Too Much Rope

September 30th, 2019

An image cast in bronze that reflects the power and grace, grit and glory of a cowboy’s horse and a cowboy’s life – no other twentieth century artist could capture the moment as perfectly as the late Jim Reno whose larger than life-size commissions are legend, including monumental works of the world’s two greatest race horses in their respective fields – Secretariat and Dash For Cash.

Many of Reno’s smaller-scaled pieces, however, were based on personal experience. “I usually have something in mind down the road,” he told me, as a prelude to the story behind a piece he called “A Montana Morning,” inspired by an incident on the John Scott Ranch.

“A horse was standing tied to a fence and he broke loose,” Reno recalled. “The saddle went under his belly and he started bucking and kicking that saddle apart. And this cowboy on a horse was trying to catch him.

“Afterwards, I took photos of that cowboy. He had a Montana crease in his hat, and he had on gloves and a Levi jacket, and fringed chaps, and a Montana-looking saddle. When I got home, I got my photographs out and went to work.”

Skip Hobbs, an NCHA competitor and 1973 Youth World Champion, owns a limited edition of “Too Much Rope,” a piece that exemplifies Reno’s special talent for depicting a horse and rider in action. Because a photo of it appeared in the May 1977 issue of the Quarter Horse Journal, Hobbs knows the piece was created before 1977, but beyond that fact he would like to know more.

If you have any information regarding “Too Much Rope” or have other Jim Reno stories you would like to share, please contact me at, and I will include them in future posts.