Baxter Black: The cowboy and the vet
February 12, 2012
I’ve oft addressed the challenge of being true to the cowboy life. Remember, the cowboy’s dream is to be able to support himself throughout his life… without ever getting a job! This stubborn independence weaves them through a series of vocations as they travel down life’s trail. Vocations such as: team roper, cutting horse trainer, day-work wrangler, horse shoer auctioneer, real estate broker, saddle maker, Heel-O-Matic rep, cowboy poet, stuntman, horse whisperer, even the ministry.
But one of the most notable opportunities in the last 25 years has come as a result of the overwhelming of the veterinary profession by women! How this happened has been speculated on by pundits and authoritative figures inside and outside the profession for years. Attempts have been made to keep the profession more diverse but men have just quit signing up. Approximately 80 percent of the graduating DVMs today are women.
So what does this have to do with helping the cowboy live out his dream? First we must examine the relationship between women and horses. It is a mystical attachment. Maybe it goes back to the Garden of Eden. The horse was the only beast who understood Eve’s craving for apples. I have seen this special bond throughout my life and still cannot explain it. It is a powerful feeling to be horseback, but how does that explain their ability to often read the horse’s mind? I remember many times being called to look at a woman’s horse because she sensed it was not feeling good. I would give it a thorough examination and conclude that everything was normal, nothing was wrong with him. The next day he would be sick as a dog! They knew it somehow before it physically manifested itself.
Young girls who’ve never touched a horse have pictures on their wall of Fury, My Little Ponys, Pegasus and unicorns. They are touched by the movie Horse Whisperer and Michael Martin Murphy’s song Wildfire. Young women who grew up with pleasure horses love them, and the horse responds. They dream of growing up and being able to have a life with horses. So some go to vet school, graduate, start a practice, buy “horse property” with an arena, horse barn, dually pickup, trailer, and two or three good horses. However, she works seven days a week on other people’s horses to pay for her horse barn and her education, so she has no time to spend with her own. Then into her life rides… “Our Cowboy!”
“Howdy, ma’am, looks like you could use a little help.”
She falls for him, mostly because he pays attention to her horses; shoes them, feeds them, brushes them, cleans the stalls, scatters bedding, oils the tack and seems to be her dream come true. Then she makes the fatal mistake of giving him a credit card.
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He very quickly has someone else mucking the corrals, irrigating, hauling hay, shoein’ the horses, and mowing the lawn. He charges a roping chute on his card, along with a pen full of Corrientes, and pretty soon he’s got his cowboy friends out to the place every afternoon to rope and drink beer.
It is the perfect mating, he thinks. She is so lucky.
Eventually she figures out what’s going on and runs Our Cowboy off! It’s for the best, she tells herself, but she still has feelings for him but he’s just too hard to housebreak.
He, on the other hand, to this day cannot understand why she gave him the boot.