About Us

People of the Ranch

Dr. Jim Gamble

Owners of Rancho Santiago are Jim and Maria Gamble. Thanks Arthur (Dad) for your love and support and for giving us the appreciation of equines and the great out of doors.

Why the ranch name of Rancho Santiago? Patron Santiago is the patron saint of Maria’s home town and the patron saint (Saint James) of her husband. Santiago is known as the patron saint of horsemen.

Maria Gamble

Dr. Jim

Dr. Jim and Opie
Dr. Jim with 3 Catahoulas

Dr. Jim worked on farms and ranches from the 6th grade through college and the rest of his life so far. He began riding horses and mules literally as a baby. Jim has competed in rodeos bull riding, calf roping, bareback bucking horse riding, and in the wild mare race. He taught vocational agriculture for 12 years in California.

Jim says that “working with mules and Catahoula dogs restores my soul.”

Dr. Jim crossing river on a mule

Jim Gamble is a doctor of psychology who works with emotionally disturbed children and their families.

Dr. Jim earned a bachelor of science degree in Agriculture Education with a minor in animal husbandry. A Masters degree in pyschology came from The University of San Diego, and his doctorate degree in psychology was earned at Texas Tech University.

Maria and George

Maria grew up in the central Mexico region in the mountains near the city of Sahuayo, in the state of Michoacan, Mexico. Maria’s family was involved in farming and ranching in Mexico and the United States. She earned a master’s degree in education. Maria is an education consultant who conducts training across the Texas South Plains for teachers and administrators.

Maria saves Little Joe

Maria loves the kids she teaches Spanish to them in Ralls, Tx. Maria is having great fun teaching kids again after 25 years out of the classroom as a teacher of teachers and administrator.

Thankfully Maria has an exceptionally good eye for quality equines, Catahoula dogs, and husband.


Maria and Opie
Bobby Kautz


Bobby Kautz is Rancho Santiago’s Kennel Master and Mule Herdsman. Only because of Bobby’s dedication are there Rancho Santiago Catahoulas & Mules. Mr. Kautz provides daily care for the adults and puppies while managing the breeding of selected adults. Bobby also works hard on the many duties needed for taking care of our fine mules.

In addition, we thank Bobby’s wife, Yolonda, and son, Kenyan, for their support and hard work.

Catahoulas 'get behind'

Ms. Robin

Robin is our sister-in-law. As far as we are concerned, she is a computer genius. Robin has a master’s degree in management information systems from Texas Tech University. Ms. Robin professionally designs websites and does other computer stuff I don’t have a clue about. Robin designed this website.

My late brother Rob Gamble’s website, pjbelly.com, is also created by her. We are blessed by her persevering friendship.

Rob Gamble aka P.J. Belly
Chris Kennan

We are so proud of our chosen son, Chris Kennann.

Chris Kennann was a cowboy in training for several years at Rancho Santiago. Chris became a cowboy who is great with the mules.

Chris served two tours of duty in Iraq as an enlisted marine. Then the marines paid for Chris’s education at Texas Tech University. After graduation from Texas Tech University, the marines invited Chris to return and attend Officer Candidate School. After graduation from OCS Chris worked through several flight schools.

Update: Lieutenant promoted to Captain. Captain Kennann now flies aircraft for the United States Marines.

We thank Chris for his service to our country. We thank all of our servicemen & women for their dedication to our U.S.A.


Chris Kennan


Jordan Hughes

We are so proud of our chosen son, Jordan Hughes.

Jordan Hughes was Rancho Santiago’s manager and head trainer for several years. He is especially great with all ages of mules.

Jordan earned his college degree in education.

Jordan has enlisted in the United States Army and is now a cavalry scout. Jordan is following in the footsteps of many of his family who have served over the years.

Thank you, Sgt. Jordan Hughes!

Jordan Hughes
Leroy Cagle
Leroy Cagle

Leroy Cagle brought a lifetime of experience and involvement with mules and jack stock to Rancho Santiago. Leroy was truly an expert in the field. His advice and guidance were key to the continuous upgrading of the quality of our operation. Mr. Leroy often took life by the tail. He said there isn’t anything your should not be able to do with a good gentle mule. Leroy had a mischievous glint in his eye, quick to smile, quick to laugh at life’s absurdity, and best of all we called him friend.

Leroy … we all thank you for all the hard work and labor of love to make Rancho Santiago a functioning best of mule ranches. We miss you daily. Rancho Santiaogo people are especially blessed by your sharing your special knowledge of mules, donkeys, and people. God Bless you our friend. Locate us some good mules and we will meet with you on the other side of this life to ride in paradise.

Leroy - RIP

Leroy Cagle