Stuff About Cowboys & Gals
The days spent in the saddle are the days that are longed for. The simple things like a brisk morning, a warm cup of coffee and the four legged thing in the stock trailer. How the world hasn't figured out that it's the prime life to live, defeats me. This lifestyle is a minority among society, with the majority of folk only knowing and admiring Hollywoods version of the cowboy lifestyle.
That's just not reality. Reality can be seen from the eyes of an old, battered and weathered cowboy or a young boy asked to fill the shoes of a grown up on gathering day. It's gritty work that isn't always the most encouraging. The salary is barely beans and flour, the labor tires out the the most energetic of cowboys and gals and the days are long. The days are dirty and it's usually not just dirt. Your clothes get worn, your hands will callus and at some point, I guarantee you'll pick a fight with the pony beneath you.
Yet we saddle in the morning, drive the broken down pickup to the mountains, desert or pasture and we ride. We ride past lazy bulls, past peeping groundhogs, through the willows and across the crick. Sometimes it's cold, sometimes hot and sometimes windy. Mostly windy. Riding with a purpose to check cows, mend fence, move pastures and look for leppy calves. So many purposes within these rides that make each day different. Every aspect combines to be a part of why young cowboys get sucked in. It's also part of why they don't make it to higher education and part of why monotonous desk jobs seem like a punishment. A professor once said, "Don't be so worried about school, that you forget to learn." Well in a cowboys life the learning never stops.
The folk behind operations, are some of the smartest thinkers and quickest problem solvers and it's because the situations they run into everyday. Some things really can't be taught in a classroom, things that should be an instinct don't come from reading books. Instincts have to develop and they develop by being needed and applied. Being able to do this kind of work is a freedom from society and how it runs. It gives an education to those willing to put in the work. By any means it's not an education that grants a piece of paper in the end.
It's the kind that lets you network with your neighbors and learn the ecology of the pasture, it teaches anatomy and physiology during spring calving. Learning about rangeland management and conservation has never been more important and out there you get taught first hand. You learn speech and debate while sorting and processing cattle, you learn how to use your public speaking voice too. This lifestyle has continued for generations and it's because cowboys and gals live for it. We live for the educational moments that the livestock, people and environment can teach us.