As he did with the death of a close friend, cutter and songwriter Rob Georg found solace in his grief over the passing of his beloved horse in the words of a ballad.
“On a cold February Sunday, I found my good, ol’ Shorty dead on his paddock,” said Georg in an email written from his ranch in Wallduern, Germany, about an hour southeast of Frankfurt. “He was absolutely fine in the morning when I fed him. It was the second unexpected loss in a very short time.”
When good friend and horse trainer Dean Terry passed away only a month before, Georg picked up a pen and for the first time wrote a song as a tribute, “Push that Horn.”
He did the same for “Shorty,” aka Primetime Shorty, a bay gelding foaled in Texas, as an act of therapy and devotion to his “soul mate.”
The result was “Carry the Wind,” which has struck a chord with country music connoisseurs, making a climb up the country music charts in the United States.
Father, tell me if you can.
Does my horse carry the wind?
Does he fly with angels wings above the ocean?
When I die will you wash my sins, so I can ride him once again
’Cause I don’t know when I’ve been this lost and lonesome
Father, tell me if you can
Does my horse carry the wind?
“I couldn‘t sing it the first weeks after I wrote it,” Georg said. “It made me break down in tears every time I tried.”
It was Dean Terry, that dear friend, who introduced Georg and Shorty.
Terry was training Georg’s wife, Melanie, who traveled overseas to Terry’s base of operations in DeSoto, Missouri, for weeks at a time. Terry was known as the “Round Man with a Square Deal” as operator of Dean Terry Quarter Horses.
Georg finally relented, finding a caretaker for the ranch, and took up his wife’s continual suggestion to accompany her to Missouri.
“To me, this trip was all about learning a bit of cutting, cutting training and helping to prepare the horses,” Georg said of the 2009 visit.
Terry and Melanie had more in mind. They wanted him to train and show one of his Terry’s horses in Lebanon, Tennessee, at a National Cutting Horse Association (NCHA) show.
“That was the beginning of it,” Georg said. “The cutting virus got me. On our way back from the show, I was thinking out loud about showing cutting horses in future, as well.
“Dean turned around and said, ‘Boy, I have the right horse for you!’”
The next week, Georg worked Shorty and “fell in love with him the first time we met.” After a veterinary exam, Georg arranged Shorty’s transport to Germany.
A year later, the two won an NCHA event in Germany and ended the season as NCHA of Germany International Reserve Open Champions, Georg said.
As a rider, Georg has an Equi-Stat earnings record of $5,641. More than $3,500 of that came with Shorty, who, over the course of his career, grossed $42,118.
Shorty (Shorty Lena x Fletchette x Jae Bar Fletch) was bred by Daryl Burke of Georgetown, Texas. Shorty died a few weeks shy of his 22nd birthday.
“Shorty was my soul mate,” Georg said. “Me, a bloody greenhorn in the cutting arena and him, a very experienced show horse. It felt like he showed me which cow to cut and gave it all once I placed my hand on his neck. Even though in the beginning lots of times it felt like I was in his way, with his big heart and experience, he got us [good] scores.”
Georg, 44, and his wife have a 20-year-old daughter, Lisa, who left the ranch for the city and a career in cosmetics. On the ranch, Georg and Melanie train and breed Quarter Horses for cutting, as well as Border Collies to herd sheep and cattle.
Rather than, say, watching TV, many of the Georg family’s evenings were spent singing together, he said. Music has been a big part of his life since he was a reluctant 6-year-old who abided his parents’ wishes and learned to play the piano.
“Today, I’m so grateful they forced me to.”
Now he has a budding career as a country music artist in the United States, and a fitting way to pay homage to his close friend, Shorty.
“I couldn’t get the picture of him laying there out of my head,” Georg said.
It was a break from the ranch he needed, so he left for Nashville and vocal coaching, a “bucket list” item, with Kristin K. Smith. The lessons consisted of singing cover songs, but a few days before departing, Smith asked him if he had written anything.
He performed for her “Push That Horn,” and after the last note she said, “That song has to be on the radio!” Smith became his producer and co-writer.
His first song, “This Ain’t my First Rodeo,” has also been released on radio. The others he has collaborated on with Smith are available through iTunes, Spotify and other various platforms.
And that’s all well and good, but the charts are fleeting. The meaning is forever.
“We had a really strong bond from the moment we met,” Georg said of Shorty. “He knew exactly what I thought and it felt like I could read his thoughts. I remember I had the feeling I needed to show him the ocean. It was almost like an inner voice talking to me.
“So, I packed my stuff and took him all the way to a horse-friendly beach in the Netherlands for a few days. He enjoyed every second at the beach. To this day, these memories sometimes strike me like lightning, with the warm feeling of him being around me.”