If I wanted to ride a glorified motorcycle for a living I’d have become a freeway cop or an X Games superstar. I’d have thought that no self-respecting cowboy would be caught dead on a Honda, but lately I’m seeing more ATVs unloaded out of goosenecks than good horses.

Just one more sign of the moral decay in this country.

There’s not a four-wheeler made that can cut a cow like a good horse, and an ATV can’t go everywhere a steer can.

I’m also curious, what do you do if you see a sick calf that needs doctoring? Where do you take your dally, on the handlebars?

Don’t misunderstand me, I’m just as lazy as the next guy and I’m a greenie too, I’m all for conserving energy, but you’re never going to catch me on the back of some Japanese cowhorse.


Not that I haven’t taken some shortcuts as a cowman. I have. In fact, I think I’m the guy who first came up with the concept of “trailering.”

Every once in a while, I have an streak of brilliance, and one day as I was saddling up my wonder-horse, Gentleman, the idea occurred to me that I could load him in my antique two-horse trailer, drive down the freeway that borders the ranch and save myself a lot of time in the saddle.

It would also “save” my horse and be safer because I wouldn’t have to risk my life riding through The Devil’s Garden with boulders the size of Volkswagens, or up the steep mountain known around these parts as Achilles Hill – so named because it was the easiest place on the ranch to get killed.

One dewy morning, Gentleman and I went skiing down the triple-black-diamond Achilles Hill on his slick horseshoes and ever since then Gentleman has shown a particular disdain for winter sports.

Other than trailering down the freeway, that was the only time he’d ever gone faster than 5 mph in his life. And did I mention that the hardest thing about riding in such country is the ground?

You had to be real careful at all times to avoid coming in contact with it, which I didn’t.

It’s a short, sticky path we follow between “trailering” your horse and becoming a “windshield cowboy,” which is cheating, plain and simple.

Riding a pickup instead of a horse is not what real cowboys are supposed to do, and I was always a little embarrassed that I would do something so un-cowboylike.

So I was really careful not to let anyone see me trailering down the highway. Especially the cops, because my trailer was missing a few things ... like lights, fenders, safety chain, current registration and an effective manure containment system.

Trailering didn’t always make life easier. Some days I trailered and some days I didn’t, depending on the task at hand.

I’ll never forget the long day Gentleman and I spent fixing fence along a really steep section. Modesty prohibits me from admitting that I’m a good pliers-man, but due to my thriftiness I can fix even the biggest breaks with a minimum of new wire.

After eight hours of fencing, Gentleman and I still had to traverse Devil’s Garden and Achilles Hill before arriving back at headquarters.

There my wife greeted me with a puzzled look on her face. “I thought you took the trailer this morning,” she stated in condescending fashion.

I paused briefly to consider the possibility and got back on my horse.

“Where are you going?” she asked.

With just a hint of dejection in my voice I replied, “I forgot something.”  end_mark