Thursday Fruit

Early Thursday morning, Morgan called in the two-year-old horse colts and began catching them up.

Today is going to be the day they start wearing the Flying O. The Flying O is a brand that Morgan developed back in high school. It’s simple, memorable and has been proudly displayed on the mid-left hip of kid horses for his granddaughters, AQHA World Show Finalists and Reserve World Champions.

But, why? The question isn’t why do they wear a brand. Brands are the most basic form of declaring ownership by ranches. The word “brand” is derived from the Old Norse brandr, meaning “to burn.” Brands have been used as marks of identification at some time in all countries and civilizations. There are even branding scenes drawn on tomb walls in ancient Egypt dating back to 2,000 B.C.

So, the question isn’t why brand? The question is: Why brand on the mid left hip?

I once heard someone ask Morgan about this. And the explanation revolved around history, the desire to brand on the left side, standards in the horse industry regarding placement of brands, etc. But, a close family friend of ours may have put it best.

Arlen Walker heard the explanation, too. And although he agreed, he jokingly chimed in, “No it ain’t. It’s because that’s where the gap in that gate is.”

And he’s right. The squeeze chute for branding and doctoring cattle fits three or four head and has been part of the main corrals for much longer than I’ve been around. And I’m sure that one day 50 -100 years ago those hands needed to brand a horse. And you can’t get a horse through that branding chute. Well, the iron was hot… and that gate swung back just right. So I guess they walked a colt behind that gate and branded the first horse on the O’Brien Ranch.

And we’ve been doing it like that ever since.

Those men however many years ago, made it work. Rather than throw the horse down, tie it up, or whatever other options they had, they got creative. They found themselves in a particular situation needing a particular outcome, and they made it work.


We need to quit worrying about what we have/don’t have or what ol’ so-and-so over in who-knows-where is doing and just focus on getting it done.

I’ve often shared anecdotes and my own personal feelings about Stoney and Ali Portis Well, there is not enough room on the Internet to share with you the character of these two young people. Let’s just say they are inspirational and leave it at that.

Here’s the thing: Stoney received his appointment to teach at WestPoint and arrives home from deployment in Afghanistan in close to thirty days. He and his wife have moved to Killeen, Kentucky and Colorado. Ali has successfully restarted her photography business after every move. They have been married for four years… and have actually been together for only 18 months.

That’s getting it done.


Wednesday’s Readings shared the following:

Jesus said to his disciples:
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine grower.
He takes away every branch in me that does not bear fruit,
and everyone that does he prunes so that it bears more fruit…

In other words, who cares where the vine grows. No one really knows where we will end up. What we know is that we need to get it done along the way. Let’s stop concerning ourselves with where we need to be and start focusing on what we are producing wherever we are.

We are going to be lead into some pretty heated situations. And sometimes we will think we’ve been left to wither in some pretty lonely situations. Don’t worry about it. Produce fruit.

Soon we will all get to head back to the pasture.




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4 thoughts on “Thursday Fruit

  1. Thanks for always acknowledging my brother. I love to read the things you write about him…as well as your other stuff. Blessings, PJ Portis-Burton

    1. Thanks for the encouraging words, PJ. And Stoney makes it easy to be acknowledged. I’m sure the rest of his family is exceptional as well. I’d love to meet you guys. Until then, thanks for reading.

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