Barrel Horse Breeders

Poems and Thoughts

You are welcome to share these but please give credit to author: Sue Karges

I believe in always living each day, each moment, as if it were your last. Because someday it will be! That’s why it’s so important to dream and make dreams come true (or at least give it your best shot) because if you’re lucky enough to get old – you don’t want to say “I wish I had: 1) done, 2) said, 3) tried, 4) shared, that.” That’s also why I think it’s important to always be kind, thoughtful, generous, and cheerful. Since every moment we are alive is this important, why spoil a moment for yourself or someone else?

summer 2007 thoughtful watercolor

Round Pen Reasoning
by sue karges

For many years I have treasured the task
Of starting young horses on their life’s path.
As I taught I learned
As they worked they earned
My profound awe of what they will try to do
Simply because we ask them to.

We study bloodlines, dream and plan,
For them to do things they don’t understand.
We ask them to yield, and flex and bend
To accomplish goals they can’t comprehend.
We expect their best efforts even when they hurt
We win our rewards from their tracks in the dirt.

No clearer time do I question this than when
I first turn a colt into the round pen.
He comes in scared with his head in the air
Searching for a hole in the wall that isn’t there.
As his feet go faster his brain is on hold
And then the mystery begins to unfold.

As he circles in vain he runs low on air
And begins to see things that are with him in there.
His eyes fall on me and the panic renews
But I stand without threat as his brain gets the news.
He begins to realize it’s just him and me in the pen
And from there on it’s time for his work to begin.

His fear and his own will are what stand in the way
Of the horse he needs to become some day.
As I patiently begin to teach him to trust
I make the “wrong thing” as hard as I must
Yet the “right thing” will be his full life of reward
And that’s when my thoughts turn to my Lord.

How we humans struggle and circle in vain
Thinking we are in control as we go round again.
How tired God must get of our constant willful sin
Waiting for us to “join up” and come in.
How we get mad and fight and run into the wall
Thinking we can ignore God and get away from it all.

What a patient and loving trainer my Lord must be
That he waited so long in the middle for me.
Because He knows my purpose and has His own plan
If I yield to his training and trust to his hand.
I finally figured out if I give him my reins
Then I am set free from my fears and my pains.

Every colt that I start is a lesson for me
As I’m teaching I’m learning what trusting should be.
The more I ask of them I am learning to see
That I need to be asking what God’s asking of me.
And most of all, just like the colt in the pen
Just to take a step at a time as I listen to Him.

When that colt finally turns a soft eye to me
His eye is a mirror of God’s love for me.



The sky is not so blue today
My oldest friend has passed away.
Five hundred miles away am I,
I guess I never thought he’d die.

My mind drifts back through all the years
To the day we met, it seems so clear.
He was 8 years old and so mature
And I was but a child of four.

So many summers drifted by
And we loved the sun, my friend and I.
Though Sandy was 4 years older than me
He was very wise and full of sympathy.

I can’t count the times that I cried on his shoulder,
And I wonder if he understood as I grew older.
As the years drifted us apart, I knew it wasn’t fair.
And when I’d cry with broken heart, Sandy was always there.

I know he missed my visits, as the days turned into years.
And I wonder if he ever cried, though I never saw the tears.
I moved away and rodeoed, and tried to be a cowboy’s wife.
But Sandy, he stayed on the farm and lived a quiet life.

Last time I saw him he looked so old, for he was 31.
And I knew time has taken its toll, he was too weak to run.
I put my arms around his neck and kissed his head goodbye.
And though my mind accepted it, I still took the time to cry
one last time on Sandy’s shoulder. And though his eyes were dim
I know he understood the love I’ll always have for him.

For life goes on, and time goes by, and we can’t change its course.
But I thank God for 22 years with Sandy, my first horse.


The Wretched Cow
By Sue Karges

If a man can take a piece of steel,
And twist and bend it to his will,
It baffles me to ponder how
He can’t outwit a simple cow.

