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Confessions of a Horseshoer

Description: Confessions of a Horseshoer offers a close and personal look at the mind-set of a professional horseshoer (farrier) who also happens to be a college professor. The book, an ironic and playful view of the many unusual animals (and people) Ron Tatum has encountered over thirty-seven years, is nicely balanced between straightforward presentation, self-effacing humor, and lightly seasoned wisdom. It captures the day-to-day life of a somewhat cantankerous old guy, who has attitude and strong opinions. Throughout the book, Tatum ponders the causes that led him into the apparently opposing worlds of horseshoeing, with its mud, pain, and danger, and the bookish life of a college professor. He tells the reader that it is his hope that writing the book will help him understand this apparent paradox between the physical and the mental. Tatum provides a detailed description of the horseshoeing process, its history, and why horses need shoes in the first place. The reader will learn about the dangers of shoeing horses in “Injuries I Have Known,” in which Tatum describes one particular self-inflicted injury that he claims no other horseshoer has ever, or will ever, experience. “Eight Week Syndrome” demonstrates the close, often therapeutic, relationship between the horseshoer and his or her customers. Tatum relates the story of an old Wyoming cowboy who could talk with horses, and consistently cure their injuries, lameness, and other physical problems after the veterinarians had given up. The humor in the chapters on chickens and rabbits will entertain any reader, as well as the sections on various dogs, ducks, llamas, goats, flies, and a sexually disoriented pig. Readers of western life and lovers of horses will find Confessions of a Horseshoer an informative, quirky, and delightful work full of humor, attitude, and off-beat insight.
Date: May 15, 2012
Creator: Tatum, Ron

The Modern Cowboy

Description: “The American cowboy is a mythical character who refuses to die,” says author John R. Erickson. On the one hand he is a common man: a laborer, a hired hand who works for wages. Yet in his lonely struggle against nature and animal cunning, he becomes larger than life. Who is this cowboy? Where did he come from and where is he today? Erickson addresses these questions based on firsthand observation and experience in Texas and Oklahoma. And in the process of describing and defining the modern working cowboy—his work, his tools and equipment, his horse, his roping technique, his style of dress, his relationships with his wife and his employer—Erickson gives a thorough description of modern ranching, the economic milieu in which the cowboy operates. The first edition of this book was published in 1981. For this second edition Erickson has thoroughly revised and expanded the book to discuss recent developments in cowboy culture, making The Modern Cowboy the most up-to-date source on cowboy and ranch life today. “We meet the modern cowboy (his dress depends on weather, chores, and vanity) and follow him through the year: spring roundup, branding and ‘working’ the calves; spotting problem animals and cutting them from the herd; repairing windmills and mending fences; fall roundup, and feeding animals in winter. . . . This is a lively portrait, sure to appeal to all Western buffs.”— Publishers Weekly
Date: June 15, 2004
Creator: Erickson, John R.

Through Time and the Valley

Description: The isolated Canadian River in the Texas Panhandle stretched before John Erickson and Bill Ellzey as they began a journey through time and what the locals call “the valley.” They went on horseback, as they might have traveled it a century before. Everywhere they went they talked, worked, and swapped stories with the people of the valley, piecing together a picture of what life has been like there for a hundred years. Through Time and the Valley is their story of the river—its history, its lore, its colorful characters, the comedies and tragedies that valley people have spun yarns about for generations. Outlaws, frontier wives, Indian warriors, cowboys, craftsmen, dance-hall girls, moonshiners, inventors, ranchers—all are part of the Canadian River country heritage that gives this book its vitality. “Through Time and the Valley is the finest non-scholarly account of the history, culture, and people of this region. . . . What I did notice was humor, pathos, strong characterization, crisp dialogue, and such a sense of place as to bring a lump to my throat.” — Roundup Magazine
Date: February 15, 2013
Creator: Erickson, John R.