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I like living someplace where a horse matters. There is just some country where horseback is the only way to get the job done. Places where the four-wheeler is a poor second, not to mention a noisy, track-leaving unnatural conveyance. Besides, its hard to throw a rope from.
Helicopters can spot and scare, if thats what you need, but its helpless when you have to doctor a calf. It is a great feeling to be pushing a cow out of a mesquite thicket, packing a dude down the Grand Canyon or tracking a mountain lion on a high ridge, knowing youre on the perfect tool for the job. You look at a horse different when hes on the payroll.
I like being a person to whom a horse matters. It puts me in such good company: Robert E. Lee, Teddy Roosevelt, Rudyard Kipling, Ray Hunt, Queen Elizabeth, Jerry Diaz, Casey Tibbs, cowboys, Mongols, gauchos, teamsters, Lippizaners and vaqueros of all kinds. Granted, being a horse person doesnt make me easier to get along with, better at spelling or richer, it simply gives me a direct connection to one of the most ancient, mutually beneficial interspecies relationships on the planet.
Winston Churchill said, There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man.
I like being there when a horse matters, when you cant do the job alone: a cow in the bog, a race against time, a boulder to move, a detour to take, a mountain to cross, a crevasse to leap, a war to win, a sweetheart to impress, or...when youve gone too far to walk back.
Shakespeares King Richard III said when fate hung in the balance, A horse! A horse! My kingdom for a horse!
Ive also come to believe that you either are a horse person or you arent. Many who are never know it because they never have the chance. Its a primitive acceptance, often mutual. A lack of fear. You see it in some children when they are first introduced to the horse. It always gives me a sense of wonder to be there and help them make their acquaintance. I believe the horse can sense the childs innate trust. It is the beginning of a natural bond.
I count myself very lucky that I get to be a part of the wonderful world of horse sweat, soft noses, close calls and twilight on the trail.
I like living a life where a horse matters.
Baxter Black, DVM, cowboy poet and humorist, has been called Will Rogers weird grandson.
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