To Kaybob (my first horse)

My father thrilled at the ocean’s swell

And his father sailed the main

And though I sought the hill and dell

My son was called to the sea again.

But to me, the deck of a mighty galleon

Took second to a Spanish steed

And the sea of grass and a snorting stallion

Did my heart’s fancy feed!

As if from the womb a dream was mine

To sail the mountains and prairie

On the deck of a native cayuse fine

Who’s heart bore the whims of a fairie

Whose hooves were his wings and keel

And his flowing mane his sail

And the wind of the west my face did feel

My rudder his midnight tail

My kingdom is of clouds and cattle and grass

My throne of Iberian leather

And when you hear hoofbeats as I pass

You’ll know that my heart is a feather

Leopard Doggerel

It’s a Catahoula she said to me

As she led her pooch down the sidewalk

She was all outfitted oh so fashionably

And she knew all the in-crowd dog talk

So I didn’t say much as I hobbled on by

Thinkin’ thoughts of the pasture and past

We called them Lepperds, don’t know why

And our training was purty half assed!

Instead of a leash with a recoiling spring

Ours were chained to a blackjack oak

And we didn’t walk them or do anything

To groom them,we thought that was a joke

Their job was a hard one, and their life was Spartan

For their main job was herdin’ Wild cattle

They weren’t pampered or babied that’s certain

We just whistled and yelled at ‘em from up in the saddle

A leopard gyp pup had to learn from her mom

How to get up in front of a wild runnin’ bunch

And to go for the nose of a crossbred phenomenon

And to hold them, but not listen much

Unlike Border Collies they weren’t communicators

They worked off of instinct and toughness

Their diet was deer bones and leftover taters

And their mainstay was hyperactivity and roughness

So if I don’t seem like such a metropolitan guy

Nor appreciate the finer points of the breed

Maybe this little jingle will help you see why

Just Leopard dogs is all the name that they need


Happy Halloween!!

Just when you thought t was safe to open your ‘pooter here’s another bimonthly blog from the cochran corral!

With some lame excuse about being busy, here’s the October fun-down. After spending the first week getting myself and granddaughter ready for a national horse show, we hosted a respected horse trainer and friend at our ranch for two weeks.

While I learned huge amounts of his secrets of how horses learn, we sprinted off one Saturday to attend a family reunion near San Antonio.

We worked several horses a day for another week, then pulled out the chuck wagon to cook chili, beans, taters, sourdough bread, and cobbler.

It was for a celebration of our several October birthdays and a cowgirl quinceanera!

And here it is Halloween already.

Meanwhile Texas got much needed rain from a pacific hurricane. Problem is, it wouldn’t stop. No one had enough hay for the winter, after a dry spring and summer. So we rejoiced, and many fertilized. But after weeks of wet, we couldn’t string together four dry days to get hay cut, dried, raked, and rolled up.

One neighbor found a window and teddered a fifty acre field twice a day. Another one cut just before a rain and baled up black, dead grass, hoping not to repeat a performance earlier in the year when a smoldering roll burst into flames with spontaneous combustion!

Of course no fall party is complete without an army worm invasion, and here they came, stripping fields in only days if they didn’t get sprayed with insecticide. Caterpillars of the moth Spodoptera Frugiperda are voracious and can do even more damage than the feral “hawgs” that have also returned!

So here comes Halloween with ghosts and goblins, but nothing is as scary as trying to survive the livestock “business”.

Once upon a time a friend invited me to go to Las Vegas.

I declined.

When he asked if I had scruples against gambling I replied,

Hell, no, I’m involved with the biggest gamble of all—AGRICULTURE!”


In the country of mesquite, live oak, and prickly pear

The rodeo was crankin’ at the county fair.

Cowboys had changed shirts three times from the heat

And the line to buy snow cones stretched out to the street!

Ranch women who never wasted money on programs

We’re using them on this breezeless night for fans.

And the Latigos on saddles and the straps on the bulls

Wouldn’t run freely, no matter how hard you pulls.

Horses that normally looked palomino and roan

Because of the sweat, were all just plain dark brown.

It was the month of October, the first month of Fall

But in the South Texas brush that meant nothing at all.

The announcer was wiping his sweat with a towel

As he tried to read names where the ink had run foul.

And the ropers complained that their ropes were so sticky

That building a loop could be downright tricky.

Some cowboy’s cursed the vaqueros of Arizona

Where latigos run free and your shirt don’t stick on ya!

But to a man, woman, and child was one thought and no other,

They were all prayin’ that soon we would see our first Norther!