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Garden Valley, California
About Sharon Gonzales

photo by Victoria Boyd





Trailer-Pullin' 101

I yearned for my own cowgirl rig - a truck and trailer set.
Then I could come and go at will, be truly independent.
I traded in my Mustang for the cutest little Ranger.
Then found a gooseneck two-horse that even had a manger.

I didn't have a problem just cruisin' down the road.
Smiling as I drove along, pullin' my one-horse load.
Problem was when I got home -- no place to turn around.
I'd have to learn to back this thing, I firmly stood my ground.

The mister played it down somewhat - it's easy as you please.
He never had a problem - always backed his rig with ease.
We headed to a parking lot to start my backing lesson.
Why, within a matter of minutes, you could surely hear me cussin'!

Watching in the side rear view, I try to read hand signs.
Signals guiding backward motion in between the lines.
Left is right and right is left; I'll surely lose my mind.
It zigs, it zags, too fast, too slow - I must be going blind!

How do those truckers do it?  I simply am amazed.
A glance into the mirror reveals my man is in a daze.
He shakes his head, he waves his hands; I think I flunked the test.
Maybe I should just sit back and let him do the rest.

Not the kind to give up easy, I straighten out the mess.
Keep backin' up and going forward; oh my God, the stress!
Hubby gives up trying -- seems I just don't listen.
Gotta do this on my own, a "learned-the-hard-way" lesson.

There were a couple times, I truly must admit.
I got down from the cab, slammed the door, and quit.
Motor running, horse a pawin' - I didn't care a bit.
Kickin' gravel as I went, mad enough to spit.

I've held up traffic now and then, my rig at awkward angles.
Trying to avoid the fence, or fender not to mangle.
No trophies line the mantle for "The Greatest Driver Alive."
BUT:  I finally learned to push that trailer right into the drive.

2000, Sharon Gonzales 
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

Sharon told us: I wrote this particular poem in September 2000 at the suggestion of my horse trainer, Joni Carvin of Galt, California.  I was taking lessons with my colt while he was in training at Joni's facility.  I grew tired of always having my husband drive me and my horse over to my lessons, and wanted to do it myself.  I bought a Ford Ranger and then we found a gooseneck two-horse trailer.  We lived on a busy road with a short driveway and no turn around on the property.  Thus, I had to learn to back in off a busy two-lane road into a narrow, gated driveway.

Sharon Gonzales and Shadow

Sharon points out that the photo above is "of me and my little horse, Shadow, who had to stand in that darned trailer while I figured out how to park it."


Sale Yard Blues

Hmmm . . . is that the door I hear so early this morning?  Sure is early to feed.
Must be going somewhere today.  Yep!  Here she comes with hay for her trusty steed.
The truck and trailer are ready to go, hooked up and waiting in the drive.
Wheeeee!!  I'm feeling good this morning! it's great to be alive.

I'm brushed and saddled, fly sprayed too - my coat is glossy brown.
She loads me in the trailer, and off we go to town.
Let's see where we've come to - I hop out and look around.
It's the place with all the trucks and cattle, slippery concrete on the ground.

The pens look pretty full today -- I see horns and tails galore.
Glad I'm feeling frisky 'cause this is a job I do adore.
Through a gate, or two, or three, which barely gets us started,
I watch as horse and rider down the lane are nearly parted.

We trot from pen to pen and back, we hurry up and wait.
When the sorters want another group, we'd better not be late.
Whew!  It's hot out back here in the glaring midday sun.
A long cool drink of water will be waiting when I'm done.

Some pens are small, some are large, there's Herefords, Angus too.
Small calves are pressed against the fence; the cows are comin' through.
The day wears on, the cattle move from alley to sale arena.
The way I get around this place, you'd think I'm Doc O'Lena!

My saddle pad has slipped a bit, there's sweat upon my brow.
A bull escapes into the lane, his eyes upon a cow.
I steal a sip of water from a trough as we rush by.
The water's kinda green, I know, but boy, my mouth is dry.

My legs are growing weary, the sun is sinking low.
2,000 head we've moved today -- I'm walkin' kinda slow.
We finish with the last bunch, and by now my tail is draggin'.
Just point me toward the parkin' lot and load me in the wagon.

Aauuhh, back home again, the feeder's full, I munch upon my hay.
I might be sore and tired, but I made it through the day.
Not feelin' quite so frisky now, I think I'll take a snooze.
The only cure I know of when you've got the sale yard blues.

2000, Sharon Gonzales 
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.




We've been together several years, me and my darling colt.
The doldrums have set in I guess - we need some kind of jolt.
What once was new has lost its shine, the challenge now is lost.
I search for methods tried and true, but must keep down the cost.

For the most part things are dandy; we have a real good time.
His lope is smooth as glass, you know - he stops upon a dime.
If in the mood, he'll roll back nice and lope away just fine.
He'll side pass to the left and right, 'n back a nice straight line.

These accomplishments weren't easy; it took us both a while.
I remember when our lessons didn't leave me with a smile.
So why on earth, you ask me, do I want to start all over?
I could just watch the clouds roll by while lying in the clover.

I feel there's something missing, a camaraderie of sorts.
I sense reluctance on his part for my choice of sports.
I'd like to form a partnership - a strong, unbroken bond.
Sure wish Pat Parelli could just wave his magic wand!

