Cowboy Bob's Campfire ConversationsCowboy Campfire


Table of Contents

Cowboy Bob and the Bouncin' Bovine
The Philmont Mountain Lion
The Dyin' Gunfighter
Bunc Bradshaw and the Mexican Captain
Cowboy Bob: Movie Star
The Cowboy's Wardrobe
Some Other Cowboy Paraphernalia
The First Bulldogger
God's Bit and Bridle
The Adventures of Cheyenne Dawson
Louis Remme's Wild Ride
Cowboy Bob and the Bunny Buckle

Horses Running The Truth About Wild Horses

They always look so nice in the movies: the band of horses runnin' wild and free, manes and tails flowin' gracefully in the wind, not a care in the world, nothin' to do but get fat on the thick grass.

Truth is, those movie horses are probably part of someone's carefully tended herd.

For one thing, the manes and tails of wild horses usually end up a tangled mess of snarls, knots, burrs and stickers. Ask any horse owner who turned their critter loose in a field for a week or more.

A lot of folks who don't know any better - and some who should - claim that horses are best off runnin' free in the wilds.

To my way of thinkin', such folks must really hate horses.

The fact of the matter is that there ain't hardly a critter on God's green earth that lives a more miserable life than a wild horse. They live scared, are always in danger, have a lot of pain, and die young.

Horses were designed in such a way that they need people carin' for them so's they can live a good long life.

Take, for instance, a horse's hoof. If a horse runs on soft ground, his hoof will keep growin' and growin'. After a while, it gets long, curved, and cracked. When that happens, the poor critter's got nothin' left to do but die.

A number of years ago, some cowhands in the Sangre de Cristos came across the skeleton of a wild horse on top of a mesa. The horse's hooves were more than a foot long, and had curved to where the cayuse couldn't stand up.

The wranglers found that critter in a circle of bare ground. Since it couldn't walk, it nibbled at what grass it could reach. When the grass around it was gone, the horse died a slow, miserable death by starvation.

On the other hand, if the ground is rocky enough to wear down a horse's hooves, most likely it's too rocky to grow the amount of feed he needs to stay healthy.

Folks who spend much time with horses soon find out that their four-legged friends are downright accident-prone and get sick without half tryin'. If there's a gopher hole or a poison weed in a field, a horse will most likely find it.

Besides that, most any sickness seems to go straight to a horse's feet. And, as the sayin' goes, "no feet, no horse."

We shouldn't blame the horse for not knowin' enough to stay out of trouble - after all, his brain's not much bigger than a good-sized walnut.

Part of the problem is the horse's neck. The good Lord gave him that neck so's he'd have extra good balance. It also lets him graze without kneelin' down. Trouble is, when a horse gets sick, that neck's too long to let him barf up the poison in his stomach.

That yucky stuff that's makin' him sick gets into the critter's blood, and tends to congregate where the blood flow is the slowest - out in the feet.

Down the critter goes, and if he ain't got a friend around of the two-legged variety, he's usually not long for this world.

Sure, there's nothin' purtier than a herd of horses gallopin' across a field - manes and tails blowin' in the wind.

But let me ask you somethin': If them horses are out in the middle of nowhere, who's gonna 'preciate that beauty?

Certainly not the horses.

Horses can see better than people at night. That's to help them see all the nasty critters lurkin' around in the dark, hopin' to rip a chunk out of the horse's hide. The trade-off is that a horse can't see too good in the daylight. They can only make out a few colors, and everythin' looks a bit fuzzy.

That's why you want to move slow and steady around a horse - so he knows what's goin' on even if he can't see it too good. Otherwise, he's likely to get real spooky.

So, next time you think about wild horses, remember that the good Lord put them here for us to enjoy - and for us to take good care of them, so's they can live long, happy lives.

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   COPYRIGHT © 1999 BOB LEMEN, GRAND RAPIDS, MINNESOTA. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
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