About Painted River Ranch

So much of one’s horsemanship and life journey is woven with the mentors and influencers who helped you become who you are.

Whether your influences are 2 or 4 legged, makes no difference. Success is measured by the drive, determination, thought and patience you put into your achieving your goals. It is not money or material things. Success is often achieved without even realizing you’ve gotten there.

The great thing about a horsemanship journey is that you never quit learning and setting goals. You never make destination. 

Once a goal is achieved, you up the stakes and make new ones. You never really recognize what you’ve learned or accomplished until a time comes in your life (and believe me, we all have “times”) where you have to reach in that tool kit and hope like hell you’ve acquired the right tools to face the task. It isn’t until you make it out to the other side, do you realize your success.

Horses have always been the largest influencers of my life. They do not judge or criticize, but I haven’t found one yet that hasn’t taken the time to point out my weaknesses or flaws in my abilities or character.  I have no choice, but to improve myself.  It is my job as a responsible breeder to educate them to fulfill a lifetime career for a new loving owner.

The greatest gift you can give a horse you’ve bred, is to give them a solid foundation under saddle that will last them a lifetime. It is their training that guarantees a quality of life. 

Laura Martin
Laura Martin

A Little Bit About My Sidekick Ralph

A smart ol cowgirl knows and appreciates the value of a good ranch hand. Ralph is all that and then some. He knows when to pick me up and brush me off and send me back on my way. He is there to encourage and support me and knows exactly when I need a hug or a tear wiped. I could not have found a kinder, gentler soul than Ralph. I call him my gift from heaven and know that someone up there heard my prayers.

Ralph has a surplus of tools in his kit he has to reach for on the ranch. He is a welder, a photographer and a master baker – his cinnamon buns are what stole my heart. 

He didn’t have much experience with horses, but he was willing to learn and caught on quick. The horses took a liking to him right away and I valued their opinion. If anyone could give you a reading on a humans nature, it would be a horse. He signed up for riding lessons and was star student. Graduating quickly from saddling and bridling to helping pony colts out and being my ground person for my first rides. 

Ralph loves being a rancher, when he’s not welding some new contraption, he’s building something with wood. He does all the field work and keeps Painted River Ranch in tip top shape.  He has become a perfectionist at stacking square and round bales, and I learn how to stay out of his way.  Nothing is done “half-assed” and it needs to be done right the first time. 


Most of all, Laura knows she could not do what she loves doing without Ralph’s support and understanding. She is sure grateful he is a part of her life. 

PRR A Fancy Pistol (aka: Raina)

How My Horsemanship Journey Began

PRR A Fancy Pistol (aka: Raina)
I was lucky as a kid to grow up on a farm with herds of livestock.  You did not think it at the time when all your friends were able to party in town, but it had special advantages.  Dad bought auction mart salvages and I fought many a pony battle before learning a better way. Neither of my parents were horse enthusiasts, but supported my interests. A 4-H leader (Bev Hood) prompted dad to find safer horses. And so my horsemanship journey began.

At the age of 12, I went to a 5 day colt starting clinic in Montana. I didn’t realize how signficant this experience would be as a horse trainer.

I had literally rubbed elbows with the likes of Tom Dorrance, Richard Shrake and yes, even Buck Branham was a classmate!
It was expected (regardless of age or gender) to be able to ride my unhandled horse in 5 days. It was long days, with the steepest learning curve I had experienced and think it still holds the records with me.  I learned so much in 5 days from these gentlemen who took the time to share their experience and knowledge, . I was inspired and influenced well at an early age.  I dreamed of being like them for most of my life.
I never quit learning and upgrading, constantly driven to succeed so that I could be not only a better horsewoman, but a better human. My journey is far from over.
I bred my first registered mare at 13, and by 15 was showing my home-grown horses under saddle at local and breed shows, My parents were positive it was a phase and I’d grow out of it. When I turned 50, my mom confessed it was “not a phase.”
In 1990, with the help of Jackie & Kathy Harke, I qualified and competed at the AQHA World show. It was a huge accomplishment for a Canadian horse in those days to qualify and the crowds then filled the stadiums. It was a dream come true for me!
By the mid 90’s I was dabbling in team penning and team roping, but somehow always found myself returning to show pen events to measure and improve my skills.
PRR A Fancy Pistol (aka: Raina)

Painted River Ranch History

My late husband, Bruce & I partnered to form Painted River Ranch in 1998. We bred, raised and trained paint horses together for almost 15 years. The ranch originated in Alberta at the junction of where the Redwater River  ran into the North Saskatchewan River. The Pastures there were home to the paint horses we raised, and the ranch was referred to as Painted River Ranch. Bruce has a page on the site devoted to his life and memory, check out his  “In Loving Memory”  page.
PRR A Fancy Pistol (aka: Raina)
Bruce liked hunting with horses, mountain packing, & working with problem horses. I learned so much from him and he learned from me. Together we put everything we had known into each prospect we took the responsibility of breeding. His influence remains today in my current project horses. What he taught and shared with me will not be forgotten. The best thing you can do for a horse to ensure a quality life is to give them a good start and a solid foundation that will last them and their people a lifetime.

In 2016, I sold the Edam Ranch and moved to St. Denis.  Since the move, I  have volunteered at the Grasswood Horse Park south of Saskatoon.  I was asked to help to develop and design the Grasswood Trail course, which is now an IMTCA certified trail park for International Competition. The trail park is an amazing place to school and train mountain horses.

As a trail committee volunteer we planned and budgeted for clinics to bring world class clinicians to the park. We held events like the Trail Challenge Buckle series and IMTCA clinics and competitions. It was a great way to learn some new skills. I’ve met so many great people and friends at the park.