For cattle and horse ranch owners, the animals that they own generate income for them, and therefore, generate livelihood. Since cattle and horses are grazing, sometimes over hundreds of acres in very remote parts of the country, it is important that animals are branded.
The branding of animals can be traced back to ancient Egypt. There is evidence that ancient Egyptians branded their Oxen. This is shown on hieroglyphs that are painted on pyramid walls. Romans and Greeks even had slaves marked with irons. Brands were brought to the New World from Spain, when Cortez brought some of his own cattle. The cattle were branded with the symbol of three crosses. Brands are the only affordable, permanent way that ranchers can mark animals as their own. Cattle brands are most commonly located on the right or left hip or rib area. The most popular locations for brands on horses are the left or right hip and shoulder. Horse brands can also be seen on the rear of the horse next to the tail, on top of the hip area and even the jaw. Original brands that came from Spain were large and very ornate. Early American brands were more simple, but still hard to duplicate. Brands can vary in size from large to small, one inch brands.
The most important purpose of a brand is to bring an animal home if it is lost or stolen. Several states have brand registries where rancher’s brands are permanently recorded. If someone finds a branded animal, they can identify who the animal belongs to and return it to its proper owner.
People brand animals that are valuable to them so it makes good sense to brand personal belongings that are also valuable. For horseman there is always risk that their high quality tack and equipment could be lost or stolen. Using miniature branding irons to permanently mark one’s personal belongings will lessen the risk of theft. In the event that a branded piece of equipment is lost, chances are much more likely that it will be returned to the owner as it can now be easily identified. Branding your personal belongings with miniature brands is not only practical, it’s also fun! In fact, many crafty people choose to incorporate branded items into their western home decor. It can be much more fun and cost effective to personalize your home decor items by branding them as opposed to buying items already featuring miscellaneous brands. Some individuals choose to brand steaks and pancakes to give a meal an authentic western twist! So have fun and get creative – brand your steaks, chicken, pancakes and even desserts!