My last update: The close of a chapter in my life

Help Support CattleToday:

Joined
Aug 9, 2020
Messages
4,520
Reaction score
7,847
Location
NW Georgia
For the last 6 years, I have told myself that I was going to take it easy next year....slow down....downsize... semi-retire. But I have come to realize, that you you really can't in certain businesses and life styles. I have done more business in my insurance consulting firm the last 2 years than I have since 2008. I have increased the number of concerts and events I put on. I have done more recording and producing ( @gman4691 , we plan omn starting on yours in 2 weeks) the last 2 years since I "quit the music business" than I have in the last decade. In my prime I limited the number of horses I took in for training to 4 at a time...this year I have already finished 6. Lately, I can no longer go 24-38 hours, working til I drop, and get over it with one good night's sleep. The past 3 days in the hay field ,has about done me in. 5 years ago, I would put my truck in 1st gear in 4 Low, and let it creep down the hay fields while I got up 600 bales alone. Once your body says " I am done",, you just can't power throuigh it anymore. You can't run cows, grow hay, train horses, catch cattle for people, etc., just a little bit. Or part time. Saturday I almost killed my best horse..my companion and partner in crime for 20 years, sorting and roping calves to be weaned..14 hours in 90 degree heat and 95% humidity. He went down on me and thought he'd never get up. He always lasted longer than any of the others on the job...and any other younger horses I had. It wasn;t that he had super strength or super stamina...he would go on pure "heart". When I'd call on him he'd reach down and get more. Well Saturday I called on him one time too many., He reached down to pull out a little more effort, and he had nothing left to give me. I worked in a blind panic to do everything I could to save him, and when I was finally beginning to accept that I had killed him, I layed down, put my arms around his necl, and whispered" You go on to sleep now, Smoke I am sorry boy. Close your eyes and rest." He did. He closed his eyes, sighed, ,then stood up! Shaky on his legs, but he reached way down and pulled through for me just one more time. I lead him about 5 steps toward the trailer, then I went down. I had no energy or strength at all left in me. I was barely able to fight them to keep from getting in an ambulance. But I did realize, I have been doing to myself what I had done to my horse, I was going on pure heart....adrenaline, maybe...and I finally ran out. I haven't fully recovered yet. But I have had to face the fact that I am old, my body is done. It sucks, but it is what it is.
Today I sold the last 14 remaining cows in the Corriente herd. The 14 half-Corr/half Mexican fighting cattle with the 3/4 MFB calves on their side. They got the ones with heifer calves this past weekend and gonna pick the rest of them up at the Labor Day dove shoot. Just the cows, ..they didnt want the steer calves and the bull calf. I will bring them home with me after the shoot to go in our practice pen. Scott won't ever be able to ride enough to work cattle any more. His goal is to be able to ride the gaited horses come quail season, but his cowboy days are over, and I can;t do it by myself. None of his family or mine can ride good enough to handle those cattle on that terrain. The Kudzu-Corriente Saga is over. Me and Smoke will go to Tuesday night team roping ad Friday night team pennings/sortings, and to Sunday afternoon cowboy mounted shootings, and that is it. No more working cattle for folks. No more running halfway across the country and back, buying cattle for folks. Not taking any more horses to train.....I will take you and your horse, and teach you how to train them,. but only 1 or 2 a year. I have a greaty -grandson that was a year old last month, lives 25 miles away, and I have seen him 5 times since he was born. That is about to change. Scott is lettig his grandson and nephew use his equipment to row crop his 400 acres across the road, and they will plant the 50 acre dove field for us. He and I are gonna use the Kudzu place just for what we bought it for 45 years ago...our quail and rabbit hunting preserve.

I am gonna miss that herd of Corrientes, and the money it has made me the last few decades. Gonna miss working cattle on a fine horse. But, like I said, you can't do it a little bit. You can't almost retire. Nearly killing myself and my horse, gave me a wake up call, I don;t want to be no 100 years old..5 or 10 more years and I am good,. But I got to outlive Smoke, to make sure he dies here at home. If I was to kick the bucket, my bunch would sell him for dog food before the flowers wilted on my grave! :) I want to be the one to put him down when the time comes. Getting soft in my old age, I guess.
 
