national-anthem

Frankly Speaking: Let Your Sons Grow up to Be Cowboys!

national-anthemIn an expression of the “cowboy way,” everyone stands at attention during the playing of the national anthem at major Western performance events, like the National Reined Cow Horse Association Snaffle Bit Futurity. • Photo by Stacy Pigott

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.

PhillipRapps RonRalls

Taking After Dad

PhillipRapps RonRallsRon (right) said Phillip (left) is the better rider, while the son credits his dad with teaching him family values and a strong work ethic. • Photo courtesy of the Ralls familyOn a farm on California’s central coast, a 3-year-old boy sits in the corner of an arena playing in the sand while his father works a horse on the other end. The scene was a familiar one for the Ralls family, as Phillip grew up watching his dad, Ron, train reined cow horses and compete in National Reined Cow Horse Association (NRCHA) events.

Cornbread Thinks: Trainer Brains

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.

SDP LC01 race 13SP

Breeding To Win

SDP LC01 race 13SP

“How can we explain that one of two Thoroughbreds, birth brothers, offspring of the same parents, may turn out a chestnut and a great galloper, and the other, a bay with no special talent? For me, that was Hamlet’s dilemma.”

Cornbread Thinks: Learning People About Cutting

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.

Proper Procedure

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.

Cornbread Thinks: Conventional Stuff

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.

Cornbread Thinks: Thinking

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.

Working Is Not Learning

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.

Cornbread Thinks: Why Do You Do That?

If you sent invites to people to get up at 3 a.m. to meet you at a trainer’s barn an hour away when the temperature was either below freezing or close to 100 so y’all could spend two hours waiting to ride five minutes, all in the hopes of getting a little praise from that trainer, my suspicion is very few would accept. The kindest of your friends would suggest you seek counseling, assuming you still have some friends in the real world who haven’t already written you off as bat guano crazy. Most regular people’s goals involve having enough success in life that they don’t have to get up at 3 when it is so cold Huskies won’t go outside. Not us. Our goals are to earn this privilege; we can hardly wait.