I have heard it said that a person only gets one really good dog and one really good horse in their lifetime. If that is the case, I have already had that one great dog and I just recently lost the best horse I’ve owned for over 23 years. I’ve never bought into this theory, but reflecting back over the years, I realized I’ve owned many other horses and dogs but none have compared to these two.
My best dog, a female Border Collie/McNabb cross, died about 10 years ago. She was a loyal companion and could really work. I could gather and move large herds of cattle with just her, and me on horseback. I would usually bring up the rear and she would work the front and sides. She would go hard to the head when asked. Unafraid to take on any animal trying to break herd, getting a hold or leaving teeth marks if needed. She was good turn back help in the pen when cutting or sorting cattle, especially on a young horse that needed a little help. I’ve had several dogs since but none compare to her.
The horse that I recently lost was a great one as well. I bought him as an unbroke two-year-old. I had only a few rides on him when it was time to go to the mountains. I had cattle on an open range area between Lake Oroville and Bucks Lake. This was always a difficult gather, with steep, bushy terrain. Just before heading up there that fall, I found my old horse lame so I had no choice but to take this colt. As a young horse he did really well, climbing steep banks and sliding down slippery slopes. Most days were long, covering many miles. He displayed a lot of heart for a two-year-old.
He went on to excel in cutting, sorting, penning and team roping. I won many buckles, cash and a saddle on him. He patterned on barrels and a neighbor girl won some barrel races on him. In his later years he turned out to be a good lesson horse allowing many non riders a safe and dependable ride. I’ve bought and sold a lot of horses, but he was by far my best all around horse. He had a lot of heart!
Looking back now I realize the three of us were a pretty good team. We were all in our prime back then and maybe that’s what made them so good. I don’t think I realized at the time just how special these two were and how privileged I was to own them both. We are not always aware of these great moments in our lives. I cherish the memories now, taking more time to reflect on what I have. I may still run across some good ones, and I will keep trying, but I doubt that I will find a pair like those two.
“There is a time for everything and a season for every activity under heaven, a time to be born and a time to die.” Ecclesiastes 3:1-2. I don’t know if animals go to heaven, but a dear friend of mine said that “when you pass away these two will be waiting outside the pearly gates to escort you in.” I look forward to heaven and by placing your faith in Jesus, God’s Son (who sacrificed his life for us), you can look forward to a great reunion as well. Rope great!