Hands show more than age— they communicate how a life was lived, detailing a person’s history. These hands pictured are Ranch Company founder Robb Van Pelt’s, his son’s, and his grandson’s. The stacked hands show an interconnected story, one of a lifestyle passed from generation to generation.

And what is that lifestyle? What does it mean to be a part of a fifth-generation working ranch in Colorado? This meaning is the strand that binds one generation—one hand— to the next. It is the bond tying Robb’s family members together.

Of course, the ranching lifestyle includes work. Robb was raised doing the work: saddling horses, moving cattle, checking water gates and mending fences. To Robb and his family, these tasks are more than the trade; they are a way of life and represent “live it to know it” experience. The feel of the leather saddle, the smell of hay in the barn, the sound of newly shod horses, and the callings of a mother cow for its calf are the backdrop of Robb’s family history.

But as with all histories, the whole is more than the sum of its parts. You cannot add up all the cattle sold, the horses moved, and the acres irrigated and know the meaning of the story. The meaning lies in these physical acts but also goes beyond them; it is the act of passing these trades down and seeing them thrive generations later.

Robb transferring knowledge from his father to his son was rewarding in itself, but the real reward came years later when it turned into wisdom, watching his son saddle his horse for him. At that moment, at 78, Robb saw the result of all that he had taught his son. He could sit back and watch him do what Robb had shown him years ago, one of the truest forms of giving back.

In that moment Robb could also see his family legacy unfolding before his eyes. The same actions Robb’s father taught him were now being demonstrated by his son’s hands. While generations pass, the tools of the trade are a constant: never changing, eternal, the way tradition is. That is why saddling a horse is more than work— it is a family ritual. That is the legacy of a multigenerational ranch, passed from one set of hands to the next.

But the family legacy is about more than saddling a horse or working cattle. The handiwork is passed down, and so is the feeling of being on the ranch. Seeing his grandchildren embrace this feeling reminded Robb why he loves what he does. In the fall and spring, Robb and his grandson get on the ATV and go looking for elk. His grandson’s excitement to find the elk creates something to bond over, an excitement that is tangible— as tangible as the feel of the ATV steering wheel or the crisp morning air.

Robb’s granddaughter did not immediately have an interest in horses. Then, when she was three, her mom lifted her up and put her on the saddle. Her eyes went wide with fear, gripping the saddlehorn. And then something changed. She realized her mom was still holding her and she was safe. She immediately started smiling and did not stop. They could hardly get her off the saddle. All she said was “more, more.”

Seeing the joy of hunting for elk or riding a horse for the first time reflected in his grandchildren’s eyes is another immeasurable gift of the ranch. His grandchildren are given the rewards of the outdoor lifestyle, and Robb is given the satisfaction of providing it for them. Watching the little ones experience this joy is a good reminder, too, that blessings come in the form of simple things: like seeing elk run in the distance, or the freedom of sitting on a horse, or the beauty of a field at sunset.

In today’s modern world, bonding over the feeling of being outside, doing work you can touch and feel is less common. The work makes you feel alive, and sharing that feeling with those you love makes the experience even stronger. It is a connection to the land, and to family— a connection to the environment that surrounds us. That is the link binding the generations of Robb’s family together, and why multigenerational ranches stand apart.

Even if you are not born into a multigenerational ranch, opportunities to invest in land and the lifestyle exist. The Ranch Company offers ranches for sale with generational and legacy features. If you would like to experience ranching traditions through ownership in ranch land, Ranch Company agents would be happy to share their experience to help you find the right investment. Reach out to begin a relationship.