With the internet and e-mail, magazines and DVD's,
If you still don't have the perfect horse, tune in to RFD!
I'm not alone along this path in search of greater knowledge.
Do you believe it? There's a waiting list to enter "horsey college."

I've read a book or two about the way that horses think.
How they worry they'll get eaten when they go to get a drink.
There are things I never thought of which now I must consider.
I didn't know my horse was thinking he might be my dinner.

With lesson book in one hand, plus a lead rope and a stick,
Armed with tools and knowledge, I'm praying that we click.
He thinks that I've gone crazy -- I think he's playing dumb.
We struggle with new concepts until both our minds are numb.

I'm just at the beginning of this new chapter in my life.
Don't know how far I'll make it, through all the stress and strife.
With tangled rope and angry horse, I'm sure I make a sight.
But 'til then I have my dream - that separate souls unite.

2005, Sharon Gonzales 
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


Sharon told us: As you may know, the beginning level of Parelli Natural Horsemanship (Level 1) is called the "partnership" level.  I wrote "Partners" based on my experiences with Shadow as I worked through Level 1.  It was very rewarding, but often frustrating.  There's more truth than fiction to "tangled rope and angry horse!"  But we stuck with it and prevailed and are now "official" Level 1 graduates.  Whew!   Onward and upward ...


Camp Joni

Some folks send their kids to camp when summertime arrives.
There's Gitchagoomie, Hiawatha and Haven in the Pines.
My kid's a little different, as some of you folks know.
You may have heard some stories of me and my Shadow.

A year has passed, Shadow's three, and spring is in the air.
The time has come to ride again, to add finesse and flair.
With stronger legs and muscles, my little Shadow pony
is all packed up and ready for his road trip to "Camp Joni."

His camp's a little different - no canoes or tents in sight.
He won't learn to play badminton or make s'more's at night.
He learns to stand with patience, cotton hobbles on his legs.
He learns to side pass gracefully and stand beside a gate.

He's not the only one, you know, who must attend this camp.
For I must learn along with him 'cause he's a little scamp.
He'll always be a challenge and my skills I must advance.
'Cause when you're riding Shadow you play a game of chance.

Joni takes him to the sale yard working cattle all day long.
I've seen him standing in the back too pooped to even yawn.
Be brave my little Shadow, our hearts pound above the din.
Past barking dogs and banging tin, sheets blowing in the wind.

I stand up in the saddle, learning balance as I go.
I learn to draw stop from a lope without saying "whoa."
We step upon each other's toes while learning how to dance.
Knowing that another lesson brings another chance.

Loping, trotting, spooking, jogging, "riding out the storm."
Hoping that by summer's end this won't become the norm.
My little Shadow dancer, oh how I love you so.
But just remember come next year it's back to camp you go!

2005, Sharon Gonzales 
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

Sharon told us: Joni Carvin has a devoted group of clients/reining students who affectionately nicknamed her place "Camp Joni," where Shadow received his training as a 2-, 3- and 4-year old.  This poem tells of some of my adventures with Shadow and Joni while he was in training.



Ranch Rig

What I lack in outward beauty I make up for with brute strength.
With a trailer loaded to the hilt, I'm still leading by a length.
My floor boards might be rusted through, the windows need a crank.
Or I might have all the latest gadgets and my pink slip's at the bank.

My paint may need a wax job; I might have a fancy logo on my door.
I could be muddy front to back, or fresh off the showroom floor.
Some owners show their pride in me with a special license holder.
Maybe "Drive it like you stole it" or something slightly bolder.

If you glance behind the driver's seat no tellin' what you'll find.
A rope, some spurs, fence pliers, some strands of bailin' twine.
You might see me on the highway or parked at the local sale yard.
With a trailer full of horses and three cow dogs standing guard.

Some days you just might find me axle deep in cow manure.
Haulin' fence posts, hay and cattle makes me happy, that's for sure.
I turn the heads of cowboys and girls' eyes twinkle with delight.
Folks think I'm purdy sexy -  with my flatbed, dually wheels, cab lights.

You might see a lasso rope or a Stetson hangin' from my gun rack.
A pair of little "trucker girls" and dual chrome exhaust stacks.
I'm big and noisy, long and wide - even more so with a trailer.
I'm a proud, hard-working "land yacht" with a cowboy as my sailor.

2006, Sharon Gonzales 
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

Sharon told us:  I have always loved big ol' flat-bed dually trucks with their cowboy drivers, and dogs hangin' off the sides, stock trailers behind.  They turn my head every time.  My husband has one.  My friends have them.  Then not too long ago I got my first dually.  Not long after, so did one of my friends.  Her husband already has one.  They're everywhere!  I love 'em and figured I'm not the only one.  

I don't know who's truck this is, but when I saw it parked there in front
of that beautiful old barn, and just had to stop, backup, and snap this
photo out of the window of my ranch rig!


Read Sharon Gonzales'

Cat Tales in our Art Spur Project


About Sharon Gonzales:

I started writing cowboy poetry after a few friends of mine started reciting poetry around the evening campfire at our friends' spring and fall brandings.  I wanted to be a part of it.  The poetry reading after each branding is now a tradition of our "branding family" and we cowgirl poets always try to have at least one new poem for each branding.  One of my closest friends and fellow poets, Victoria Boyd, keeps me motivated and inspired.

Friends and Parelli partners Victoria Boyd and Sharon Gonzales



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