One of the perks of living in our sister-in-law’s ranch house in Murphy, Texas is its proximity to her horses. Lisa has a little more than 30 horses on the ranch here and a few more in Gainesville, Texas. When Patti and I have watched her with her horses, Lisa appears to be in heaven. She truly enjoys working the horses.

I really appreciate the horses; don’t claim to know anything about them except what I may have learned watching My Friend Flicka, Fury, Bonanza, The Rifleman, Wanted: Dead or Alive, Bat Masterson, The Big Valley, or any of the other seemingly endless horse dramas crowding the TV set when I was younger.

K.W.'s tools of the trade -- good points front and back

When Lisa is not working the horses here, she has a good friend, Tiffany, who maintains the two barns and corrals. She also moves the hay around and makes sure the horses are fed and watered. These horses are not hurting for anything.

While Tiffany does a yeoperson’s job on this, there are a couple of other folks who help along the way. K.W. and Garrett are two folks who train and work with the horses. K.W. is a very colorful character. He’s just a couple of years older than me, but his life lessons are much richer and deeper than I could manufacture in a novel. Skinny as a rail and full of life, K.W. can tell you tales of the rodeo and his years of working horses. When I visit with K.W., I feel like I am sitting on a stool next to my grandfather listening to stories he would tell — it is truly enthralling.

Garrett is a much younger version of K.W. He also works the horses, but he tends to work with the ones that have a mind of their own. While K.W. is always good for a story or a quip (Horses are like women, you never know what you’re gonna git when you get up.), Garrett is more taciturn, quiet, youthfully confident and very purposeful in the way he works with the horses. It is truly wonderful to see the both of them work the horses out in the corral.

You really wouldn't want to braid this horse's tail from the "back" unless you have a death wish

Sometimes, when I am sitting at the kitchen table, I can look out the window to the corral. You can always tell when one of the folks working the ranch lets one of the horses from the barn into the corral. The horse takes off like a scalded tomcat, running like the wind. These horses love their corral time and the freedom from the barn stall.

I give you these descriptions because I plan to share with you both photos and stores from Tiffany, K.W. and Garrett as they come up and I can share them with you. For example, the other day K.W. and Lisa went on a trail ride with some of the horses to give them some riding experience and to just get outside. K.W. mentioned that many of the riders on the trail ride wore their “brain buckets,” as he calls them. You and I would say bike helmets, or something like that, but leave it to a cowboy to come up with more colorful language to describe a helmet.

Over the coming weeks, as the weather begins to warm and the horses lose their winter blankets, and are more photographically beautiful, I will share with you more photos and stories. For now, just enjoy a recent afternoon when K.W. and Garrett worked the horses in the corral.

Hey, it can’t be all cancer all the time — know what I mean?

Garrett works one diligently. K.W. says that when a horse swishes his/her tail back and forth when a rider is on board, the horse doesn't like what the rider is making him do. This horse's tail was in constant motion.

Garrett is working this paint in the corral. Notice how the bridle is tied to the saddle. This helps get the horse adjusted to having a bit in its mouth so when the horse has a rider, his mouth is ready for the bit and bridle.