As a rancher, I've got to believe there is something special in being able to command respect from those around us. No doubt, it's not an easy thing to do – relying on the right combination of experiences, knowledge, and patience – but when it's done right, it can mean the difference between success and failure.
That's just the way it is here on the ranch. We can't take for granted that the animals we care for will respond to us in the way we'd like them to. We have to have the confidence and knowledge that can earn us their respect and obedience.
It's a hard-learned lesson I have come to understand through years of hard-won experience on the trail. It all started with my momma and the bull I had to protect her from in my youth. That moment I faced that raging animal, set me on a path to learning what it takes to respect the power of command.
I've carried that lesson with me ever since. It's helped me in all sorts of situations. If I'm having to ride out and bring in a stray horse, I know instinctively to move in slowly and confidently while making sure I'm speaking in a low calming manner. Talking loudly will only draw attention and excitement, or make the animal more skittish.
When rounding up the cows, similar tactics apply. In order to ensure I'm getting the correct response from the herd, I make sure to act in a calm but authoritative manner. I'll keep my body low with my eyes facing forward, allowing the cows to become accustomed to my presence and understand I'm in charge.
It's the same when I'm out in the wild looking for lost calves or a run-off bull. I'll squat low to the ground without crouching and calmly call out for the animal. My slow movements and stern voice are a clear indication that I am the one in charge.
At the end of the day, the power of command I'm able to impart on the animals in my care is something I take great pride in. I understand that it's a testament to my patience, experience, and confidence and it's been a journey that has taken me down many winding roads. One thing is for sure though, it's a journey I wouldn't trade for the world.