A Cowboy’s Faith: Kid remains in cowboy

A Cowboy's Faith: Click to read more from Frank J. Buchman.“You need to act your age.”

Uncertain exactly how that comment was meant to be interpreted? So, it was taken as a compliment.

Doesn’t really matter, but likely referred to being in every horseshow class could get in.

Even those where most entries were young sprouts, especially compared to wannabe’s maturity.

Expense to get to a competition so great; philosophy is to participate in everything.

It takes a long while for things to soak in a thick head. Mom always encouraged, “ride in pleasure.” Never did, with excuse: “Nellie won’t back.”

Really didn’t even realize horses were supposed to be in a certain “lead”; hardly knew what “gait” was. Thought if horse could walk, trot, canter on command, was doing pretty doggone good.

Story out of school here, hadn’t heard the word “lead” until after first professionally judged horseshow years later. For unknowing, “lead” is “which set of legs, left or right, leads or advances forward when a horse is cantering, the same as loping, or galloping.” The horse has more coordinated balance in the correct lead.

Anyway, now do what Mom said to do: “Ride in every class.” Some shows that’s 25 events.

“All on one horse?” somebody asked. No, two. One for “performance” classes, a misnomer word in itself, and another for “speed” events, self-explanatory.

Would prefer just one, and intent on down the line. That does take a very talented mount. There are horses that will ride “slow enough” for pleasure classes, then gas up to win a barrel race. They’re few and far between.

That’s “awfully hard on one horse,” another argued. Perhaps, yet it’s no different really than driving cattle from Texas to Abilene stockyards century and a half ago. That’d be an eight to 12 hour work day, while a diversified mount today gets some breaks between classes. Although typically, certain events run in succession two or three in a row.

Still, how much harder can it be on the mount than the old rider?

Many contend “never has acted his age,” and certainly no intention now. Always want to be a kid; impossible, but try the hardest and best.

Reminded of Psalm 71:20: “You got me when I was an unformed youth, taught me. I’ll keep at it until I’m older and grayer. God, don’t leave me until I get out the news.”


030615-franksmug2Frank 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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