COWBOY POETRY: The Roan

Bryce Angell is a cowboy poet. Angell was raised on a farm/ranch in the St. Anthony, Idaho area with approximately 75 head of horses. Horses remain an important part of Angell's life.  Angell shares his poetry with Cache Valley Daily every Friday.

I shifted down into low gear, then hopped back on the hay and let the tractor pull the wagon on that frozen winter day.

The horses milled around behind and tried to reach the feed. I kicked the hay bales off each side and gave them what they’d need.

Our horses all looked plenty sound, especially one big roan. I’d seen too many horses in the winter, skin and bone.

I wondered why the roan had put on so much extra weight. He was no easy keeper. Looking fat was not his trait.

So I finished up the feeding and sat down to watch them eat. And I saw that roan do something, the likes of which you couldn’t beat.

The crazy roan let out a snort and scared off Dad’s old bay. Then he straddled the alfalfa and peed right on the hay.

Had I really just discovered why the roan was overweight? That he’d learned how he could get more food? Just had to urinate?

I watched the other horses then, to see what they would do. They passed up all the peed-on hay, but the big roan ate that, too.

I’ve heard of spitting in your drink so no one takes a gulp. But if someone stole my food, I’d want to beat him to a pulp.

I wondered how the horse alone could figure it all out. He was smarter than I thought, because he’d done it. There’s no doubt.

Well, we couldn’t let one greedy horse eat all the horses’ hay, so we penned him up in the corral, and there he’d have to stay.

We fed the roan his hay and straw, kept track of what he ate. We kept him on a diet, and soon he was losing weight.

I tried to be observant when I fed him every day. And I never once, from then on, saw him peeing on his hay.

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