Written By Maureen Romej photos by Joanne Fellows
Every year in the South there’s a gathering each Spring
Open to everyone – it’s an equine thing.
It’s always open to absolutely all kinds of folks
From elegant, high-tone equestriennes to those casual cowpokes.
And on a certain Friday – a man appears out of the West.
At what this man does, he’s one of the best!
Roper, wrangler, trainer, whisperer or just plain hand
Are all different names that could easily be used by this man.
Now there may not be too many that know of his fame
But hose who did know – well – they all came.
From the North come the trainers from the dressage and jumping domain
Hoping to save the unruly colts and fillies they train.
The West sends the cowboys, wranglers and hands, of course,
To capture more pieces of the puzzle we call “horse.”
Up from the South comes that smooth talking Cajun group.
Poet David leads this rough riding, fun-loving roop.
These guys wrangle and train broncs and beauties as well as can be
But the man always shows them a little something they just didn’t see.
The East sends South the mighty Adams clan.
A stranger group of buckaroos has never been seen in this land.
They try, work sweat and always hope
But usually end up tying themselves up in a rope.
Riders arrive for reasons of safety, skill or just as a fan
And there’s a few, very few, think they know more than the man.
People come to be able to safely ride their mounts
For the horse, it’s the peace and serenity they want!
The horses come in ferocity and fear, tension and rage
From every breed known and representing every age.
Palominos, paints and every all colors between
Come to this place to see what horsemanship means!
The old and young, talented and plain comprise this varied herd
All have been brought to test this man’s every word.
He talks and moves with each colt in turn.
Attention, detail and compassion is what they learn.
We riders watch and admire in utter disbelief
To think this single man can give a horse such relief.
A horse comes in so rank and mean.
Ray just looks and says “I can handle this scene.”
He watches, waits and woos the horse to his side
Without the horse being fearful or loosing his pride.
A trembling filly comes in so terribly overwhelmingly shy
But by the end of an hour, if he suggests, she’ll try.
He offers each horse the very best deal in town
But he’s ready with sterner measures if they turn him down.
It doesn’t take long, he does it with such ease.
Soon they are walking and trotting – anything to please.
To go on to play polo, jump, cut or just ride
He gives each horse the fundamentals and their pride.
He moves very slow, but deliberate and sure
As he unlocks their feet, he’s starting the cure.
Ray goes to each animal with no prejudice or fear.
He realizes they all have something to offer, that’s why he’s here.
No tricks, restraints or gadgets for him.
He does it with confidence and an understanding grin.
He never loses patience with the horses he rides.
Unfeeling, uncaring riders however, he feels have no pride.
So when he comes every year to the South
The news spreads quickly by word of mouth.
We go and we go and will go again to seek
That elusive knowledge the just lets us peek.
Thank you Ray for giving yourself to teach what you do best.
Because of you our horses will be ready and able to meet the test.
The days are fun and filled with excitement whenever we meet.
So please Ray, don’t stop coming, I still can’t stop him with my seat!