Last edited by a moderator:
For the last 6 years, I have told myself that I was going to take it easy next year....slow down....downsize... semi-retire. But I have come to realize, that you you really can't in certain businesses and life styles. I have done more business in my insurance consulting firm the last 2 years than I have since the Obama Depression hit in 2008. I have increased the number of concerts and events I put on. I have done more recording and producing ( @gman4691 , we plan omn starting on yours in 2 weeks) the last 2 years since I "quit the music business" than I have in the last decade. In my prime I limited the number of horses I took in for training to 4 at a time...this year I have already finished 6. Lately, I can no longer go 24-38 hours, working til I drop, and get over it with one good night;s sleep. The past 3 days in the hay filed ,has about done me in. 5 years ago, I would put my truck in 1st gear in 4 Low, and let it creep down the hay fields while I got up 600 bales alone. Once your body says " I am done",, you just can't power throuigh it anymore. You can't run cows, grow hay, train horses, catch cattle for people, etc., just a little bit. Or part time. Saturday I almost killed my best horse..my compnaion and partner in crime for 20 yeaars, sorting and roping calves to be weaned..14 hours in 90 degree heat and 95% humidity. He went down on me and thought he'd never get up. He always lasted longer than any of the others on the job...and any other younger horses I had. It wasn;t that he had super strength or super stamina...he would go on pure "heart". When I'd call on him he'd reach down and get more. Well Saturday I called on him one time too many., He reached down to pull out a little more effort, and he had nothing left to give me. I worked in a blind panic to do everything I could to save him, and when I was finally beginning to accept that I had killed him, I layed down, put my arms around his necl, and whispered" You go on to sleep now, Smoke I am sorry boy. Close your eyes and rest." He did. He closed his eyes, sighed, ,then stood up! Shaly on his legs, but he reached way down and pulled through for me just one more time. I lead him about 5 steps toward the trailer, then I went down. I had no ebergy or strength at al left in me. I was barely able to fight them to keep from getting in an ambulance. BUIt I did realize, I have been doing to myself what I had done to my horse, I was going on pure heart....adrenaline, maybe...and I finally ran out. I haven't fully recovered yet. But I have had to face the fact that I am old, my body is done. It sucks, but it is what it is.
Today I sold the last 14 remaining cows in the Corriente herd. The 14 half-Corr/half Mexican fighting caattle with the 3/4 MFB calves on their side. They got the ones with heifer calves this past weekend and gonna pick the rest of them up at the Labor Day dove shoot. Just the cows, ..they didnt want he steer clves and the bull claf. I wil bring them home withj me after the shopopt to go in our practice pen. Scott won't ever be able to ride enough to work cattle any more. His goal is to be able to ride the gaited horses come quail season, but his cowboy days are over, and I can;t do it by myself. None of his family or mine can ride good enough to handle those cattle on that terrain. The Kudzu-Corriente Saga is over. e and smoke will go to Tuesday nighjt team roping ad Friday night team pennings/sortings, and to Sunday afternoon cowboy mounted shootings, and that is it. No more working cattle for folks. No more running halfway across the country and back, buying cattle for folks. Not taking any more horses to train.....I will take you and your horse, and teach you how to train them,. but only 1 or 2 a year. I have a greaty -grandson that was a year old last month, lives 25 miles away, and I have seen him 5 times since he was born. That is about to change. Scott is lettig his grandson and nephew use his equipment o to row crop is 400 acres across the road, and they wil plant the dove field. He and I are gonna use the Kudzu place just for what we bought it for 45 years ago...our quail and rabbit hunting preserve.

