Disc B-2. Ray on His Tall Roan
© words & music by Annie Wilson 2014

Album Note:  This describes an actual experience I had working with
neighbors straightening out a big cattle mix-up in a remote pasture without
any sorting pens.  This cowboy and his horse had such an uncanny ability
to work with those animals that if I hadn’t seen it, I wouldn’t have believed it.

Lyrics:

We were far up in the pastures    No road for miles away
The dawn sky gray and misted    On this day in early May
Spring fires-had burned the hedge posts & the steers had crossed the fence
So now we had to check and sort  Through several hundred head

We rode the heifers’ pasture first   To gather up stray steers
Some heifers tagged along  although we tried to keep ‘em clear
We brought the whole bunch thru the gate  Where-the steers all should've
been
And took em to the corner   Where the sorting would begin

My heart sank at the prospect   This job could take us days
There-might be two hundred head here - I thought: there’s just no way
Us riders cannot do this - With no holding pens or gates
But then our neighbor Ray began   To cut out his first stray

Tall and calm on his roan gelding   He’d separate a few
His steps were slow and measured   Man and horse knew what to do
They’d guide the steers on down the fence   And push the heifers in
He was getting all these half-wild yearlings organized again

Our job was just to hold ‘em   For if they got away
We’d have to start all over  - surely try another day
We watched their moves so closely   In-case one would escape
In our stirrups tense and ready if we had to catch a stray

I chased a few wild heifers   And my horse he loved the rush
We’d guide ‘em in a big U-turn   And back into the bunch
The roan and Ray kept working    It-was a privilege to watch
Every second of their patient pace  Saved hours of work for us

At the end it seemed a mir’cle  When the sorting all was through
I felt just plain exhausted   But Ray was calm and cool
We ran the sorted heifers back   And then all headed home
And I knew I’d seen true skill that day   Of Ray on his tall roan
All photos by Dave Leiker
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music sample
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