Summer is over and Fall is here. We here in Texas are wishing and praying for some rain and cooler weather. Our pastures are parched, and oaks are shedding leaves. We escaped to the mountains twice this summer.
We hauled some Peruvian horses to the Davis Mountains of far west Texas, to enjoy the “coolest fourth in Texas!” Then we flew to Virginia to help put on the Andalusian horse show in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Returning to the Gulf coast we found our garden burnt up, horses sweating as they stood still in the field, and cattle “shading up” by mid morning. But soon we will see fall rains and cooler temperatures. We are already making plans for our first fall roundup.
Seeing these horse activities this summer has brought an awareness to my mind that over the past decade participation has steadily and alarmingly declined. In past years the Ft. Davis parade was a display of riders from the large ranches, as well as numerous chuck wagons and other horse drawn conveyances. Now there are cars, trucks, cycles and a sprinkling of horses.
The Eastern region Andalusian show suffers from decreased participation as well. Once upon a time attending that show the spectator was treated to scores of Andalusian and Lusitano horses, and performances that rivaled the royal schools of Europe!
So, I’m asking myself, what is the reason for this decline in equestrian activities? Is it that the machines have taken over? Have new generations lost the nostalgia for the horse culture that was our grandparents’? Has urbanization made middle class horse ownership prohibitively expensive?
In any event, here on the Twin Creeks ranch we save gas and diesel by daily checking our herds and fences horseback. We will be penning our cattle with a team of cowboys and cowgirls mounted on everything from ponies to Peruvian horses, Andalusians, Quarter Horses, and Crossbreds. Then, sorting, roping and dragging to the branding fires will be horseback as well. Moreover, our horses are our therapists, as we grow frustrated with the pace of modern life, we turn to them to bring us back to “Earth Speed!”