Sunday, April 02, 2017
Lee Pitts - Putting The Horse Out To Pasture
I read an article by an economist that suggested in order to make a greater profit you should get rid of your horses and buy an ATV. Putting horses permanently out to pasture sounds like some diabolical PETA plan to me. Heck, the main reason I wanted to be a rancher in the first place was for the opportunity to climb aboard a horse on a regular basis.
It used to be the biggest coffee shop debate was between calf tables versus dragging calves to the fire. Now it's horses versus ATVs. While I admit to being in close proximity to a calf table once or twice, I've never owned an ATV. I'm sure my wife would like one and I can see a million instances where one might come in handy. But replace the horse? NEVER!
An ATV should be an adjunct to, not a replacement for, the horse.
There's an unwritten rule in the West that a cowboy should walk as little as possible and with an ATV and a horse I see no reason for a cowboy's feet to ever touch the ground. And I grudgingly admit there are pluses to owning one of these glorified golf carts. While I have been unceremoniously dumped and sent sailing by several reprobate horses, I've never been thrown to the ground by a four-wheeler. (Although I was bucked off a three wheeler back when those death machines were around.) I admit an ATV won't run back to the house and leave you stranded all by your lonesome but a horse will never run out of gas… at least the petrochemical kind.
An ATV is a cold, impersonal hunk of metal and plastic. It can't nudge you on your butt for not paying him enough attention like my horse Gentleman did. It can't pick your pockets looking for a carrot, and it can't look at you with those big, beautiful eyes that could melt an iceberg. Get rid of horses? I'd sooner be a sheepherder, pig farmer or poultry plucker. Heaven forbid.
Don't get me wrong, ATV's certainly have their place. I'm a car guy and I love everything with pistons and wheels. I think every ranch ought to own an ATV or two, but they still can't cut a cow. And where do you dally or tie hard and fast?