Three Buckskins and a Bay

7578-north-view-2008-12-14c1Outside of my living room window, I am privileged to have a spectacular view of a valley where, in the winter, a local guest ranch run their string of horses with a herd of cattle.  (The picture above is my view!)  Around this time of year, grass is no longer available in the valley because in the west, you need thousands of acres to sustain this number of animals throughout the long, cold winter season.   There are only a few hundred acres out my window.  To compensate, the ranch must daily bring a few loads of hay into the valley to sustain their herd during the height of winter when the fields are barren and brown.

Horses and cows mingle together in this valley and a careful observer would note that horses always rule.  Cows tend to quickly step out of their way, especially when approached by a persnickety old sorrel mare or two.  You can understand why if you watch them interact for awhile.  I’ve seen one too many mares snarl their puffy lips revealing huge, chopping teeth that inflict scars on the rumps of less dominant mares and submissive geldings.

Now before you think I’m one of those people who don’t like mares, don’t go there.  I once owned a beautiful buckskin mare named Gracey.  There is not a horse in the world who could have matched her brains, wit and sure-footedness.  She took me to places high up into the Rockies, willingly exerting the concentrated effort it took to haul my aging, heavy body up into those steep hills.  She was one very special horse.  Her untimely death seems so unfair considering how valuable she was to me and one other special couple, Don and Linda.  Why was she named Gracey?  Because it was only by the grace of God that my childhood dream of owning a horse came true.

Back to the story.  This morning the hay trucks arrived in the valley to spread the morning’s rations.  One of the ranch hands stood on the back of the old pickup truck using a pitchfork to break off the huge flakes of hay so they would fall in evenly spaced zones throughout the valley.  This is done to keep fights down to a minimum within the herd.

Cows never stop to find their pile.  They mindlessly continue to follow the run-down truck until no more hay falls from it.  Meanwhile, most of the horses have already staked claim to their breakfast pile, leaving the cows to figure out which horse will be generous enough to allow them to graze beside them and share their pile.  If the cows are lucky, they will find a not-so dominant horse to share a meal with or they will end up grouping together — an effort to protect their breakfast from that one particularly nasty horse that no other animal wants to stand next to.  It doesn’t always work.  A horse can outwit a cow any day of the week.

I’ve always said that Buckskins are the smartest of all horses.  Some find that presumptuous for me to say, but I base my statement on personal, intelligent observation.  There must be a gene combination that man hasn’t discovered yet:  Brains + Beauty = Buckskin.

2009-01-16-0626a3As the herds settled in to dine on this sparkling Rocky Mountain morning, I looked over to my left and there were 3 buckskins and a bay surrounding the old pickup.  Anyone who has been around horses for very long knows that the best parts of the hay/alfalfa bale always settle to the bottom.  The finest, flakiest, most delectable morsels were still in the bed of the beat-up truck.  This picture doesn’t do justice to what I saw because I couldn’t grab the camera fast enough to catch them all surrounding the truck bed licking their lips with glee.  These horses used their brains and were rewarded for their independent rational thought and careful observation.  They remembered the last time they saw those delectable morsels falling from the tailgate and made a decision to be different than the rest of the crowd.

This paints an incredible word picture for me.  Most of the herd (cow and horse) will follow what they perceive is the most popular trail to travel.  Unaware and seemingly unable to use their brains, they blindly follow the crowd — letting the masses do their thinking for them.  The ones who think will take the time to consider where the riches of this world truly lie.  They choose not to blindly follow.  Three buckskins found the tiramisu of hay in the truck bed, bucked the system and were immensely rewarded.  One lonely bay was wise enough to see what they were up to and because he listened, observed and obeyed what he knew was truth, he too received a great reward.

When you search for things of value, you will not leave this world empty-handed because those who think understand that riches have nothing to do with money or things.  It has everything to do with an eternal perspective –being willing to be obedient to what you know is right.  Both cow and horse had a blind faith that their meal would be delivered that morning.  Faith, however, isn’t blind.

It’s kind of like that with God, too.  Our personal faith is not a blind faith.  We have the wisdom of those gone before us, teaching us that the wisest words ever written are in a book written by God Himself.  The very richest morsels of life are easily available.

There’s one more thing that buckskins have.  Attitude.  And that’s a topic for another post……


One response to this post.

  1. “The ones who think will take the time to consider where the riches of this world truly lie.”

    I don’t know why this line got to me… I suppose it’s because I often feel painted as an idiotic cow by the rest of the world. But it’s a nugget for me to contemplate tonight.

    I love your way with words.
    Word pictures, really.
    It’s almost like sipping some coffee while listening to you remember your day. Honesty, clarity, details (but not overly so), and you all come out onto the page. The you part is what I appreciate the most. Allow me to explain… your voice is strong – not to be pushed aside by the thesaurus or the ‘rightness’ of your opinion. I’m glad that you’re there as I would so much rather hear that than what most get bogged down in. Does that make sense at all?

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