I am gonna miss that herd of Corrientes, and the money it has made me the last few decades. Gonna miss working cattle on a fine horse. But, like I said, you can't do it a little bit. You can't almost retire. Nearly killing myself and my horse, gave me a wake up call, I don;t want to be no 100 years old..5 or 10 more years and I am good,. But I got to outlive Smoke, to make sure he dies here at home. If I was to kick the bucket, my bunch would sell him for dog food before the flowers wilted on my grave! :) I want to be the one to put him down when the time comes. Getting soft in my old age, I guess.
OMG Warren, I'm 85 and had my 2yr old angus bull go through the fence to meet the girls! Not time for breeding here til 6-25 so off I go rite before dinner, running w/gallon of grain in hand. He stopped and looked for 1 second then off to see more girls. I was ringin wet 80f here today, got the quad and away i go. Outa breath, sweating, and hungry I conned the girls w/grain and of course he followed all the back to holding pen,\. tricked bull into barn and shut him in, ran the girls and calves back out into pasture, went into house for supper, I had to cook it myself! I'm about to say "This is my last summer" too! I trully feel yer pain:)
 
I am down to 7 cows. Hay is becoming the biggest issue besides wore out cattlemen.
I will probably go to four and just buy a few SS in spring to run till fall. Keep a few that know the ropes.
We are all running on rusted out equipment around here.
My hay man is 76 and he is the young guy in the county that commercial bales.
 
How old is Smoke? I'm sorry you rode him so hard. It sounds like you have quite a bit lined out for an old horse yet. How many young horses do you have to ride?
Glad you and he both survived. Like an old cowboy used to say "nothin's forever."
Sounds like you were an iron man. It's hard to give up what you have always been able to do, but you are changing priorities and your family will enjoy spending more time with you.
Good luck!
 
Unfortunately, your story is all too familiar. It seems every day I hear of another old friend or someone I know who is in the process of hanging it up. I look at my own situation. When I look at pictures of the farm from the early 2000s and compare them to today, the herd and flock are smaller and the place generally more grown up and in disrepair in 2023.
The cost of hay is just the start. Aching joints, high fuel prices and the near impossibility of hiring anyone for repairs to machinery and barns are making many look at the prices today and consider getting out.
Are we witnessing the end of an era?
 
Unfortunately, your story is all too familiar. It seems every day I hear of another old friend or someone I know who is in the process of hanging it up. I look at my own situation. When I look at pictures of the farm from the early 2000s and compare them to today, the herd and flock are smaller and the place generally more grown up and in disrepair in 2023.
The cost of hay is just the start. Aching joints, high fuel prices and the near impossibility of hiring anyone for repairs to machinery and barns are making many look at the prices today and consider getting out.
Are we witnessing the end of an era?
Yes and no, and our own community is partly to blame.
 
How old is Smoke? I'm sorry you rode him so hard. It sounds like you have quite a bit lined out for an old horse yet. How many young horses do you have to ride?
Glad you and he both survived. Like an old cowboy used to say "nothin's forever."
Sounds like you were an iron man. It's hard to give up what you have always been able to do, but you are changing priorities and your family will enjoy spending more time with you.
Good luck!
Smoke is 26. Not unusual for a horse that is rode a lot to last til 30 or more. The Lippizan stallions are 20 before they are put in the show. Saw a cowboy ( 5 or 6 years older than me) tie a calf on a mare that was legally dead in 4.6 seconds. AQHA cancels the papers at 30..they figure it has died and you just haven't reported it Jackson's mare was 33 that year. Horses put out to pasture don't last that long, for sure. Smoke's damn was appendix registered. a daughter of Azure Te, all TB on her papers except for 1 QH,. Pacific Bailey. That TB blood means he has no quit in him. I guess it is my responsibility to decide when it is time for him to qujt. And for me to quit. I have to have cataract surgery in July and August, then I guess it is time to start replacing knees and hips. Getting old sucks. So far, I have found nothing golden about the golden years! :)

Edited to add: My SSH is 12, and the gaited mule is 8. I keep them down at Scott's place, because we use them quail hunting, and they are safe for Zeke or Scott's grandkids to ride. I have a 6 yr old Doc Bar bred gelding that is now my #1 heel horse, and a Highbrow Cat gelding, 8 years old, that my granddaughter pens and sorts on. I use him for cowboy mounted shooting as well. So 2 besides Smoke up here, and 2 down in south Ga. Well, technically the header/pasture roping horse Clay ( @Sthrncwboy ) rides is mine, but he keeps him at his place.
 
