It’s much easier to motivate to “work out” when you’re in an awesome outdoor setting. There’s a sense of accomplishment with the work as well. Whether it’s building a fence or building trail by hand in the Rocky Mountains day after day, your workout also has a reward as well as a product you can enjoy. I’ll take my mountains and rivers any day over a concrete jungle gym. That’s an awesome picture of Betty, too!

  2. Andrew Hyde

    Love that last photo with Betty White and you!

  3. Katie

    <3 Betty White!

  4. Claudette Comstock Jones

    Now this sounds like a plan! If you love your job, you’ll never “work” a day! Horses, beautiful outdoor surroundings, horses, good food, and did I mention horses? Love it!

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