Horse training and ranching in the Tetons - Grant and Jane
GRANT AND JANE On opportunities that began with training horses, the importance of failure, and how following a dream brought them together. It’s a clear fall morning in Wyoming. The vast, green expanse of the 90-acre Diamond Cross Ranch is dreamily lit in the early morning sunlight. Nestled between Grand Teton National Park and the Teton National Forest, the ranch sits directly in front of the Tetons themselves, the impossibly noble, breathtaking, and larger than life mountains that define the entire region. Grant and Jane Golliher greet the day as they typically do: bright eyed, surrounded by horses, and together. Clad in Wrangler jeans and cowboy boots, the two are saddling horses at their 14,000 square foot red barn with soaringly high windows overlooking the snowcapped mountains. “Horses have always been my life,” Grant says. Jane adds, “People bring us horses everyone else has given up on, from all over the country. It’s amazing what can happen when Grant works with them. He really has a gift, and he cares about making a difference for the horses.” Grant continues, “and being able to make a difference in peoples lives too - I’m honored to step into that role.” What is your daily routine here at the ranch? Grant - We’re up at 5 or 5:30. We’re out early feeding, working cattle with our horses. We ride all our horses, the colts in training, keeping the older horses in shape. We train cutting horses and cow horses. We do a variety of maintenance, irrigating, lately fighting the beavers in our irrigation ditch! What else goes on at the ranch besides your daily routine? Jane - There’s always something! Grant - We have corporate events and weddings, we’ve hosted quite a few CEO’s and world leaders. Jane - Grant does horse training demonstrations, it’s about horse training but also about relationships, trust, and leadership. It’s the art of Horse Whispering. Grant - We’ve had film and photo crews here at the ranch, too. Jane - Recently they filmed Grant working with horses, for a TV show. Isn’t that something? Grant - And we had the Wyoming Tourism shoot. Jane - They brought a great crew, cameras and a helicopter, our neighbors came and my son from LA. That was great fun. Grant - Me and Freckles are on billboards all over the country. Jane - We wrote a book, too.
That is quite a variety!
Jane - We call it creative agriculture!
You’re authors, hosting events, speaking to CEO’s, being photographed for advertisements and filmed for TV. Most people wouldn’t expect that ranching and training horses would lead to all of these opportunities.
Grant - We leave our options open. We try not to put ourselves in a box. We always look for success coming our way, and it might come in a way that we don’t think it could.
What are you telling executives with your horse whispering demonstration?
Grant - I work with an unbroken horse, and we talk about what’s important with training a horse, and in life, in relationships. Consistency. Building trust. Clear communication. Reading people, realizing everybody has different needs and honoring that.
I was fortunate to be around Tom Dorrance and Ray Hunt early on, they started the horse whispering thing - but they just called it horsemanship. It opened my eyes. I have spent my entire life working with horses, and their ideas changed everything. It’s the opposite of the old way of forcing the horse to do what you want. It’s about the horse being your partner. It’s about what’s best for both of you. Isn’t that what we need in our relationships with other people, too?
Jane - Grant really relates. To the horses, and even more to the people who come to the ranch. He touches their hearts, gives them something that sticks with them.
So what you’ve learned from training unruly horses that people thought were a lost cause, can offer insights for interactions with people, too?
Grant - The way you treat people, the words you use and your body language, are so important. For instance, if someone smacks a horse, that horse would never forget that.
The words you say to people can be just as devastating as a smack in the face. I’ve seen it happen, early on I saw it in how my dad treated my brother. Telling him he’d never amount to anything. Was he that way? Or did he become that way, because the most important person in his life kept telling him that?
You can use words to hurt someone, or you can use words to bring out the best.
How did you start hosting events?
Grant - Jane was asked to do a private rodeo for Microsoft executives, that gave us our start. We bought a used circus tent for $5,000 dollars.
Jane - It was all of our savings! That was in 1998.
Grant - We tried doing a chuck wagon cookout, but that failed financially. We continued to do events, I started doing a horse training demonstration, and little by little it’s grown. As we could afford it, we built the barn, and here we are. It’s been quite a journey.
This barn is beautiful.
Jane - We had the vision long before we built it. Grant started walking this area in the summer, cross country skiing in the winter, envisioning it.
Grant - I laid everything out in the snow with my ski tracks. Layout, where to put windows for the best views, where the doors and kitchen and pens and arenas would be. For years, over and over out here, putting the tracks in the snow.
Jane - Grant drew it on paper, we had it on our refrigerator for years, with a photo of a red barn.
Grant - You have to have a vision.
Jane - Most people say seeing is believing, but it’s the opposite. You have to believe first, and then it will come. What you believe, what you see in your imagination, good or bad, will eventually come your way.
You bought the tent in 1998…. so it was a long process, to get where you are today.
