Cornbread Thinks: Vicissitudes

You are reading close to July 1 while I type close to June 1 about what happened in May. So, sometimes I just make stuff up. You should try and catch me by doing some of your own thinking and research. If I can get you to not trust me, then I am succeeding.

I wish I was making up the passing of Trey Hunt, but it is true. Trey was an exceptional person. A superstar in life. A real cowboy with a real heart and real talent diligently practiced and applied. He was a true friend to all, so he had true friends by the hundreds. You did not even have to know him to be friends. The story of his illness was heartbreaking, but it was also very scary.

He was 41 years old and to all who knew him, perfectly healthy. One morning, he worked a few horses, stepped down off one and went to the ground with his left side paralyzed. Cancer of the brain. Eight months later we were at his service. There are no words (or not enough words) to square this away. It isn’t going into a box and up on a shelf. Live your life like you were Trey that morning when he got on that first horse. Vaya con dios, Trey Hunt. You made a difference.

The world, our world, their world, everyone’s world, is changing in a different way, a dramatic way. Not in leaps, but in ant-sized steps. Billions of them, and they are sprinting. Many politicians are promising to take us back to a time that never was and many people are believing them. It isn’t going to happen. Our industry, cutting and cutting horses are right in the eye of this storm.

We do not have a choice of if we change or not; the only choices we have are how we are going to change. We are actually pretty good at this. We have changed a lot from the South Texas round-ups in the 1860s till now, although often reluctantly and too often, slowly. Famous horses whose bloodlines dominated for decades would not make today’s second go. We are so good at spotting a new thing in genetics, in jumping all over a new way to win. But we aren’t very good at spotting new ways to run our association.

We aren’t very good at being part of the changes in the world right now. The National Cutting Horse Association Convention is four days away. Barbara Brooks, when she was president, started an initiative to change our governance. The biggest item on the agenda is the competition committee. Many people have put many hours (me being one of them) into this. It will make us, among other things, much more agile in making decisions. It will be a great disappointment and waste if we do not pull the trigger on this.

The affliction of the times is apparently frustration. Everybody is done with how it has been but not really sure on what it should be. When we get up to feed, most of us have a plan for the day. Some of us plan ahead as far as the next show. A few, very few, have a plan all the way to the end of the hauling year. Then what? Many of us work toward winning the Futurity or the World or the Area, and some of us even get that done. What is the plan for making this blessing into a permanent, ongoing thing? Too often the plan is having more and better horses to ride. Without a plan, all of us are only as good as our last cow or our last column…both pretty undependable. For sure, good words are as rare as good horses and, like horses, don’t always have any cow in them.

Last night, I got a call from my son Noah. His cancer may have returned. He is 24. We won’t get results till after I turn this in.

I am asking everyone to start looking way down this road we are on. What are you working for? As cutters, we have a lifestyle better than most of the world. We need to look way farther than the next cow. So, let’s make this happen. Let’s all work together for a long-term goal – the happiest association, with the happiest people.

Cornbread Thinks: Let’s do this.