A Cowboy’s Faith: Attractiveness only skin deep even for swaybacked, old nag

buchmanhead“Beauty is all in the eyes of the beholder.”

That familiar statement always comes to mind when passersby comment: “That sure is a beautiful horse.”

Actually, Marvelous Mae is far from fitting that admiring description. Honestly, she’s a big headed, swaybacked, flat-footed, old bay nag with a shaggy mane.

Yet, put clean black harness with shiny silver hames’ balls, jingly golden bells, bright red tassels on each side of the bridle, and the feathery red, white and blue plume between her ears, hitch her to a classic, fringe-topped, two-seated carriage, and certainly one could have an initial perspective that Marvelous Mae actually is “beautiful.”

Again, not trying to cover up her conformation flaws coupled with maturity, Mae becomes most attractive in our mind for the essential positive aspects of doing what we want her to do.

Hardly anybody understands what it takes to be a carriage horse like we expect from Mae. Of course, pulling the vehicle is an initial requirement, yet she must do that only when asked. Not all horses have dispositions to be driving horses, but many of those who do want to go all of the time.

To work for us, our driving horse must stop instantly upon request and stand still until we are ready to go again. That might be a few seconds, or a very long time. Whether in a parade or giving public carriage rides, there is lots of stopping, standing and waiting.

Driving horses that aren’t willing to go readily, but then stop, stand and wait are dangerous, and very serious accidents can occur, doing considerable damage and severe injury to many innocent people.

Younger horses with striking color, conformation, sleek hair coat, nicely manicured manes and tails instantly lose their prettiness when a wreck happens. Beauty is only skin deep; it’s what’s in the heart and mind that counts.

So, we wouldn’t go so far as to say Mae is “beautiful,” but she sure works a lot better for us than some other much prettier horses we’ve had. That big draft horse pulling our surrey really is a marvelous horse.

Reminds us of Ecclesiastes 3:11: “He has made everything beautiful in its time.” And, Zechariah 10:3: “Making her beautiful and majestic.” Because, First Chronicles 16:12: “Always remember the marvelous deeds which have been done.”


Frank_BuchmanFrank J. Buchman is a lifelong rancher from Alta Vista, a lifetime newspaper writer, syndicated national ag writer and a radio marketing consultant. He writes a weekly column to share A Cowboy’s Faith.

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