Jane - One thing anyone needs to know about their dreams, is you have to be persistent.
Grant - So many people never fulfill their dreams, because they don’t believe they can. Roadblocks get in the way, or discouragement. Or they’re afraid of the unknown.
We haven’t had a fairy tale life. It took a few divorces before we found each other. We didn’t know where we would get the money to build the barn, and there was resistance every step of the way. Even getting the OK to paint it red!
Jane - It’s been a struggle, and it’s been worth it.
Do you have regrets about anything in the past, do you feel you’ve made mistakes?
Grant - Hahaha, probably plenty! But water under the bridge is no good for swimming. We learn from our mistakes.
Jane - Maybe that’s the only way we learn.
Grant - Failure is not a bad thing. We learn things the hard way, experience what doesn’t work. Don’t beat yourself up over it - use your failures to go forward.
Jane - A lot of people go from one bad situation to the next, one relationship to the next, recycling the same behaviors. I used to do that. You have to give yourself permission to learn the root of your actions, to stop recycling. It’s the only way to get inner healing and move on.
It’s important to forgive yourself for your mistakes. Sometimes we forgive everybody but ourselves.
Do you consider yourselves successful?
Grant - Yes, because we feel like we’re making a difference. If we can help people in their life, then we’re successful.
We’re always looking for ways to do better. When I was a kid working for a horse trainer in Texas, he said it’ll take you 20 years before you realize you don’t know anything. He was right, but 30 or 40 years later it’s still true! The learning never ends.
Everybody has a different journey, and we’re still on ours. This is just the beginning.
One thing I do know, is success is about helping others. Happiness is in here (pats heart), it has nothing to do with how much is in your bank account.
What’s a great decision you’ve made in your life?
Grant - To follow God.
Jane - Absolutely. That impacts everything else.
Grant - We don’t really like the word ‘religion’.
Jane - Because when people think of religion, they think of church and rules. The can’s, the cant’s, the must’s. That’s not how we see it.
Grant - Every day, we try to live by giving. Every day is an opportunity to be a blessing to someone else, that’s our goal.
Jane - All we want to do before this life is over is impact others, connect as much as we’re able, authentically.
How did you come to be living at the ranch?
Jane - I grew up here, my grandparents homesteaded from Switzerland. We raised Hereford cattle, I always loved ranching and living on the land. My mom and dad gifted everything to their kids and grandchildren, so my sisters and I could keep the land in the family. Grant and I are doing the same - this ranch belongs to the next generation.
Grant, where did you grow up?
Grant - On a peach farm in western Colorado. My dad had the best peaches, and we raised horses and mules for hunting trips.
After high school, I worked on a rock gang. We’d scale cliffs above railroad tracks, and send rocks tumbling down the canyons. Then I took off with my two best mules, riding through the mountains on my own, until I reached Cora, Wyoming, and worked for a hunting outfitter. I met a gal and got married, we moved to Texas where I trained horses for a polo player. I learned to play polo, and played professionally in Palm Springs for 15 years, while training polo horses too.
After that I trained horses at a ranch in Dubois, Wyoming, and ended up divorced when my wife left me for the fiddle player in a touring band.
How did you two get together?
Grant - I was broken hearted, with a young daughter to raise. So I started over. One night I prayed for help finding the right wife.
That night I dreamt of a woman, with a certain length of hair and a certain red tint. Soon after, I went to do a horsemanship clinic that Jane had set up. We had met before, but when I saw her she had cut her hair and tinted it red!
Jane - I hadn’t intended for my hair to even look like that! They got the wrong color, it was an accident!
Grant - We’ve now had 19 years of a wonderful marriage, and raised 3 kids together. We’re together all day, every day, and we don’t get tired of that. We’re a good team and we like each other’s company.
Your horse Freckles is on all of the billboard advertisements with you. Tell me more about Freckles.
Grant - Freckles is an amazing horse. He’s 21 now, we got him the year we got married. Over the years, Freckles has never missed a demonstration at the ranch. He’s done hundreds! He comforts people, even those scared to death of horses, yet he can do a job hard as any horse on the ranch. We’ve never had a horse like him, I feel honored to have him. He’s a special guy.
What do you enjoy most about life on the ranch?
Grant - We’re so blessed to live here, everyday is a gift.
Jane - We never could have dreamed who we would get to meet, it’s a total privilege to meet such interesting people at the ranch and have the experiences we’ve had. But best of all is our daily routine. Riding our horses, doing our ranch chores, and being together.
Grant and Jane Golliher are authors of a soon to be published book on Grant’s story and how involvement with horses changed his life. Learn more about the Gollihers and the Diamond Cross Ranch at:
Photo of Grant and Jane Golliher taken by photographer Mallory Beinborn