Monthly Archives: August 2018

The New, Old Stock Horse

Among the pile of horse magazines in my “library” are publications covering stock horse events such as versatility ranch horse competitions, reined cow horse contests, and working equitation and trail horse shows and tests.

There is a veritable explosion of fun things to do with horses that perform useful functions.

Owing to the enormous growth and popularity of the quarter horse in the USA these venues are pretty much dominated by america’s horse.

There are however events open to all breeds which include other traditional western cow pony breeds such as Paints, Appaloosas, and Morgans for example.

In addition, we are now starting to see the emergence of older livestock handling breeds such as the Andalusian and Lusitano.

These are domestic horses from Spain and Portugal with centuries long histories as herding and livestock working horses. They also have histories in combat and even in the mounted bullfight known as the Rejoneo.

If you aren’t familiar with that sport, it is somewhat analogous to cutting, only with the bovine having a more adversarial role. The analogy with cutting horses reminds me of a definition I once heard for Bluegrass music, given by the great Banjo player Earl Scruggs.

It is folk music in fifth gear!

Well, if so, the Rejoneo is cutting in hyperspace!

The Andalusian and Lusitano have courage, cow sense, rideability, and trainability that is a wonder to experience.

Of course, I was raised with, and on, American Quarter horses, and I still ride, breed, and train them. Now I’ve added Lusitanos to our ranch string, along with PRE or Spanish andalusians, and, boy howdy, I’m fast becoming an enthusiast!

So keep you eyes open for the Lusitano stock horse!

Interesting is Interested

Each time we drive out interstate-10 to Ft Davis, we pass the turnoff sign for a little town named Iraan.

It is a rural burg on the banks of the Pecos river, and not a middle eastern country.

In fact it is pronounced Ira-ANN. I seem to remember it is named for the ranch owners who founded the town on their land, Ira and Ann Yates.

It is small, less than 2,000 population, but mighty, in its citizenry.

My connection with Iraan was back in the ‘70s when I traded a family of patients in their annual migration back and forth between there and Caldwell with their family physician, Dr. Ed Franks.

He was one of those west Texas solo practicioners who deserve sainthood for their contribution to the medical care of medically underserved areas.

If you’ve never been to that part of the globe you may have a difficult time imagining the loneliness and shortage of resources that he had to deal with in the early part of the 20th century.

Yet through all of that he maintained a glorious sense of humor, possible it was that very thing that enabled his survival in his mission to deliver health care to such a desolate outpost.

Some of us actually love that open, dry, desert country, and he was one of them.

He also loved the tough spirited people that he cared for day in and day out.

He was once asked how he coped with it all. His answer was a classic.

“I see my job as keeping a truce between the people and their environment !”

Going to the Movies

Being an old A.A.Milne fan, I went with the entire Cochran Clan to the new Winnie the Pooh movie “Christopher Robin.”

It’s funny (peculiar) to me that someone recently commented that nothing of redeeming social value comes out of Hollywood these days, because this is yet another Disney production that hits the target in my (not so humble) opinion!

The movie made me remember how completely I’d lost my childhood by the time my own children were growing up. I awoke and left the house for work before they were awake, and returned after they were in bed many days. In the movie I saw myself and many other middle class folk.

We were so adult, so focused. There was no place for play anymore. We did not live in our imaginations, with our childlike sense of adventure, and exploration. Now mind you I’m talking about the need to find the ability to be childlike, not childish.

The wonderful animation of the Winnie the pooh characters highlights the role of childlike imagination in our lives. I loved watching Pooh’s little mouth moving with the quaint British understated expressions concerning the need for food and naps.

Fortunately I’ve been just enough of a rebel that I have not given myself completely to work. As a result I’ve been allowed the gift of doing things together as a family.

We share activities, thoughts and ideas, and we hang out and talk with one another. And we do, in fact, a lot of nothing, which frequently does lead to a very good something!

I’m going to take my four sixes coffee mug out and walk barefooted in the morning dew, now. Seeya!

Biscuits and Gravy

I seem to remember hearing “breakfast is the most important meal of the day.”

These days there’s much concern about Carbs etc. that I feel we’ve lost concepts like heartiness, stick to your ribs and larruppin’ good taste.

Yesterday we had the grankids staying with us. I had a hankerin’ for a good ol’ southern breakfast. I wake up at around five thirty, whether I want to or not. I guess it’s and age thing. I checked the sourdough starter—foamy! So I whomped up a batch of biscuits and shoved them in their skillet into the oven.

I thawed out a bag of venison pan sausage a friend had given me, and browned it in another skillet. Taking the sausage out to drain, I fried up some bacon, nice and crisp, and took it out, leaving the delicious drippings in the pan.

I threw in a fistful of four and stirred into a roux until it smelled like burnt popcorn, then poured in enough half and half to whisk into a loose gravy. Then I dumped the sausage back in the skillet.

When the biscuits came out of the oven, all nice and brown on top, the ankle biters showed up. I guess the aroma got to them. So I had them set the table while I fried up some fresh yard eggs from another friend.

We cut up a cantaloupe from our garden, and sat down to bacon and eggs with biscuits and gravy and cantaloupe (or mush melon, as my grandma used to call it).

I called it a good ol’ Tennessee breakfast. They didn’t understand what I was talking about so I got out the USA map to point out Tennessee. Then on a whim I asked them to show me where Washington DC was. They pointed to Washington State.

Maybe that’s better anyway, should I tell them?