Did you ever see a cow hand ridin’ peaceful like and slow
With his saddle hoss and bed hoss, like he had no place to go?
He travels at an easy jog or mebby so a walk,
But he’s lookin’ at the country and he notices the stock.
He figgers grass and water like a man that understands
And any stuff that’s close enough he reads the marks and brands.
He recollects the ones that strays, and where they can be found.
And all the time he’s doin’ that he’s lookin’ at the ground.
He sees a couple places where a snake has crossed the trail.
He finds the tracks of foxes or a coyote and some quail.
And in among the hoss tracks, in the sand or on the sod,
He cuts another rider’s trail. At least the horse was shod.
At some corral or water hole he camps along the way.
He brushes out the cattle tracks. He’ll have a look next day.
He is up again and stirrin’ just as soon as it is light
He knows about how many head came there to drink that night.
He studies wind and weather: in fact most everything.
The buzzards in the distance round some water hole or spring.
When he gets to where he’s goin’ he turns his hosses out.
He meets the boss or foreman. There’s a heap to talk about.
He has seen a lot, this cow hand that was travelin’ peaceful slow
With his saddle hoss and pack hoss like he had no place to go.
“A Good Cowboy” by Bruce Kiskaddon was originally published in The Cattleman, 1948.