This I Believe

William - West Richland, Washington
Entered on November 1, 2006


I believe in the American Quarter Horse, the Wade saddle, the pickup truck, the V-8 engine and cowboy pride. I believe in things, animals and people which can stand the test of time and trial. I believe in things, animals and people which have not let me down in the past during even highly stressful times and situations and which will stand by me in the future.

Good horses have saved my life and have been my life. Since I was small, I have ridden horses on rough ground who would never quit and would not fall. The horses of King Ranch and Leo blood are splendid. I have felt the pure rush of coming off a mountain after the high tailed cow on horses who loved the chase as much as I did. The horse is a marvel and so forgiving of human blunders. Of the writers I know, Jane Smiley captured it best in that paragraph about the filly and the young girl.

Good saddles have served me well for decades at a time taking enormous abuse. The A-fork wade saddle may rank among the great inventions of the western world. My saddle has been soaked, covered with salty sweat, deluged with snow and frozen solid. I have roped big cattle and had my horse stick his feet in the ground such that the saddle tree shrieked with the jerk of the catch rope. It has been rolled on by horses and laced by brush. It has been my home like no other and has never failed in all the abuse.

The pickup truck coupled to the V-8 engine has been instrumental in building my ranches. I can and do go most anywhere in my pickup hauling or pulling most any load. It looks it. Hundreds of thousands of miles have passed before my windshield. Cattlemen should be jailed for the crimes they commit upon the body and soul of this splendid machine.

Mostly though, I believe in good friends. Friends have saved me, helped me and consoled me through difficulties. To paraphrase J. Frank Dobie, most men, when they reach the stage where they stiffen, find themselves disappointed in themselves and in life. Really good friends can lessen this feeling.

Look now upon a drizzly gray evening and a cowboy coming down the mountain with a small bunch of cattle which it took all day to gather under miserable conditions. He is tired, thirsty and hungry. His horse is done in with the work and the cold. As he counts the cattle through the gate, he realizes he is one calf short. Somewhere on his back trail is a small calf separated from his mother who could die tonight. The individual with cowboy pride will change horses and go back up the mountain to find the calf. He may not be much in the great orthogonality but he is all she has on that night. I believe in the people who go back