It started with a dream...
In 1876 a lad named Harry Haythornethwaite of Lancaster England, fell hopelessly in love with a girl. Both being sixteen, their parents considered then still too young to marry. Young Harry was heartbroken and had to do something. Soon after, he was discovered as a stowaway on a ship headed for America. The Captain put him to work caring for some Hereford bulls being shipped to Texas. No stranger to livestock or hard work, Harry's ability impressed the Captain and upon arrival, he was dispatched to accompany the bulls to their destination.

Over the next eight years he worked as a cowhand, making four trail drives North out of Texas. Two of the drives went to Kansas and two to Ogallala, Nebraska. On his last drive to Ogallala with only his savings and what he could carry on a horse, he decided to strike out on his own. He bought a livery stable, shortened his name to Haythorn and married Emma Gilpin of Arthur County. After just a couple years, the newlyweds sold the livery barn and he went to work as a wagon boss for P.A. Yeast. He took his wages in cattle and Emma cooked at the Yeast Ranch for 25 cents a meal, if there were more than 10 men at the table. Less than that, she cooked for free. Nearly every penny they could pinch was put aside to buy land. Harry then went to work for the Triangle Ranch 16 miles away. He rode back and forth on the weekends and left Emma to care for their holdings and cattle. Emma would ride sidesaddle to Ogallala general store 40 miles away, leading a packhorse for supplies. Known as a crack shot with a rifle, she often added a prairie chicken to the table. In 1884 Harry and Emma filed on a land grant section four miles west of Arthur, Nebraska and an American ranching dynasty was born.

Today, Haythorn Land & Cattle Company is spread out over 90,000 acres of deeded and leased land, on four ranches in three Nebraska Counties. Waldo Haythorn (grandson of Harry Haythornthwaite) the present day patriarch of the family, and his wife, Beldora, have managed to keep the family firmly established in the Nebraska Sandhills through blizzards, low cattle prices and high taxes. Waldo watches proudly today as his son, Craig and wife Jody continue preserving the Haythorn dream as present day managers of the ranch.

Horses have played a pivotal role in the ranch's survival ever since Harry loaded his saddle on a train and headed for Baker, Oregon where he gathered up 500 head and trailed them back to Nebraska. Since then, the Haythorn name has been synonymous with good, working ranch horses. The Haythorn Ranch was the first Nebraska ranch to register quarter horses, and today is the largest breeder of the American Quarter Horse in America, and third largest in the world.

In addition to the Quarter Horses, the Haythorns use Belgian and Percheron draft horses. The 6-horse hitches pull the feed wagons in the winter and stack over 6,000 tons of hay in the summer. Considered cheaper to operate, Craig Haythorn says, "You don't have to put gas in a horse or change his oil, and they're never too cold to start!"

The day to day life is much the same for the Haythorn cowboys today as it was over a century ago. The family has taken great pride in preserving the rich heritage and tradition of its' founding father. Whether they're tending cattle, fixin' fence, feeding with a team, or roping and dragging calves to the branding fire, the Haythorn cowboys are proud to ride for the brand. These rolling Nebraska sandhills will be "Home" to generations of Haythorns to come.

Come on out to the ranch...
Located just 17 miles North of Ogallala,and 5 miles from Lake McConaughy, the Haythorn Land & Cattle Company is nestled in the rolling Sandhills.

Come join us for a visit at this historic fifth generations ranch. Take a step back in time as we treat you to a scenic Ranch Tour from a horse drawn wagon. You'll enjoy seeing the large herds of horses that graze in nearby pastures as well as the colorful Longhorn cattle that dot the landscape. Early spring will find the Haythorn cowboys out in the hills as they follow the chuckwagon from one pasture to the next, branding the new calves. The cowboys rope and drag the calves to the fire just as they were on the open range 100 years ago when the first ranchers were settling the west. Visitors may see the cowboys halter breaking colts in late summer or working cattle on horseback. Late summer is also haying season, where you'll see hay put up the old fashioned way with teams of draft horses. Enjoy a home cooked meal at the tour's end while you enjoy the breathtaking beauty of these rolling Sandhills of Nebraska.

(Tours are by reservation only.)

Ranch Tours
Chuckwagon Meals
Wagon Rides

Bring the family out for a step back in time and a visit to this historic ranch. Tours are available from Memorial Day - Labor Day and reservations are required. Call now for availability and pricing.

Business Meetings
Full Catering Services

7200 sq. ft. facility is available for rental with full kitchen, restrooms, and reception area all under one roof. We offer professional event coordinating services and would love to organize and/or cater your memorable event. A truly scenic for any occasion. Call now to make your reservations.

Craig & Jody Haythorn
193 Haythorn Drive
Arthur, Nebraska 69121
Ph: 308-355-4000