Last edited:
Unfortunately, your story is all too familiar. It seems every day I hear of another old friend or someone I know who is in the process of hanging it up. I look at my own situation. When I look at pictures of the farm from the early 2000s and compare them to today, the herd and flock are smaller and the place generally more grown up and in disrepair in 2023.
The cost of hay is just the start. Aching joints, high fuel prices and the near impossibility of hiring anyone for repairs to machinery and barns are making many look at the prices today and consider getting out.
Are we witnessing the end of an era?
I think we are, Logan. At least around here, we are. You can't pay $25k-$50k per acre for farm land. When I was growing up, we were 45 miles from Atlanta. Now, we are about 6 miles from it.
 
BTDT. I never was 'big time' into cows but always was 'in' even when I had none, and even in a land far away and long ago. Now, I am 'out' again and probably forever, physically but never mentally, or emotionally, even tho the only 'herd' I have now are these 2 Moo-rines and the steel pig.
DSC00314.JPG

You'll yet be around, somehow, someway, I guarantee it.
"Once a Cowman, Always a Cowman."
 
Unfortunately, your story is all too familiar. It seems every day I hear of another old friend or someone I know who is in the process of hanging it up. I look at my own situation. When I look at pictures of the farm from the early 2000s and compare them to today, the herd and flock are smaller and the place generally more grown up and in disrepair in 2023.
The cost of hay is just the start. Aching joints, high fuel prices and the near impossibility of hiring anyone for repairs to machinery and barns are making many look at the prices today and consider getting out.
Are we witnessing the end of an era?
I attended a TAMU workshop several years back said our type operation would be extinct by 2035.
 
I spent the summer of 1988 at Fort Jackson for basic training, and my AIT at Fort Gordon. I still don't know how you guys from the south and put up with all that humidity. I find that I have have to drink more water than I used to. I think as we get older it is easier to get dehydrated. Dad passed out on us Saturday while we were branding calves, and he was doing was keeping track of the count, nothing really strenuous, but he is 87. I think that was a factor in him passing out, even though it was only momentary. I had a great crew, they took over while I got dad to the ER. Ended up calling for an ambulance and they put a IV in him; he was ready to go back to home by the time they got him to the ER, but they would not let him go until the did all their test. The day here was overcast, and not really all that warm, but it is still pretty easy to get dehydrated.

Our brains say we can do it, but our bodies say hold up Jack you are no longer so young. There is nothing wrong with slowing down, but I do think it is important to have something to do; keep the body and the mind active. My grandfather always said that he had friends that once they reached retirement age they were going to get a rocking chair and not do anything. He outlive them all, he was always doing something, tinkering in his garage, or building something.
 
I wonder, could Smoke ahve been starting to tie up? The greatest mare of my life lived to be 40 and was still ridable (at a walk). She was old but still had that fast road eating walk. Once I started feeding her a complete feed pellet because there wern't much teeth to float. her top line rose up, her flanks filled out and she became as as shiny as a Hershy bar and lived another 10 years. She was also appendix and did not know the meaning of quit. She had the heart and bone structure of the TB with the muscle and mind of a quarter horse. I still keep her white horse bones in a box to be buried with, husband on one side, Tamar on the other.

How's Smoke's teeth and what do you feed him? Heck, still going to athletic events three times a week.

I'm a retired nurse. Everybody eventually gets stove up. How many miles have you put on yourself? They dig up the bones of knights in armor, Roman generals, Atilla's Huns and they all have degenerative lumbar changes from constant riding. An MRI was once done on me and I was honored to see I had those same changes. We got these things from a whole life of riding and accomplishing and adventures, not humped over picking strawberries!

There are good supportive lower back braces people wear under their clothes or on the outside that hold up that downward pressure off the collapsing vertbral disks , that and an ibuprphen and a tylenol. They are different kinds of NSAIDs and they work better together.

Knees thats another thing. When I rode western saddles I noticed the stiffness of the fenders turned my knees and made them ache. On a long ride this was not fun. When I switched to Austrailian saddles not a problem, although you could not rope off one. I'm sure your fenders are pretty well permanently turned. I have to put a stick through mine when on the rack.

