My dad was my hero and my mentor when I was growing up. We loved doing the same things. He loved raising horses and cattle and I loved riding and herding them. I grew up on a large cattle and horse ranch and my dad was a true cattle and horseman.

We raised Quarter horses and trained them to ride. Through the early period of training, a young horse isn’t fond of a person riding on their back. So they tend to buck you off when they can. When I started breaking in horses, I got bucked off a lot. I was a short, scrawny little thing, not quite 10 years old so it was hard to stay on.  When a horse would try to buck me off my dad would always yell “pull leather!” What he meant was for me to grab any leather strap on the saddle that I could get my hands on in order to hold on so I wouldn’t get bucked off.

This happened many times while I grew up and I understood his urgency to keep me up in the saddle and not fall off.  Of course, he didn’t want me to get hurt, but he also didn’t want the horse to get the best of me or he would continue to try and buck me off.

As I grew up, left the ranch, and started a life on my own his words would come back to me at times of struggle. When life tried to get the best of me and toss me down to the ground I would hear him telling me to “pull leather”. It became somewhat of a battle cry for me. He taught me to hang on and believe in myself when it looked like I was going to fall. Those two words taught me to grab on to whatever I had securely around me and never give up, no matter what life threw at me or how much something hurt.

My dad passed away a few months ago. He was 93 years young, still living on the ranch he loved doing the things he loved. I’m grateful for all the things he taught me. I’m especially grateful for those two words that I now use as my battle cry.

Do you have a battle cry? Do you have a mantra, a quote, or a saying that you can say to yourself that keeps you on your horse when life tries to knock you off? If not, search one out. Something when you hear the words in your head it makes you fight back to “pull leather” and stay in the game of life. We all have things we go through, but we’re all stronger than we think if we just have something to remind us of the power we possess.

I know this post is a little different than what I usually write.  But I”ve missed sharing with you the last couple of weeks and this was such a great lesson for me that I just wanted to share it with you in hopes that it will inspire you.


Author: Julee

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