Monday, May 15, 2017

The Nicaraguan cowboy: Communicating a thousand words, without uttering one

I cannot stop thinking about a cowboy that I saw two days ago. Sierra, and I, arrived just before the end of Elise and Zoe's horseback riding lesson. Since we were just waiting for them to return from their trail ride, Sierra and I decided to walk around and check things out. In an adjacent field, I watched a kid walk up to a horse, grab the mane with his left hand and push down on the horse's hip with his right hand and sprung up onto the horse's back. The kid was barefoot. The horse was saddleless. Once the boy was on the horse he leaned forward and stretched as far as he could, until he was able to grab the tiny ropes used as reins. He was unaware that we were watching him. In fact, he was completely focused on his tasks and was in every manner a true cowboy.
   We watched him communicate to the cattle with whistles, shouts, and if needed, a stern push into the belligerent cattle with his well-mannered horse. He eventually rustled the dozen head of cattle and pushed them along. He was the only cowboy working in the field, and as I later found out, he happens to be 8 years old. He held his chest proud, even though he couldn't yet fill in his shirt. He was speaking volumes about dignity, leadership and a good work ethic, without ever uttering a word.
   My father grew up on a farm and could have easily related with this young man. However, for most of us, days of "Living off the land" are in the past, and sadly, so too are these powerful images of self reliance, regardless of age.
   Days later, and I still cannot shake this cowboy from my mind. Maybe he reminds me of what I love most about Latin America. Maybe he reminds me of how awesome my dad was. Or maybe he highlighted that some of our biggest barriers in life could be of our own creation. Regardless of inspiration, seeing this cowboy proves that virtual reality will never be as wonderful as unexpected, living outside your comfort zone, ultra reality.

Cowboys are made, they are not born.

Bareback, without shoes, and 100% cowboy.

Moving the cattle 

Leadership requires both knowledge and action and he had both in abundance.

Moving the cattle down the road to a neighboring pasture a half mile away.


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