Yea all the ranchers are getting old. Where is America going to get the meat? Modern society is going to he LL in a handbasket. Look on the bright side. Eventually the human race will become extinct and the buffalo herds will migrate once again on the plains, horses will be wild and there will be just the sound of birdsong.
 
Last edited:
For the last 6 years, I have told myself that I was going to take it easy next year....slow down....downsize... semi-retire. But I have come to realize, that you you really can't in certain businesses and life styles. I have done more business in my insurance consulting firm the last 2 years than I have since the Obama Depression hit in 2008. I have increased the number of concerts and events I put on. I have done more recording and producing ( @gman4691 , we plan omn starting on yours in 2 weeks) the last 2 years since I "quit the music business" than I have in the last decade. In my prime I limited the number of horses I took in for training to 4 at a time...this year I have already finished 6. Lately, I can no longer go 24-38 hours, working til I drop, and get over it with one good night;s sleep. The past 3 days in the hay filed ,has about done me in. 5 years ago, I would put my truck in 1st gear in 4 Low, and let it creep down the hay fields while I got up 600 bales alone. Once your body says " I am done",, you just can't power throuigh it anymore. You can't run cows, grow hay, train horses, catch cattle for people, etc., just a little bit. Or part time. Saturday I almost killed my best horse..my compnaion and partner in crime for 20 yeaars, sorting and roping calves to be weaned..14 hours in 90 degree heat and 95% humidity. He went down on me and thought he'd never get up. He always lasted longer than any of the others on the job...and any other younger horses I had. It wasn;t that he had super strength or super stamina...he would go on pure "heart". When I'd call on him he'd reach down and get more. Well Saturday I called on him one time too many., He reached down to pull out a little more effort, and he had nothing left to give me. I worked in a blind panic to do everything I could to save him, and when I was finally beginning to accept that I had killed him, I layed down, put my arms around his necl, and whispered" You go on to sleep now, Smoke I am sorry boy. Close your eyes and rest." He did. He closed his eyes, sighed, ,then stood up! Shaly on his legs, but he reached way down and pulled through for me just one more time. I lead him about 5 steps toward the trailer, then I went down. I had no ebergy or strength at al left in me. I was barely able to fight them to keep from getting in an ambulance. BUIt I did realize, I have been doing to myself what I had done to my horse, I was going on pure heart....adrenaline, maybe...and I finally ran out. I haven't fully recovered yet. But I have had to face the fact that I am old, my body is done. It sucks, but it is what it is.
Today I sold the last 14 remaining cows in the Corriente herd. The 14 half-Corr/half Mexican fighting caattle with the 3/4 MFB calves on their side. They got the ones with heifer calves this past weekend and gonna pick the rest of them up at the Labor Day dove shoot. Just the cows, ..they didnt want he steer clves and the bull claf. I wil bring them home withj me after the shopopt to go in our practice pen. Scott won't ever be able to ride enough to work cattle any more. His goal is to be able to ride the gaited horses come quail season, but his cowboy days are over, and I can;t do it by myself. None of his family or mine can ride good enough to handle those cattle on that terrain. The Kudzu-Corriente Saga is over. e and smoke will go to Tuesday nighjt team roping ad Friday night team pennings/sortings, and to Sunday afternoon cowboy mounted shootings, and that is it. No more working cattle for folks. No more running halfway across the country and back, buying cattle for folks. Not taking any more horses to train.....I will take you and your horse, and teach you how to train them,. but only 1 or 2 a year. I have a greaty -grandson that was a year old last month, lives 25 miles away, and I have seen him 5 times since he was born. That is about to change. Scott is lettig his grandson and nephew use his equipment o to row crop is 400 acres across the road, and they wil plant the dove field. He and I are gonna use the Kudzu place just for what we bought it for 45 years ago...our quail and rabbit hunting preserve.

