Passion to Purpose

We tapped Briana Malmquist and Kelly Thompson to share with us their story of turning a passion for ranching into a life of purpose.

Finding your passion isn’t just about careers and money. It’s about finding your authentic self, feeding your soul, and nurturing your heart.

When your hobbies become your passion and purpose in life, it’s neat to share that with the person you’re closest to. Not everyone is interested in sleeping in the nose of a horse trailer, waking up early and hitting the trail for 13 miles and calling it “vacation”, but together that’s what we most enjoy.

Kelly grew up in Ione, Oregon population 329. His Dad has been a hired hand on working ranches Kelly’s entire life, so he was involved in the riding and ranching lifestyle from a young age. One of Kelly’s favorite childhood memories is his Dad riding to pick him up from pre-school, with Pokey the appaloosa for Kelly to ride back home.

I was raised at the base of the Rocky Mountains in Ronan, Montana on eighty acres my Dad put up in hay every year. Riding from before I could walk, my first paying job opportunity came along when I was ten years old, riding the neighbor’s mare for a dollar a day. Fast-forward to age 27 when I got my hands on my first camera and my love of photography, horses, and the western lifestyle collided.

And thanks to a little app called Instagram, our shared love of horses and the western lifestyle, a small-town Oregon boy and a small-town Montana girl met and now reside in Southeast Washington state.

Although we both work outside the home (Kelly is an electrician, I am in Human Resources), we nurture our ranching heritage every chance we get. We have begun dipping our toes in the world of breeding American Quarter Horses – out of the ten horses we own, one is a Hollywood Dun It bred stallion (Dunit With A Wiggle) and three are in the herd for broodmare purposes. We also spend a lot of our time either helping family friends with their cattle, or roaming the wilderness in search of adventure.

For Kelly’s birthday this past year, we loaded up our dogs and a few horses and hit the Pacific Crest Trail, with no other plans or obligations other than riding, exploring, and enjoying each other’s company.

On the back of a horse, with your best friend by your side, the rest of the world falls away. There’s something so basic and vital about trusting your life to a thousand-pound animal, to taking care of them and meeting their every need, to watching them come into the world, to thrive. And to share that passion and way of life with someone… well, that’s the definition of feeding your soul.

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