By noon the blizzard hadn’t stopped.
At 1:00 a pretty heifer calf was dropped.
The day calver up to his knees in snow
His frozen kneecap caught her first blow.

When they paired them out she missed the gate
And her first wreck she did create,
When she took the rope, cowboy and all,
On a mighty tumble down the draw.

At brandin’ time – caught by one leg,
She wiped out stove, doctor table and keg.
Then she kicked loose and ran off clean.
The only brand she wore was “mean”.

Before weaning they tried to catch her twice
But only got 2 miles of fence to splice.
By fall she was as wild as a deer
So they left her out with the yearlin’ steers.

By spring a fine looking girl she was.
But “pretty is – as pretty does”.
The boss said: “catch her boys, and bob her tail,
And we’ll take that rip in to the sale.

With time and horses shot, and several busted gates,
The boss was growing ansy about getting to the sale late.
The foreman said, “Don’t worry boss-we got her captured now,
You head on in, we’ll be right behind with that wretched cow”.

Two ropes wrapped around her neck and both heels stretched out tight,
Three horses blown, and one dallied thumb, she still was on the fight.
They backed the trailer to her nose, dallied off and drug her in.
Cowboys slappin’ off the dust, thought they were gonna win.

The foreman delivered to the sale one mad, rope-burned rip.
He thought the boss would understand if he paused for just a sip.
While he was wettin’ his whistle, his boss was talkin’ loud
About all the troubles he’d been having to his neighbors in the crowd.

At one point in his discourse, he waved his hands to tell his tale,
So wound up he just forgot – you don’t do that at a sale.
He instantly remembered though, when he realized with a shock
That he had just made a purchase when the gavel hit the block!

His stunned gaze drifted from the stand to what stood in the pen.
The awful truth of what had happened really hit him then;
The rancher sat with disbelief written all across his face.
He just bought back the wretched cow his hands had so long chased.



Most people have families and children,
I had a special friend.
I held him when he was a minute old,
I held him at the end.

He stood by me through heartaches
I thought I couldn’t bear.
He loved me without judgment.
When I needed him he was there.

He followed me across four states,
Helped me through a tough divorce.
When I made my stand to stand alone
It was me and him and my horse.

In a way he was my shadow,
Ever silent by my side.
I guess that’s what I miss the most
Now that he has died.

There’s just a part that’s missing now,
I feel it most when I’m alone.
For fifteen years he greeted me
Each night when I came home.

He was always glad to see me,
Smiled at everything I said.
But I turn around now and he’s not there –
Then I remember – he is dead.

I held him when he was a minute old,
I held him at the end.
When he died part of me died too.
Good bye Dawg, my old friend.


Rowdy and Matt

Sometimes once upon a life
A lucky few get blessed.
Cowboys that God Loves enough
To send His very best.

A tough young grulla gelding,
A gangly ugly roan,
Neither seemed to be the type
A cowboy would want to own.

They weren’t the simple ones to start.
Men got their share of britches dusted.
But when the work got hot and fast
They found these horses could be trusted.

Special times build special ties,
And “heart” cannot be measured.
These horses grew through miles and time
To be partners that were treasured.

They filled that special time in life
When brothers became men.
They gave their all, willingly,
When times were thick or thin.

Steadfast in joy and sadness,
Their bond with their men grew.
They shared the dreams that young men dream
And helped those dreams come true.

They were there when their men married
And then kids came around.
They kept their day jobs working stock
And then packed kids safe and sound.

They left us the same summer.
Their work done here I guess.
It sure seemed like they left too soon
The Lord recalled his best.

Perhaps He had a gather
Where He needed angels mounted.
And He knew these two would do the job
When it really counted.

Now the corral seems awful still
Without their bright eyed “howdy”.
Empty bridles hang in silence
Without Matt and Rowdy.

Even the Lord knows how rare they are,
Horses as good as that.
We’re blessed we borrowed ’em for a while.
Vaya Con Dios, Rowdy and Matt.