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Castlegar, British Columbia
About John Pasqualotto




One Last Gather

The snow drifts in through the tack room door;

Cold leather and bones creak in unison.

The cow pony is hunched up in the corral--

One Last Gather, gotta get those stragglers in.

I'm bundled up good-tough to swing in the saddle;

The geldin' crow hops the first little bit.

Perhaps we both resent what we have to do--

One Last Gather, gotta get those stragglers in.

We're lined out now, headed towards the timber;

Sidestep to an old track, I curse the wind.

I chuckle to myself, no help from fair-weather cowboys today--

One Last Gather, gotta get those stragglers in.

"There must be something wrong with me," I'm thinkin' out loud;

Nothing seems to change from year to year.

Whether in the Flatlands or in the Mountains--

One Last Gather, gotta get those stragglers in.

"Complainin' don't get the job done," I'm thinkin' out loud again;

I tear off a piece of jerky, and set my face like flint.

The gelding's ears twitch to the distant sounds of moaning cattle--

One Last Gather, gonna get those stragglers in.

© 2005, John Pasqualotto
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


Startin' Off Right is the Right Thing to Do

A good beginning makes all the difference--

I believe this statement to be true,

Whether working with livestock or humans,

Startin' Off Right Is The Right Thing To Do.

My Honeymoon was a good example,

A solid foundation for the future years,

To strengthen my relationship with my Wife,

Through the laughter and the tears.

A Spring Wedding in the Flatlands of Saskatchewan,

Then off to the Mountains of BC,

A couple of saddle horses and my Ol' Cow Dog,

My Prairie Bride and Me.

Now things didn't start off that smooth--

A flat in a storm slowed us down a bit.

But we worked like a team and got things done-

I fixed and fed, while she got the woodstove lit.

A simple cabin by a creek,

No modern amenities of any kind.

Lots of time to just BE--

Startin' Off Right, leaving distractions behind.

Exploring the mountains on horseback.

Walking hand-in-hand by a stream.

Dutch oven cooking under a tarp.

Playing cards by lantern beam.

Having our first good "scrap."

Then taking the time to talk and "make up."

Asking the Lord for guidance.

Enjoying coffee from weathered cups.

Those ten days were most important,

They set a tone for future days,

As Life has led us through different experiences,

Meeting many people along the way.

And in the End, I guess a mentor's advice,

Continues to show to be true--

Whether workin' a colt, or workin' on a marriage,

Startin' Off Right Is The Right Thing To Do.

© 2006, John Pasqualotto
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


John told us: With regards to what inspired me to write "Startin' Off Right Is The Right Thing To Do"...I guess I was trying to draw a parallel between our relationships with livestock and our relationships with other humans. It seems that in certain circles, people will talk forever about how important it is to start colts a certain way, or to start a Gather a certain way, but when the conversation turns to a possible future spouse, the livestock logic seems to go out the window.  Taking time away from the distractions of daily life can help us see what really is important, and what actions we need to take to get things headed back in the right direction.



Picture Perfect

Looking out towards the field,

no horses could be seen.

Another search out in the Cold --

I wasn't really keen.

The only horse that stuck around

was one stuck in a pen.

I led the mare out to the barn --

had her saddled at half past ten.

"C'mon, Chilco.let's get to work,"

and off we slipped through the trees.

Rode to the river and found fence down --

we started to track the escapee's.

The little mare seemed to act like a hound,

her nose strained through the bosal.

She whinnied softly, smelling the tracks --

snowflakes began to fall.

Coming out of the creek bed we found the bunch,

grazing quietly, hidden by the brush.

I slowly eased around the cavvy --

Experience told me not to rush.

And then it happened.tough to explain:

flared nostrils, steam, snorting sounds filled the air;

chunks of snow flying from thundering hooves;

war whoops, brush popping, and flashes of horsehair.

And for a moment, things were Picture Perfect.

I was part of a calendar scene.

