Our farrier Kirk is a big guy, always smiling and always has a story to tell, or two or three. When I got out to the barn, Kirk had one of my quarter horse gelding’s back legs between his knees, clipping away on his hoof. I whistled so he would know I was around, and so would King. I didn’t want to startle either.
The temperature was in the high 90s. Kirk’s grey shirt was soaked and sweat was running down his face. He put King’s leg down and after slapping at a couple of horseflies, continued working on another hoof. “Damn flies,” he said. I’m sure he would have said worse if I hadn’t been there.
Been on any trail rides, I asked? That was all Kirk needed. He leaned on the corral gate, and told me he had just returned from a trail ride in Idaho. On these trips, he said he stops at rodeo grounds along the way and unloads his appaloosa gelding into one of the pens. After supper, he spreads out his cowboy tarp, sleeping bag inside, and spends the night.
“I just love sleepin’ out, looking up at the stars, and then getting up in the morning and having breakfast at some little café. I just love it!” he said again, with a big smile. Even up in the mountains when the dew is a little icy in the mornings, he said he sleeps “warm as toast” in his bed roll. “That cowboy tarp–best money I ever spent,” he said.
Finally, after several more stories, I looked at King and decided I’d better leave or that horse’s patience might run out. So, soon as I got an opening, I wished Kirk the best and retreated to my truck, still enjoying, vicariously, Kirk’s cowboy experiences. I love living in Texas!