Buck Kidwell was the “go to” man in Welborn, Texas, for cowboys and cattlemen who needed help with a horse. Whether it was to purchase a ranch horse, start a colt, or fix a bronc, buck was the man for the job. Notables such as John Carter, Billy Steele, and Rex Cauble were often found in his barn, a humble,but sturdy structure, on a dirt road between College Station and the Brazos River. Buck was a Hackamore man. I was apprenticed to “Mr. Kidwell” as I knew him, by an agreement between him and one of his friends, my dad. This was along about the early 60s. Texas had just survived the great drought of the 50s and was still plagued with a shortage of grass, too many screwworm flies, and few paved roads. Cattle were still frequently moved by driving them on horseback over dirt roads. Horse shows were pretty primitive affairs. My earliest recollections as a teenager at Buck’s barn were of digging composted horse manure out of dark wooden stalls, hauling it out to a pile in a wheelbarrow, and taking breaks to watch Buck ride colts in the adjacent square pen or in the arena behind the barn. I was in heaven. Horses were everywhere, I loved the smell, the sound, and the look of them. And here was a magician at work making cow-horses! He was my hero and my second father, the Hackamore man!
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