A Cowboy’s Faith:Turning back to business – Osage County Online | Osage County News

A Cowboy’s Faith:Turning back to business

A Cowboy's Faith: Click to read more from Frank J. Buchman.“The horse business has many definitions and can go a wide variety of directions.”

Horses are an addiction for certain people who feel they can’t be without them. Sometimes, it seems an inherited trait as children often have parents with deep fondness for horseflesh.

People can become enthusiastic about horses at any age in life. But most others wanted and enjoyed horses from early childhood.

Studies have long proven therapeutic benefits of horses physically and mentally. Working with horses is exercise for the body and the mind improving health.

Today, horses are generally a hobby and often a very expensive one. Still for others and a much smaller number, horses are a lucrative profession.

Breeders raise horses to sell, and trainers teach both horses and riders. Cattlemen use horses for checking, doctoring, and gathering cattle.

Rodeo competitors ride horses in their professional sport. Traders buy and sell horses as a fulltime enterprise. Occasionally, hobbyists participating in horse shows have profitable returns.

In more than six decades, every one of those horse endeavors has been tried in some form or another. With limited financial success, it’s generally been enjoyment handling horses, hobbyist rather than business entrepreneurship.

Example is breeding horses to raise and sell. That began with Spot, the mare bred in the second year of horse ownership. She produced a filly, who was trained and sold for a small profit.

Foals have been raised nearly every year since. Goal at one point was to have 40 foals born annually, but it didn’t grow to that point. Two dozen was likely the largest number in one year.

Never a dedicated bloodline geneticist breeder, babies for 25 years were sold in the ranch production sale featuring “The Cowboy’s Kind.” Although not bringing large amounts, they did help pay down some land and other operating debts.

Like all commodities, which horses really are, the market deteriorated, so work involved in production lost the romance. Still, the mares were heartfelt part of the ranch whether profitable or not.

Nine mares were retained to raise foals, which were for a decade given away by personal choice.

Horse demand has come back, so horses are again a profession. Five foals were raised this year and sold for small income.

Reminded of Ruth 4:7: “This is how they handled official business regarding matters of property.”

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

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