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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, it’s hard to throw a rope from.
Helicopters can spot and scare, if that’s what you need, but it’s 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 you’re on the perfect tool for the job. You look at a horse different when he’s 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, Lipazzaners and vaqueros of all kinds. Granted being a horse person doesn’t 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 can’t 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 crevice to leap, a war to win, a sweetheart to impress, or...when you’ve gone too far to walk back.
Shakespeare’s King Richard III said when fate hung in the balance, “A horse! A horse! My kingdom for a horse!”
I’ve also come to believe that you either are a horse person or you aren’t. Many who are, never know it because they never have the chance. It’s 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 child’s 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 is a cowboy poet, former large-animal veterinarian and entertainer of the agricultural masses. Learn more at www.baxterblack.com.
This will be Baxter Black’s last column. Because of health issues, he is heading off into the sunset on his favorite horse.