Jones: Riding for the brand
The reaction is the same every time.
There’s a twinkle in the corner of their eye. There’s a little puffing of the chest. A smile expands across their face. Most of them even clear their throat. That’s what happens when you ask someone about their brand.
The sense of pride that every single rancher I’ve ever asked about their brand is unanimous. They’re proud of the hard work that saved the dollars for them to buy the certain brand they’ve always wanted. They’re proud of the fact they drew the brand themselves and went through the whole process to make it their own. And if they’re really lucky, they’re proud of the generations of ranchers before them that shared the same last name who passed the brand down to them.
Pride and respect. There’s this perfect balance that we all try and master in the journey of life. When the two are in balance, pride and respect are the reason no corners are cut, no gates are left open and the leather is still cared for as if it’s supposed to last forever. It’s the balance that creates the legacy of the west.
I’ll never forget the day my family moved to a new ranch to manage in my teenage years. My dad sent me out on horseback to catch up with the owners of the ranch and told me “sis, you ride for his brand now”.
It was that simple, he didn’t have to spell it out for me. I knew how much we respected our brand and I knew how much pride I felt for it too. So we cared for the animals as if they were our own and we improved where we could as if it would be the ranch left to our own.
I wish that everyone knew what it was like to have a brand, to want to pass on a legacy of sorts, to show up every day proud of the life they’re making no matter what they’re doing, all while giving their neighbor the same respect for what’s on their side of the fence.
I’ll be forever grateful for the lessons I’ve learned when riding for the brand.
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