What, you may ask, is the difference between a cowboy and a horseman? Don't they both ride wild bucking horses and punch cows? Well, I'm here to tell you that I've never even been ANGRY with a cow, let alone punch one. Some folks just assume that anyone in a ten gallon hat and fancy boots is a "Cowboy". This is simply just not true. In the purest sense of the word, a cowboy is one who tends cattle or horses; usually a mounted cattle-ranch hand. Then we have the other incarnation of the "cowboy". We have folks who ride animals who are forced to buck for the entertainment pleasure of the masses. I will not say that it doesn't take skill to stay on top of an 1000+lb animal trying to turn inside out, but, again, not my speed. The real unsung heroes of the equine world are those of us, like myself that take colts and turn them into loving, willing partners for every day, ordinary folks to be able to ride and enjoy. I am a horseman. This simply means that I am a student of the horse. I approach him on equal terms, with the idea in mind that he has as much to teach me as I to teach him. I pride myself in (most days) never letting a horse know that he CAN buck. We don't live in line shacks, we don't ride the range making little dogies get along. We spend hours in the round pen and on the trail perfecting their stride so YOU can have a better ride. We don't have shoot outs at high noon, and in most cases we don't save ranchers daughters from evil thugs trying to steal her aged father's spread. We take horses who won't stand to mount, or have been taught bad habits, or are spoiled and help them to understand the joys that a working partnership with a human can be. We do not (again in most cases) hold up stage coaches or banks or shoot up the town on a saturday night after having a few belts at the local honky tonk. We are entirely too busy helping Susan, or Joe understand why they can't get mad at "Fluffy" because he doesn't understand what they are miscommunicating to him. We are helping Katie learn to sit up straight and not clutch the saddle horn for dear life just because her horse moved from a walk to a trot. A horseman(person) is just that, a person who tries to think as the horse does. So, in closing, no, I'm no cowboy. I only play one on T.V.
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