An hour north of Jackson, Wyoming, you will find a breathtaking valley nestled between Togwotee pass and the Tetons. Seemingly everlasting green pastures stretch between both mountain ranges. It is just a few minutes from the entrance to Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Park. The land is home to a handful of horse and cattle ranches. In the evenings, the view to the west is like none other. The Grand Teton and Moran Mountain tower over the smaller pine tree covered hills that hug the sides of the valley. When the sun dips over the jagged peaks, the little light that's left between land and sky streams in between and over the mountains creating heavenly rays of light that explode different colors.
In the middle of the valley, you will find a set of historic barns and a modern indoor horse arena set on a beautiful property that neighbors the Buffalo Fork River - the Diamond Cross Ranch, built by Jane Golliher’s parents, Fred and Caroline Feuz, who arrived in the area in 1912. Jane and her husband, Grant, are the third generation of ranchers to manage the ranch. Peter, their son, will be the next in the family to continue the tradition of ranching.
Grant married Jane and became Peter’s stepfather when Peter was a teenager. In the beginning, their relationship was rough. Peter and his brother, Luke, weren’t used to having another man around the house. For two young boys who were used to taking care of their mother and roaming the land freely, introducing another man into the family brought friction. Both Grant and Peter don’t sugarcoat their beginnings. They recall having tense family meetings regularly. But they’re also honest about what those meetings meant, and how it formed their relationship into what it is today - something truly special.
As the boys became men, and through work on the ranch, their relationship evolved with Grant. As a kid, Peter would take care of the cows and enjoyed participating in 4-H. Grant remembers seeing Peter wake up early in the mornings, sometimes so excited that he’d bust out of the house, forgetting to change out of his pajamas, and run straight to the barn to check his animals. Grant would assign various duties to the boys throughout the summer. They’d fix fences, help sort the horses, and other ranch duties. The boys learned to work without complaints until the job was done.
Grant spent most of his life working around horses. Now a well-known horse whisperer in the west, he gives demonstrations to executives of fortune 500 companies and various corporate groups. These demonstrations detail the same lessons he would teach his boys growing up - patience, when to apply pressure, and when to end on a good note.
Similar to how he treated his horses, Grant encouraged his boys to be better, gave them love when they needed it and used patience to build trust. Now years later, Peter has a 6-month-old newborn baby, Walter. Peter will soon pass on the lessons he learned from Grant to Walter.
The Goliher’s chose to raise their children on a ranch, not only because they knew they’d learn how to live off of and respect the land, but also they would learn how to respect others and build healthy relationships. The lessons learned as a young one on a ranch are hard-earned and thoroughly tested, yet can be carried for a lifetime. For Peter, the most important things he learned are lessons he will eventually pass on to his son - hopefully, to be passed on from generation to generation.
Photos and Video by Sofia Jaramillo and Joe Haeberle.