On the Ranch...

On the Ranch
Poem by Cris Paravicini.

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by, Cris Paravicini
(First printed in The Western Horseman, April 1997)

Damn it.  Get up, old boy.  What ya doin' there,
Just shivering in the snow?
Here, let me help you.  You can do it, fella.
Let's just take it nice and slow.

You can't make it?  Well, that's okay,
Let's just pause and rest a spell.
Give it just a minute, catch your breath,
Lord, this morn' is cold as hell.

There now, friend, it's gonna be alright.
Just take a little break.
I'll hold your poor, tired head and pat your mane,
Don't matter of the time it takes.

Do you remember when we met, my pal?
Seems like only yesterday.
You were a snappy, gangly sorrel,
And you were mated with a bay.

I'd rather be with you, old hoss,
Than any human I could name,
Just listenin' to a creakin' sled,
And the jingling of your hame.

You were always there for me, old fella.
Now, I'll do the same for you.
You gave your very heart and soul,
You've been honest and so true.

Why, I remember how these old knees of yours,
Got their banged and boogered knots--
From years of bustin' through the driftin' snows;
Beat on neck yokes, and keepin' tugs taut.

You always pulled your share and more;
You never sulked or balked.
And if your mate could hold the doubletree,
You, alone, would start a sled rough-locked.

Yes, old buddy, you liked workin' on the grass,
Your head cocked out to the right.
Oh, many times I changed tugs and checks,
To even out this sight.

But this was just your workin' style,
Guess you liked the way you looked.
So I let you just continue on--head cocked right,
And to the left your tail was crooked.

And, do you remember how at harness time,
In the barn and tied to grain,
You'd act so spooked and blow a snort,
But tall and still, you would remain.

Like an armored soldier at attention,
Lookin' ready to salute,
With hames pulled tight, the pole and quarters snapped,
I'm thinkin', I'm the raw recruit.

Now, after all that we've been through,
I can't stand the end that's near.
I should wish you quick to Workhorse Heaven,
But, I'll sure miss you, hoss, I fear.

Old man, this damned cold and frozen land,
Will be the death of you and me. . . 
But. . . I'm thinkin' now, that you must be a jiggin',
Through the last gate--spirit free.

So, one last pat, old Ick, my friend.
Some day I'll be a joinin' you.
Then we'll feed the cow herd in the clouds,
Where all the sleds slip smooth and true.

Sketch of old Ichabod by my sister, Teresa Shenefelt. Ick was one of those good horses that always pulled more than his fair share of the load.

The Pearson Angus Ranch is located approximately 2 miles northwest of Daniel, and 11 miles west of Pinedale, Wyoming. Cris can be reached by e-mail at: cowgirl@wyoming.com. Copyrights: Photos and page text content copyrighted, Cris Paravicini, 2000. No part may be reproduced without permission of the author/photographer. Page graphics copyrighted, Pinedale Online, 2000.

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