Few things—if anything—in life gave my Dad more pleasure than horses and cattle. He knew them well and worked them like few have the ability to do.
But even when not working, you might find him out in the corral “messing” with the horses. You’d often find him horseback in the pasture, or sitting on the tailgate of the pickup truck, or on the tractor seat after winter feeding just watching his cows, long beyond his original reason for being there.
When traveling, he always noticed cattle and horses in the pastures and on the open range flying past the windshield. He’d comment on how “slick” (or maybe “poor”) the cows looked, admire the growing calves, point out a well-made range bull, praise horses and colts.
While not as practiced at it as Dad, it’s a practice I picked up from him. Our car often hears comments about grazing cattle, usually accompanied by regret that almost all of them nowadays are black. Sighting a herd of our favored Herefords gleaming red and white in the sun is a rare and precious thing. Were you with us, you’d also hear my mockery every time we pass one of those yellow diamond-shaped roadside signs warning of livestock grazing on open range—with a picture of a dairy cow on it.
But, perhaps, my favorite remark concerning roadside animals is one I heard decades ago from a rodeo traveling pal; a comment that betrays a real love for the sport. Drive past horses in a pasture and Marlowe “Bird” Carroll would likely say, “You think those horses would buck?”
I still wonder.