Cowboys, seems like everywhere you look someone is trying on their first pair of cowboy boots, their first pair of Wranglers or sporting their new cowboy hat.
What is it about cowboys that make this livelihood something we all wish to be a part of. We have rodeo cowboys, ranch cowboys, drug store cowboys, farm boys, purebred cattle cowboys, horse show cowboys, oh and we cant forget the rhinestone cowboys. But really why does everyone these days want to be a cowboy? Is it the pay??? Nope I can guarantee it’s not the pay. Is it the cushy office hours?? definitely not! Well what is it? I can tell you first hand what it is…… It’s the life… Nothing more, nothing less. You get to be your own boss, for the most part. You get to make a bit of money doing what you love. You get to live off the land, and be at one with nature. Most importantly you get to be something that everyone just wishes they could be. As a professional horse trainer I have had numerous clients tell me how lucky I am, I can say there where times I didn’t think so. But latlely I have come to terms that I do best under a 4 inch brim. Those darn wild horses do just drag a guy away. There is nothing like the connection that takes place when you get to work with animals everyday. I can’t always describe what the connection is, but right now I am going to try my best.
If I had a million dollars,, I’d buy me a ….. ever heard the song??? It’s a very popular song by The Bare Naked Ladies. They talk about what they would do with a million dollars and how their cares would “go away.” Seems a million bucks can make any ones troubles disappear but I can tell you another cheaper remedy. Become a cowboy! You don’t have to even become a full time cowboy to experience the pleasures of having no troubles. The reason I love horses so much, enough to make the hair on the back of my neck stand up when I think about it, is because when I am on a horse, I am truly connected. Connected to what is taking place at that exact moment, not the bill I forgot to pay yesterday, not the appointment I have tomorrow, connected…….. To right now! Some people bungy jump, other climb mountains, and we all do it for the same reason. Distraction! These things often take us away from all the painful things we think about, we really do torture ourselves! Horses keep me sane, have you ever heard the famous quote “There’s something about the outside of a horse thats good for the inside of a man.” ? Winston Churchill said that, and I believe horses did the same for him as they do for me. When you don’t have time for the mind to work overtime you become natural. The way god intended! The thing is, if you quit focusing on the task at hand when it comes to horses your liable to get bucked off, kicked, stomped, smacked, pawed and any other terrible thing that could happen. It’s that focus, that concentration of each precise moment that I crave. It’s in that moment that I realize I have a million dollars! Or at least the life I think a million bucks will get me!
I tribute this post to the old cowboys of the world. The ones who taught us what we know. The ones who gave us this gift… even though sometimes we think it’s a curse. Many of them homesteaded in North America and many of them are our dads, our moms, our grandpas and grammas and so on. If you read this post and you know what I am talking about feel free to post a picture of your cowboy hero who led you to your million dollars!
This is my grandpa, his name is Ken Stav, he grew up in Val Marie Saskatchewan chasing grasshoppers and cattle on a PFRA pasture. He later moved to Alberta where he cowboyed for numerous ranches. He settled in Turner Valley and was my first mentor. He taught me how to handle horses, and he taught me how to live. He’s my cowboy hero.
These shots were taken by a photographer from Calgary named Noah Fallis he can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org