Madison Avenue’s advertising geniuses would have us consuming more fried fast foods and sweet soft drinks, but in ranch country there’s an American conspiracy to grow our own food, eat wild critters, and consume fewer carbohydrates. (Unless you include biscuits and gravy. Oh well.) Also, we get a lot of exercise, especially the ranchers who use horses. There are a staggering number of ways we can burn calories working with horses. From hauling hay, hauling feed sacks, and shoveling stalls, to backing horse trailers and driving tractors with front end loaders. We work both body and mind. Add to that walking behind a colt on long lines in deep sand for an hour, riding at a rising trot for fifteen minutes, and loping circles in search of that perfect, cadenced, collected, slow canter. And that’s just a normal morning’s work around here.
I’ll admit horse ownership is expensive. Other activities can be too. Sporting equipment, event tickets, clothing with names stitched on pockets, large television screens and fancy vehicles can draw down a bank account. On the other hand ownership of land and horses, feed, tack and saddles can indeed add up. But “you gets what you pays for.” Horsemen get to work outdoors, lots of healthy exercise, and you have the opportunity to stimulate “the little gray cells” while you try to solve problems involved with attempting to coerce another thinking being of another species and language into doing your bidding. This, in the view of the “being” in question, having its own agenda. You get the chance to learn patience.You can study books, videos, and clinics to increase your knowledge. Finally, you add in love and caring. Yep, in this age of infernal combustion engines for transportation, ol’ Equus Caballus still has a place in our lives!