The John Deere Limited Open finals are tonight. I am predicting the Will Rogers Coliseum to be maybe one-third full. This is nothing short of a shame on us. They are the best two sets of cattle to showcase cutting to the public. It has a high entertainment factor. It is the right length of time. It provides a time period to educate. Actually two time slots, the herd settling. We are wasting this.
I was penning 600 head of steers once. I needed them to go in a gate they had been in and out 2,010 times that winter. The uprights were tied together at the top with drill pipe. It was a bright day, and that drill pipe cast a shadow across the mouth of the alley. It might as well have been the Palo Duro Canyon. They ain’t going. Fortunately, I had a real cowboy, a geezer, heppin’ us.
Cornbread loves people, which is good cuz there are a lot in the world, a very tiny percent of whom have the mutant gene of cutting in them. To the unaware, it appears to be from crossing a country boy farmer/rancher/cowboy with a country girl farmer/rancher/barrel racer. Closer examination will show these traits to be markers, not causes.
As all of you probably know by now, thanks to full-blown media coverage, the United States and our national anthem have been purposely disgraced by several players in the National Football League and other professional athletes who refuse to stand during its singing as a way to protest racism in this country.
Trainers got brains. I am sure of it. I’ve seen a couple take them out and play with them. Otherwise, I would wonder. It is difficult to evaluate how many brains with just conversation. The first problem is many of them are stingy with words and even tighter with syllables. Secondly is the narrowness of topics. There are no IQ tests based on cows and horses. This creates a gap in levels of expertise. It is like asking a rocket scientist the best way to light your string of firecrackers.
Yogi Berra once said, “It’s not the heat, it’s the humility.” That about sums up the National Cutting Horse Association Summer Spectacular so far. It has been hot, but it always is in summertime Texas. The difference is the humidity, very high. Horses and people sweat for the cooling of evaporation. The more water already in the air, the less it can take up. This makes us produce even more sweat, which means you have to drink lots of water. The trick is to stay ahead of water loss; it takes 24 to 48 hours to replace water if you get in deficit.
The National Cutting Horse Association (NCHA) Convention took place in June, and since then I’ve been thinking of several things to share with all of you. During the course of the convention, as there always is, there was conversation that circled around the subject of the ineffectiveness of our governance and the apparently broken system of implementing change.
The first day of the National Cutting Horse Association (NCHA) Convention is about over. I have gone to two meetings and nobody has even pulled a knife. Kinda boring.
Sitting in my new studio writing this, a month ago now, and it’s raining. It’s been raining often this year. Got our first cutting baled a month ago and can’t get it out. Not far from being able to cut again. Nothing to do for it but to be patient. If you have done any farming, you know to never, ever put a rut in a pasture. If you haven’t, let me save you the trouble of learning the hard way. Those ruts cannot be fixed. That spot is changed forever. You will never quit banging your head on your truck roof. The equipment will always bump there and leave a raggedy spot. It will always hold water differently, and grow weeds and mosquitos.
We all go “work” our ponies. “Work the flag.” “Work some cows.” “Practice cuts.” Most of the time these are short sessions. Show up early, often right after breakfast, which was right after last call. Saddle up, lope a little, work, put up and leave. In some cases, your horse is ready and you step on, work and leave.