Horse Sense

If we have horses, chances are we have a truck to haul horses, or food or equipment related to horses.

It’s funny how we can sometimes get carried away with what we think we need versus what we really need. Common sense – or horse sense – should help us see more clearly, but sometimes we let our emotions have the upper hand. Over time my wife, April, and I have had our debates on pretty versus practical. I usually think that I am the one that picks the most down to earth practical side of things, but not always.

About 16 years ago, April confronted me about buying a fairly new shiny four-wheel-drive truck that was not as practical as I thought at the time. The evil in me bought it without her consent. Although I paid cash for it, I had too much to lose not to have it fully insured. I drove it for three years before April rolled it on some black ice in Colorado.

I replaced it with the truck I have had now for 14 years. Both trucks were Dodge diesels, but the current truck was three years older and only two wheel drive. This truck ended up being more practical because it is a dual-wheel one ton, and lower to the ground. Besides hauling goosenecks and pull-behind trailers, I have used it many times to haul gravel to spruce up and fill in areas near our rental units.  

The reason the person sold it to me is because she got to thinking that she better have a four-wheel-drive. Her reasoning was that her horse might get sick on a bad snowy day, and she would be up road apple creek without a paddle if she could not get her horse to the veterinarian (maybe the vets don’t make house calls there). The most practical truck for me ended up being one that was no longer fashionable, except for the 12-valve Cummins motor. Few people want a single cab, long bed, two-wheel-drive dually. Personally, I have not really had a need for four-wheel-drive that often. I have tractors for unrolling hay and getting around in bad weather. The kid in me customized the bottom half of this old truck with brown and tan camo-on-a-desert tan paint. I also put an exhaust stack with a flapper coming up in back of the passenger side cab.

With my back or side window open, I can hear my diesel motor talking to me, especially when it is pulling hard. I rest easy knowing it is paid for, and I don’t have to worry about keeping it pretty rather than working it. Since I can pay cash for another, I don’t worry about collision insurance. I have had everything major on it rebuilt except the mighty Cummins motor.

Although I like looking at newer trucks, the legacy of my mother and grandmother and their incredible saving habits are beginning to impress me more all the time. My mom taught us five kids how to stretch a dollar keeping us fed after my dad died. My grandma was a great example too. She was able to give generously to nine grandchildren even before her estate was dispersed even though she did not have a fancy income. It was obvious her happiness was not based on her money. In fact she loved to volunteer well into her later years.

Sometimes true horse sense is a tough act to follow. God help us.

Mike Daniels is a horsemanship trainer and barefoot trimming specialist from Raymondville. Email:

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