A snapshot in time taught me a valuable lesson --

never take for granted what seems routine

© 2006, John Pasqualotto
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


John told us, "...this poem is based on an experience when I used to work off a place along the Similkameen River in British Columbia.  It was February, and other than feeding chores, things were kinda slow. The saddle horses were not getting much work, and one particular gelding was leading the whole group out on little day "escapes" -- I was getting a little tired of chasing them back. Anyways, on one particular day, I realized that I was taking many things for granted about my particular situation...a moment of grace helped me appreciate what I was a part of at that time. Reading this poem brings back many memories for me...chasing those horses through the cottonwood trees...riding that little mare that we had chased off the reserve the year before --there is just something special about gathering horses in the winter (beyond the frozen body parts!)."

What the Heck You Are Thinkin'

Sparky!! Quit it now!!

Just what has got into you?!!

A simple ride to get the mail

has turned into World War II.

I can't believe you are actin' this way;

you reared up and off I came.

The neighbour kindly helped me corner you -

guess I'm lookin' for someone to blame.

I know I don't ride for wages no more,

don't stick to the saddle like I used to.

And you are in a similar boat,

no longer part of a workin' crew.

But I just can't figure it out -

you must be tryin' to bluff.

This new "colt" behaviour is mighty strange

for an experienced hoss that is plenty tough.

Since when did you become scared of dogs?

We always rode with one at our side.

And mud and sloughs never bothered you,

now you hesitate at "trickles" twelve inches wide.

You seem to balk at little things -

you are snortin' and dancin' around.

I'm quite bewildered considerin'

your resume is really quite sound.

So please do me a favour, my Equine Pard -

let me know just What the Heck You Are Thinkin'.

'Cause if I have a few more rides like today,

I just might go back to drinkin'!!

© 2006, John Pasqualotto
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

John told us: About a year ago, I went back to Saskatchewan to pick up a horse for my Dad. "Sparky" was a horse that I had started awhile back when I was riding pasture for my father-in-law.  No matter what I asked him to do while working stock, he was there for me...even though he was only a  four year old at the time, he seemed to have a lot of savvy.  Anyways, last winter Sparky stayed at my place and our first ride to get the mail was unexpectedly "eventful!!"  Since his behavior was quite out-of-character for him, I decided to write a poem about it.  The good news is that we eventually came to an understanding again, and most importantly, my Dad and him are getting along just fine (maybe it is tough for me to admit that my 73
year old Papa can tune in a horse better than I can!!).


The Dent On My Head

Just what happened there, Daddy?

You mean the dent on my head?

I'll tell this story but once, son;

I sorta came back from the dead.

I was fencin' with your Grandpa,

We were workin' by a slough.

I rode out on Ol' Copper,

While he drove the pickup through.

We were missin' a few posts

And the alkali was hard.

Papa handed me the pounder,

"Start to poundin', lil' pard."

Something prepped my demise,

Before the work commenced.

That day I wore a ball cap,

No traditions while workin' fence.

As you know I'm not a tall man,

And the work was mighty tough.

Reachin' high, pullin' down hard,

The strain was pretty rough.

Then my overzealous nature

Really got the best of me.

It was a Post Pounding Mishap,

The way it shouldn't be.

The hand-held pounder skipped,

Drove that beanie in my head.

I collapsed on bended knee,

Heard hollow sounds, saw streams of red.

Your Papa winced his face,

And looked a little tense.

Then he took the pounder from me,

Went back to fixin' fence.

I recovered rather quickly,

Though my noggin' throbbed with pain.

Stuffed a hanky in my hat,

Went back to workin' with the sane.

So son, that there's the story;

A tale that you should know.

The Dent On My Head

It was a preventable blow.

Geez, Dad
—thanks a lot.

Abundant Truth has been revealed:

Take your time while pounding posts,

And leave your ball cap at the field!

© 2006, John Pasqualotto
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.




About John Pasqualotto:

I was born and raised in southern British Columbia, and grew up listening to my parent's stories about their past experiences working with livestock.  As for myself, I really only became more active with horses in my early 20's; eventually, I began working with a particular rancher in the South Okanagan region of BC, and things just went from there. In those early years, my learning curve was pretty steep, but my mentors were pretty patient (most of the time!!).  Through different ramblings across Western Canada, I eventually met my wife, Danielle. Although we worked for a time on her parents' ranch in Saskatchewan, we are now presently living back in BC, raising our 4 sons, and still trying to keep a hand in cattle, horses and even the odd mule.



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