The Old Cowhide





A rusty hook on the outside wall
Right behind the old barn door
Brings memories of an old cowhide
Which hung there years before.

The old cowhide was used so much
That we wore out three or four,
But it didn’t matter for they were cheap
Though they did a lot of chores.

For every morning I’d let down the hide
And drag it out into place,
Then Dad would load it up
As he cleaned out each stall space.

He’d saddle Old Congo who pranced and danced
While he dallied the rope ‘round the horn
And take off dragging that loaded cowhide
Then dump it below the hill by the barn.

In the wintertime us kids would run
Down to the bottom of that hill,
Then jump on the hairy side up
And ride back to the barn for a thrill.

Now that old hide was also used
To drag in cold calves in the spring,
It also hauled rocks and helped many a horse
To overcome his fear of anything.

So you can see an old cowhide
Can be a hand for many a chore.
But the thing that I wonder about
Is why they aren’t used any more?

For today’s rancher buys a big fancy spreader
Then he needs a tractor to pull it,
Now he buys a Bobcat to clean down the aisle
And joins an exercise club to keep fit.

On top of all that, he pays a horse trainer
To teach some common sense to his horse
And he’s bought a rock picker, and a four-wheel drive
To haul cold calves in of course.

Now a $30 cowhide could do just as well
And who cares what the banker would say,
‘Cause the loan’s all paid with money left over
To go on a nice holiday.

“The Old Cowhide” is from Wendy’s book, The Corral Bars are Down; Western Poems, a Rodeo of Cowboys, Cattle, Coyotes and Cayuses, illustrated by Gina McDougall-Cohoe