I am gonna miss that herd of Corrientes, and the money it has made me the last few decades. Gonna miss working cattle on a fine horse. But, like I said, you can't do it a little bit. You can't almost retire. Nearly killing myself and my horse, gave me a wake up call, I don;t want to be no 100 years old..5 or 10 more years and I am good,. But I got to outlive Smoke, to make sure he dies here at home. If I was to kick the bucket, my bunch would sell him for dog food before the flowers wilted on my grave! :) I want to be the one to put him down when the time comes. Getting soft in my old age, I guess.
Been seeing more of it every time I turn around. I'm 58 and feel like a young whippersnapper when going to take pesticide applicator CEU's. I'll keep on kicking as long as possible but I have noticed that I have limits that weren't there a few short years ago. Have gotten a lot better at working smarter instead of harder over the years but am painfully aware there is indeed a finish line. Perhaps we should all get together and push for something to help people rediscover some appreciation for where all the food comes from. We've had so good for so long in this country, many take it all granted. I think everyone should have to go through about 2 years where food isn't as easy to get…been there, done that…it tends to lend perspective. Enjoy your time off…you've earned it…find something to keep your mind occupied. And stay in touch. Right now, I have to go replace a seal on one of the lift arms on the tractor…if it ain't one thing it's ten…
 
For the last 6 years, I have told myself that I was going to take it easy next year....slow down....downsize... semi-retire. But I have come to realize, that you you really can't in certain businesses and life styles. I have done more business in my insurance consulting firm the last 2 years than I have since the Obama Depression hit in 2008. I have increased the number of concerts and events I put on. I have done more recording and producing ( @gman4691 , we plan omn starting on yours in 2 weeks) the last 2 years since I "quit the music business" than I have in the last decade. In my prime I limited the number of horses I took in for training to 4 at a time...this year I have already finished 6. Lately, I can no longer go 24-38 hours, working til I drop, and get over it with one good night;s sleep. The past 3 days in the hay filed ,has about done me in. 5 years ago, I would put my truck in 1st gear in 4 Low, and let it creep down the hay fields while I got up 600 bales alone. Once your body says " I am done",, you just can't power throuigh it anymore. You can't run cows, grow hay, train horses, catch cattle for people, etc., just a little bit. Or part time. Saturday I almost killed my best horse..my compnaion and partner in crime for 20 yeaars, sorting and roping calves to be weaned..14 hours in 90 degree heat and 95% humidity. He went down on me and thought he'd never get up. He always lasted longer than any of the others on the job...and any other younger horses I had. It wasn;t that he had super strength or super stamina...he would go on pure "heart". When I'd call on him he'd reach down and get more. Well Saturday I called on him one time too many., He reached down to pull out a little more effort, and he had nothing left to give me. I worked in a blind panic to do everything I could to save him, and when I was finally beginning to accept that I had killed him, I layed down, put my arms around his necl, and whispered" You go on to sleep now, Smoke I am sorry boy. Close your eyes and rest." He did. He closed his eyes, sighed, ,then stood up! Shaly on his legs, but he reached way down and pulled through for me just one more time. I lead him about 5 steps toward the trailer, then I went down. I had no ebergy or strength at al left in me. I was barely able to fight them to keep from getting in an ambulance. BUIt I did realize, I have been doing to myself what I had done to my horse, I was going on pure heart....adrenaline, maybe...and I finally ran out. I haven't fully recovered yet. But I have had to face the fact that I am old, my body is done. It sucks, but it is what it is.
Today I sold the last 14 remaining cows in the Corriente herd. The 14 half-Corr/half Mexican fighting caattle with the 3/4 MFB calves on their side. They got the ones with heifer calves this past weekend and gonna pick the rest of them up at the Labor Day dove shoot. Just the cows, ..they didnt want he steer clves and the bull claf. I wil bring them home withj me after the shopopt to go in our practice pen. Scott won't ever be able to ride enough to work cattle any more. His goal is to be able to ride the gaited horses come quail season, but his cowboy days are over, and I can;t do it by myself. None of his family or mine can ride good enough to handle those cattle on that terrain. The Kudzu-Corriente Saga is over. e and smoke will go to Tuesday nighjt team roping ad Friday night team pennings/sortings, and to Sunday afternoon cowboy mounted shootings, and that is it. No more working cattle for folks. No more running halfway across the country and back, buying cattle for folks. Not taking any more horses to train.....I will take you and your horse, and teach you how to train them,. but only 1 or 2 a year. I have a greaty -grandson that was a year old last month, lives 25 miles away, and I have seen him 5 times since he was born. That is about to change. Scott is lettig his grandson and nephew use his equipment o to row crop is 400 acres across the road, and they wil plant the dove field. He and I are gonna use the Kudzu place just for what we bought it for 45 years ago...our quail and rabbit hunting preserve.

