I received a very nice Christmas gift from my nephew Tarquin and this got me to thinking about all the troubled kids Ive helped by giving them something to do and a sense of worth! I have worked right alongside my employees , and never asked them to do something I wouldn’t do . When I built the fence around my property I drug most of the poles and posts out with work horses or off the saddle horn training a young colt at the same time . I was only one person and so I had to use my time wisely as I was always riding outside colts for extra money. Ray Hunt had just come onto the scene and many of his students thought they could train their colt.Now nothing against Ray Hunt I have the utmost respect for him and his contribution to the horse world. But these people would bring their colts home and turn them out for 30 days and then get them in to ride . Well reality set in when nobody was there to help you its drizzling rain , there is a hump in old Blues back high enough to stick a basketball under and when the weight of the ” cowboy” hits the stirrup all hell breaks loose and now he is a world champion bronc!! Here is where I paid a lot of bills. I would buy these , which I preferred ,or ride them once to get the buck out of them, or for 30 days. So whatever job I was doing we used colts as much as possible . Dragging 16 foot corral poles puts a great big gentle on those soured colts. Pretty soon they are paying attention to what you are asking of them and they know that they can put in a days work and be alive and ready the next day . I think its a great way to train a colt , no matter the job , just give him something to do so he wont get bored . This is the same principal I used with troubled kids and I have helped literally hundreds. I would tell them right up front ” I wouldn’t work for me” and then sometimes I would tell them a few stories about my youth! I hunted till dark then after supper and the dishes were washed Sue bundled the kids up got extra batteries for the flashlight and we would go to shoe 2 or 3 horses a night. Sue held the light . Joe Speranoes, Duffys, Athas, any that Fred Howie couldn’t get to I shod.I told them about Richard Doney , a young local kid I fired and rehired 14 times! When he hollered at me isn’t 18 hours in a day good enough for you? I ran an ad that read as follows: Help wanted packer , guide,etc.. whiners cry babies need not apply! Didn’t get too many applicants but a 18 year old named Jaren Whitman showed up and he my friends was the real deal. In turn he brought along a kid named Wayne Thiem and well as far as work went Wayne and I rewrote history. One time we hand peeled poles from five o’clock in the morning until eleven o’clock at night . Many of these were dry poles which are 10 times harder than green. Don’t tell him but I damn near hollered Uncle. He had a temper like mine but never tried to whip me mainly because of fear and common sense.. So I tried to instill in these kids a strong work ethic and take care of yourself and be proud of what you are . The same way a broke horse with a job is proud. You don’t see animals in the wild not pulling their weight or they don’t last long . We are the same . I admit I live my life to the extreme but work hard and then play hard . When I was a young man I bragged I could outride, outfight, out dance , outwork any man alive. It didn’t always work but I had fun.. So Tarquin I appreciate the letter and Im proud of you .Dear Warren and Sue, I couldn’t bring you a gift this year so I apologize. It occured to me on the drive over here there is really only one thing I can give you. More than seven years ago you brought me on .Tolerated me for a long while before I became useful. I cant imagine how challenging it was not giving me the boot and showing me the door. Over the years, though, you were patient and gave a young boy the tools to be a man. For that , you have my never ending thanks, appreciation and love. When my friends jokingly , tell me to go to hell, I tell them I stood under the pressure of the roar and it made me a man. I am honored to be a member of Hells A Roarin Merry Christmas. Thanks Tarquin and to all the rest who helped me build this great place from nothing.