By Baxter Black, Contributing Editor
I like living some place 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, Lipizzaners 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.