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"Croppie the Cowhorse"

He wasn't big, not big in size
But he had the heart of a lion
No not big, but a horse, all horse
Who would either do or die a trying
A little sorrel with both ears cropped
He'd lost them in a freeze
He'd buck sometimes, just for fun
Just to stir up a breeze
I broke him in as a four year old
And did we have some fun
Before our fights were over,
He had several notches on his gun.
But soon he learned some faith in me
As I kinda learned his ways.
Then he learned about the cows
An' those were some happy days.
I say he learned, cause he had sense
He just naturally knew a cow.
Just show him once, thats all it took
An' then he savvied how.
Like one time we roped in a rodeo
Though in front of a crowd I'm shy
We capped the money, through my fool luck
And Croppie's knowing why.
The boy's all wanted to trade for him
Even the boss hisself.
But I told him if you take him,
You'll lose this cowboy, Alf.
The boss, he knowed the cowboy's way
He kinda grinned and said
"The only time I'll get that hoss,
I reckon is when you're dead."
So time rocked on, and Croppie and me
Worked many a roundup through.
An' when it came his turn to work,
He did his job true blue.
'Til came the day the boss
sent some of us cowhands
To gather some salty wild old steers
Out of the big badlands.
Well Croppie an' me, we jumped a steer
Wild as a black tailed deer.
And down the mountain, with us on his tail
The steer was runnin wild with fear.
We was gaining on him, an' I was building a loop
When Croppie hit a soft spot,
An' we rolled down the hill like a hoop.
Well, all I got was scratches
And a bump on my head like an egg.
But when I looked at Croppie, he had a busted leg.
I put my arms around him,
I thought my heart would break.
An' Croppie, I knew, was hurtin'
Cause I could feel him shiver an' shake.
I knew it was an act of mercy,
But with a heart still sick and sore.
All I could say was "Goodbye old pard"
Then the report of a .44.
The boys declared it a holiday
To bury this little cow horse,
Top horse of the outfit, sure enough
From wrangler all the way up to boss.
As they threw the sod over top of him,
Out there in the open air
Ol' Deacon Bob, he up an' says
"I think I'll say a prayer."
He bowed his head and cleared his throat
Sorta wiped his eyes and read this note.
"Dear boss of the starry ranges,
Take care of this little cow hoss.
He died performing his duties,
And we all sure feel his loss.
Please put him on good feed an' water
up there on your starry range.
An' give him some cowhorse buddies
So the place won't seem so strange.
For this kinda hoss must have a heaven,
The same as there is for men.
Just let him run, or graze, or rest.
Take care of him God. Amen."
Maybe the vet will say
"But he was only a horse,
Only an animal. He had no soul
For him there's no heaven, of course."
How do we know he had no soul,
We know he had brains and nerve.
He could do almost everything but talk
An' was always willing to serve.
Now I think when I ride my last roundup
An' cross that great divide,
That old Croppie horse will be waiting there
To take me for a ride.
An' when I saddle up and step aboard,
I know he'll just stand there.
With a humped up back and a look in his eye
That says "Touch me if you dare"
But I'll know him an' he'll know me
We'll know its just in fun.
He'll buck a little easy like,
And then cut loose and run.
Maybe we'll rope the North Star Bear
Just to strut our stuff.
Old Croppie an' me on that ol' starry range,
I think will be heaven enough.

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