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In my book horses rate right behind ladies and dogs on the man chart. They have a lot in common with these other divinely created creatures. All of them require a considerable amount of time and without proper attention, all three can cause a lot of trouble but I find them all worth the effort.

Through the years, different equine individuals have showed up at my doorstep. Some because of my doing and others from trying to help other people with their animals. Usually it was for a sincere reason, sometimes with a dash of pride mixed in but always for the learning experience. I have always thought that the tough individuals were worth the extra effort it took to convince them that my way was a lot easier. But as aways one individual will prove you wrong and ole’ Listo was my demise.

It was a little late in life for me to undertake such an individual; that is, with my old techniques. He taught me the first day not to go to sleep. He kicked me with both hind feet, luckily on the left thigh, instead of in the bread basket. I rode Listo for a year but not steady and not in any good working situations so Listo remained semi-broke. He wasn’t a hard bucker but tricky and smart and you had to watch him like a hawk. He was quick and very athletic.

I raised him and his daddy was one of my favorite studs because of his good disposition but none of it rubbed off on Listo. I had always blamed the previous riders for a spoiled horse’s habits but I couldn’t blame anyone but myself for Listo as I was the only one who ever touched him. I didn’t have to worry about anyone wanting to borrow him. I never did find a good home for Listo and for that I will take the blame.

Through the years I have had some very interesting equine specimens for a partner on the cow works. All of them reached a productive level of cowboy efficiency except Listo. Here again I will take the blame because I didn’t find enough honest work for him, he was convinced that his only purpose in life was to stay at the house and eat my oats. Feed buckets will sure make them gentle to catch but somebody still has to throw a leg over them everyday in order to convince them that they have to work for their oats.

Mike Capron is a featured columnist for High Minded Horseman. He’s a veteran rancher, award winning western artist and professional cowboy. You can usually find him horseback somewhere out in the Chihuahua Desert of West Texas; working his livestock, painting and living a life we all dream of.

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