(Photo of Shane D. Plummer on left and on right of Shane with son Smith David, photos taken roughly 30 years apart on the same Bohlin Saddle previously owned by Tom Mix.

A Proclamation of Gratitude

One of my favorite holidays is upon us! Here in the U.S., we celebrate Thanksgiving annually on the fourth Thursday of November. For most Americans, it has turned into a bounteous feast of turkey and glutinous delight while watching three National Football League games. For cutting and reining professionals, it is as much of that as possible all while the big futurity is on. However you chose to celebrate this holiday, I hope you, too, take the time to properly give thanks for the who, what and whys in your life.

I personally believe it is extremely important to carry gratitude in your heart at all times. As a father of five, I am constantly trying to teach my children the principal of gratitude. In all that I do and in all that I am, I am grateful for what each day brings to me. It is hard to embrace the bad like I do the good that comes to me. But through the eyes of hindsight, we certainly learn wisdom through our tough times and trials. I reckon I don’t learn much when things are going well. Through pain and struggle, I think I’m a pretty good student.

I’m grateful for my business. What we have is pretty special.

The horse business has been my life from day one. Growing up in it, I can’t say I really appreciated it until much later in life, when I really grew up and went out into the world. Not until I experienced things outside of the world I knew could I appreciate my roots. Most of my readers are tied to horses, either by passion, profession or both. In an ever-changing world that is getting more and more urban and less and less rural, I am ever aware that we horse folk are just plain strange! Well, good on us I say!

That’s not to say that we can’t have our weekend cowboys, of course! Love them; we need more of ’em. I have a number of investors in various stallions and horses here who are just that – weekend cowboys – and they love being a part of the fun. That is what we have – plain old good-fashioned fun – whether it is the thrill of riding a great cutting, reining, working cow, barrel or rope horse.

We have the bond that becomes stronger than steel when we work with these majestic animals. Maybe what we have of interest to weekend cowboys is my personal favorite, which is breeding. Nothing is more rewarding than the product of a proper mating selection taking its first breaths and the hope of a bright future in the show pen! What we have is great. What we have is magical. I am resigned to focus on what I am, rather than what I’m not.

If I have learned anything in my life, it is that change is constant and those that can embrace change will adapt to it quicker, which will lead to opportunities popping up all around them. We horse people need to be that way instead of reflecting on what was. Well, what was is no more.

I am grateful for our breeders, the great stallion owners and mare owners who support our stallions! Without them, I would not be writing this today. Our mare owners start out as customers, then we become friends, and I can tell you the relationship evolves into family. I have family far and wide without the last name Plummer. I think of them daily; I pray for them earnestly. I am indeed grateful for not only the business; money comes and goes in life. I am grateful for what they are in my life.

I am grateful for the horse. One of the great teachers of my life said, “Is there anything more regal than a magnificent horse – its coat brushed and clean, its head held high, its gait a symphony of motion?” (Gordon B. Hinckley). Winston Churchill famously said, “There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of man.” I completely concur with these two wise men.

The history of Thanksgiving is debatable. The farther we are from an event, the line to it gets less and less straight. But the first “official” or sanctioned Thanksgiving in the new American government was in 1789, when the great George Washington – our first and greatest president, the man who could have been king – gave on official proclamation of Thanksgiving on the 3rd of October 1789. I invite you to look it up and read it in its entirety.

In it he said: “Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor…Now, therefore, I do recommend and assign Thursday the 26th day of November next to be devoted by the People of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is or that will be – that we may then all unite in rendering unto him our sincere and humble thanks – for his kind care and protection of the People of this…And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of nations, and beseech him to pardon our national and other transgressions – to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually – to render our national government a blessing to all the people, by constantly being a government of wise, just and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed – to protect and guide all sovereigns and nations (especially such as have shewn kindness onto us) and to bless them with good government, peace and concord – to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and us– and generally to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as he alone knows to be best.

Given under my hand at the City of New York the third day of October in the year of our Lord 1789.”

God, family, country and horses for me. If I be not grateful, I am nothing. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

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