Ranch Wife 101
I have heard many people claim to be a real ranch wife these days. I have heard women who don’t own a cow to their name claim to be a great ranch wife.
I have even been told how I need to dress, as a ranch wife, by women who can’t sit a horse, never owned a beef cow, butchered their own meat, grown a garden, castrated a bull calf or had to forego anything so that they could afford salt or feed for their cows.
As a woman who has come from a long strain of ranchers, I feel that maybe I need to clarify a few things about being a ranch wife. So here they are:
If you think that, you cannot wear a baseball hat while out chasing cows………you may just be a dime store cowboy.
If your refrigerator doesn’t consist of vaccine and food……you have no hope of ever being a ranch wife.
If you put yourself before your cattle, horses or family………your brain may not be working at full capacity.
If you think that you cannot get cows in on a horse without a lariat, chaps, spurs, cowboy hat or saddle……you may just want to chase cows with a few real ranchers one day.
If you have never removed wire, bolts, fence staples/clips, ear tags or buttons from your washing machine……you are not a ranch wife yet.
If you think that there is, only one way to ride a horse, rope a cow or pull a calf……you may just want to visit a real ranch someday.
If you think that you are the only person to ever saddle up a bronc……..you may just want to watch a few rodeos.
If you think that it is impossible to get a cow in without a wild rag tied around your neck…….you might just be a phony.
If you have ever been able to plan or schedule anything and not have it interrupted by cows…….you are not a ranch wife.
If the only name brands you know are, Schering-Plogh, Y-Tex, Stetson, Red Brand, Justin, Ariat, Billy Cook, Reinsman, wranglers or Pfizer …….you may already be a ranch wife. (If you don’t know, any of those…..go back to the city.)
If you have to be explained to, that that is not mud on your boots……..you may just want to go back to the city.
If you think that there is only one style of saddle, bridle, bit, spur or cowboy hat……..you may just want to get a tack catalog.
If you try to tell a real ranch wife how to keep her family, horses or cattle happy and fed properly……you may want to duck.
If you always have the ingredients in your house to follow a recipe……..you must live in town.
If you talk the talk but can’t walk the walk…….you may just be a fake.
If you can’t read a hot brand….you may just be city slicker.
If you can’t feed a crew on a minutes notice after being out all day and working all day yourself…….you are not going to cut it as a ranch wife.
If you have never checked cows during calving season in a nighty………..you are not a ranch wife. (With coveralls on, it don’t matter what is underneath.)
If you lunge your horse every time before you ride…….then you have obviously never had cattle out.
If you think getting dressed up means putting on clean cloths…….you may be a ranch wife.
If you have ever used your freezer to store dead mice, hides, tissue or hair samples or other dead animals……then there is no doubt that you are a ranch wife.
If you have ever referred to the vet room in your barn as your office…….you are a ranch wife.
If you think you need to dress in overpriced clothing to be a ranch wife………you may just be an idiot.
If you have ever forgone buying a new pair of winter boots because you knew you had to buy salt for your cattle and money was going to be short……..you are a hell of a ranch wife.
The sad truth is that true ranch wives numbers used to be many but now we are down to a precious few. Women who can work all day out in the hot sun or freezing cold with their husbands, fathers, grandfathers and hired hands, and still make a meal at days end that will make your mouth water.
Women who believe family, friends and livestock come before themselves. Women, who will take a three-year-old colt up to the mountains to round up range cattle. However, most of all have the guts and gumption to use them like a broke horse and not baby them all day.
She doesn’t need to dress the part because to her it is not a part it is who she is. She is easy to laugh and hard to make cry.
A true ranch wife may be a little course or crisp around the edges but she has a heart of gold. She can put down an injured animal or patch one up just as quickly. She isn’t afraid to be who she is in any company and doesn’t need to be the center of attention.
If you happen to meet one of these amazing women out there in your travels make sure you note the occurrence for you may only meet a few in your life.