I am gonna miss that herd of Corrientes, and the money it has made me the last few decades. Gonna miss working cattle on a fine horse. But, like I said, you can't do it a little bit. You can't almost retire. Nearly killing myself and my horse, gave me a wake up call, I don't want to be no 100 years old..5 or 10 more years and I am good,. But I got to outlive Smoke, to make sure he dies here at home. If I was to kick the bucket, my bunch would sell him for dog food before the flowers wilted on my grave! :) I want to be the one to put him down when the time comes. Getting soft in my old age, I guess.
When I saw this, I had to get back on here and comment. That was the most emotional day I have ever experienced. Janet swears my grey hairs have doubled these past few days. It all happened so fast, yet it feels like it was all in slow motion. It seemed like an eternity. When I saw her break for the woods, I heard you kiss to Smoke, and my heart jumped to my throat. I knew Smoke would catch her, and I KNEW what would happen if he did. I saw him lay those ears back, and that tail wringing, and I knew I HAD to get another rope on her. But I also knew I didn't have enough horse left to catch her. I could hear Smoke gasping for breath, harder and more labored as he got faster and faster with each stride. But I know there would have been no way you could have gotten him off of her. I have never seen him quit, and I don't think he would have that day. I have seen you and Smoke drag many a 1 ton bull out of the arena when the bull fighters couldn't get him out, but I knew Smoke had nothing left. He was running on pure heart, hell bent on answering your call. Like he always has before. I saw the angle you would have to take to turn her from the woods once you got the rope on her neck, and I knew I was about to see a wreck. He didn't have anything left to slow her and turn her with. When I saw you and him go down, I knew right then my best friend and the best horse that ever lived, were dead. And I almost died myself, even as I was running to you. I could hear Smoke's horrible gasps as he struggled to get air, and heard them getting slower and weaker, but I had my hands full trying to keep you down til we could get an ambulance out. I finally told the others to just turn you lose and let you get up. I knew there was no power on earth, heaven or hell that was gonna keep you from Smoke's side. And I knew you were injured so bad inside, that that would probably be the last thing you ever did. And that was killing me. But looking back on it now, I will forever be grateful to God for allowing me to witness what came next. It broke my heart, and broke everyone else's hearts, when you laid down by him, put an arm over his neck, and told him he could go. I heard the pain in your voice when you told him it was ok to pass on over. But Warren, I SAW his eyes open. I SAW him reach down for the last bit of life he had left. Warren, that magnificent horse fought off Death and came back to YOU! He answered your call as he always has. The rest of us were some more sight to see I bet. Bunch of cowboys standing around crying like a bunch of women. Hell, they'd probably want to put us in a Bud Light commercial!! I have never seen, nor heard tell of, nor read about a bigger bond between man and horse. And I promise you this my friend, swear on my life and the Holy Bible. IF you go on that Last Ride before Smoke, rest assured that if I am still here on earth, he WILL be taken care of as good as you always have taken care of him.

There is no shame in getting old and slowing down, boss. You have nothing left to prove to anybody. You have spent your life taking up and fighting for those who can't fight for themselves. It is time to let others return the favor.
 
How old is Smoke? I'm sorry you rode him so hard. It sounds like you have quite a bit lined out for an old horse yet. How many young horses do you have to ride?
Glad you and he both survived. Like an old cowboy used to say "nothin's forever."
Sounds like you were an iron man. It's hard to give up what you have always been able to do, but you are changing priorities and your family will enjoy spending more time with you.
Good luck!
Ain't no "were" to it. He is STILL an iron man. I wouldn't want to fight him, and I haven't lost a one-on-one yet in 50 years.
 

Latest posts

Top