Old Jake

saddle on a horse

I lay here half dozing, saddle under my head, inside an old sleeping bag 

meant for a bed. It’s too cold to sleep and I worry ’bout Jake. But, I’ll stay by the 

fire until I’m awake. I peek out from the covers to just look around. My breath turns to steam and

 it floats to the ground. The air is too cold to climb out of bed. I’m feeling a little 

like Old Sleepy Head. And then I see Jake. He has moved in close by. He’s smellin’ for snacks near 

my saddle bag tie. He’s been with me through hot and cold. His days now are 

numbered, I wish he warn’t old. Old Jake and me, we have been quite a team. We’ve ridden the fence, so it 

would seem to never run out or come to an end. We keep it upright, it’s our job 

to mend. And Jake understands when I give a command. He helps stretch the wire. A 

good old top hand. There’s nothin’ quite like a man and his horse. The two work 

like one, a powerful source. Now my old bones are feelin’ the air. The years have slipped by. It doesn’t 

seem fair. Old Jake has seen 25 years come and go. Now the two of us 

move just a little bit slow. When I was near fifty I thought to marry a handsome gal who was somewhat 

contrary to a cowboy’s ways and all that he had, especially old Jake, who was 

then just a lad. She TOLD me to choose. It was her or my horse. There was only one answer, 

and that was of course, Old Jake, who was always standin’ nearby. I said, “Take 

your dress and your flowers. GOOD-BYE.” The years have flown by. Did I make the right choice? I can talk to Old Jake. 

He don’t need a voice. Just havin’ him close next to me by the fire is better than 

any the foreman could hire. But, it’s lonely for sure, just the two of us here. Will we both be alive this 

same time in a year? No use a wonderin’, that fence is our life. We’re here to the 

end, no matter the strife. Well, the hot cakes are cookin’, a breakfast for two. And Jake will try eating 

more than a few. Then I’ll feed him some oats, toss a flake of grass hay. The 

same old routine, gettin’ ready for the day. As I look down the fence at a wide gapin’ hole, it seems to be saying, “Bring 

up your soul.” So with hammer and staples this cowboy and friend head down 

the fence line that’s never to end.


Up-to-date agriculture news in your inbox!

Previous articleWood ducks make ideal choice for birdwatching
Next articleVisiting Hawaii with the Rhodes & Benners
Bryce Angell’s father was an outfitter and guide for 35 years, and Bryce was there to shoe and care for the horses and help him do the cooking. Bryce is from Idaho and still rides into the Tetons, Yellowstone and surrounding areas. His poems are mostly of personal experience.



We are glad you have chosen to leave a comment. Please keep in mind that comments are moderated according to our comment policy.

Receive emails as this discussion progresses.