John Young’s experience and achievement speaks to being a cowboy of tradition.
John Young’s cowboy career started as horseman. Yet he wasn’t born near a ranch; he was raised in the city (Vancouver). He turned away from city life at a young age. His introduction to horsemanship was to embark upon a new horse trail, the Pacific Coast Trail. It stretched from British Columbia to southern California. He stayed in California to learn all that he could about horse training and horse doctoring. He then returned to BC to undertake his career as horseman.
In the 1970’s, John Young commenced work at Douglas Lake Ranch, east of Merritt, BC. There he worked and trained with several men who are themselves now members of the BC Cowboy Hall of Fame. Douglas Lake had approximately 300 horses used by ranch hands. Ranch Owner C.N. (Chunky) Woodward undertook a championship level quarter horse breeding program. John Young worked the quarter barn. He developed his own training techniques and equipment usage for training cutting horses to work cattle. Additionally, John trained working ranch dogs, directed in their work by hand signals. Over time, John Young’s duties at Douglas Lake grew. He immersed himself in cow camp work, plus management of horses, herd and grasslands.
In the 1980’s, he put that experience to work at the historic Parker Ranch in Hawaii, plus assisted BC ranches such as Empire Valley and The Gang Ranch. In early 1990’s, John and Brandy Young moved closer to Williams Lake, BC. For the following twenty-five years, John Young provided professional training
of horses for this community. He also coached the Cariboo Cowgirls Drill Team, a riding team participating in rodeo events in BC and Alberta. For many years he provided volunteer assistance to the Williams Lake Stampede and community.
There is a further element to John Young’s career. He became a face of artwork, film, and written works portraying admiration for the cowboy, and cowboy lifestyle. Several oil paintings featuring John as subject, were created by Canadian western-frontier genre artists. They depict a cowboy at work.
Additionally, John Young played a background role in film so as to ensure accurate presentation of the working cowboy. A Reader’s Digest story was published about John, which account highlighted the dangers and isolation of cowboy work on ranches. A National Film Board documentary short film was
also produced about John Young and another. That film focused upon the risks and dangers of traditional cowboy work, leading in one instance, to a life-saving rescue. Those risks feature in his life.