Sandy Seaton Sallee

Sandy Sallee grew up at Mammoth Hot Springs in Yellowstone Park. She and her husband Scott live in a log cabin above the Yellowstone River in Paradise Valley, Montana. They own and operate Black Mountain Outfitters, a wilderness and ranch outfitting business. They also train and sell riding mules. Sandy’s original western writing has been featured in Western Horseman, the Wall Street Journal, TV shows, videos, magazines, books, and cowboy poetry gatherings nationwide. Sandy was inducted into the Montana Cowboy Poetry Hall of Fame in 1991. In 2016, the Academy of Western Artists chose Sandy as the Top Female Cowgirl Poet in the country.

OLD SHEP

By Sandy Seaton Sallee

Shep’s brown eyes would follow him wherever he would step
Masters at the game of sheep the herder man and Shep.

They’d weathered storms and blizzards, grizzlies, drought and bog
There’s no earthly bond that’s stronger, than sheepman and his dog.

The sheep were closely guarded, through that depression time
When men scratched for a living, and hoarded every dime.

The moving mass of woolies, would surely stir your soul
Lonely man and faithful dog, just made each other whole.

Shep would check the grazing ewes; his master scattered salt
Gathering the sheep around, when evening called a halt.

Simple love of dog for man, would be Shep’s lifelong guide
He proved his true devotion on the day his master died.

Rough pine casket carried east. 1936, it was
Shep would wait at station gate. The way a good dog does.

Great Northern Railway took the man, who’d been Shep’s only friend
The dog would race to meet the trains that came back ‘ round the bend.

Shep never met a freighting train, out where Missouri flowed
Well-loved throughout Fort Benton town, his vigil never slowed.

Four passenger trains each and every day. The sheepdog always there.
Hopeful tail wagging wild; for the man who’d left his care.

Brown eyes faltered through the years. His loyal legend grew.
Shep was crushed beneath a train. In Winter…’42.

STILL

Be Still. Let the Horse – Be a Horse.

Don’t push him to canter and lope figure eights
Don’t prod him to sidepass and open the gates
Don’t pen him up lonely away from his mates
Don’t hold him up tight just to see how he rates

Don’t flag him and chase him and play with his mind
Don’t scold him because he’s sulled up in a bind
Don’t watch him cross over, he can’t move his hind
Don’t cinch him unknowing, he’s wearing a blind.

Don’t spur him to sidepass and quicken his feet
Don’t bribe him and stall him with many a treat
Don’t bute him or ace him to make him compete
Don’t make him the reason that your life’s complete.

Be Still. Let the Horse – Be a Horse.

‘Cause sometimes a hoss must be wild and free
Unfettered, untouched, with complete liberty
To run if he wants to and buck and to flee
To be left alone – from you and from me.

A wet saddle blanket’s helped many a steed
The right kind of training is sure what they need
But sometimes – just sometimes – step away from your lead
Let nature take over, renewing the breed.

Be Still. Let the horse – be a horse.

We turn out our horses and mules every night
In one million acres, I sure love the sight
They’re packing only a bell in their flight
Wrangled next morning, their eyes sparkle bright

A horse is as good as his breeding and care
They’re willing to please, if you’re kind and you’re fair
But sometimes just leave them – stud, gelding, or mare
Ask them for nothing. Answer their prayer.

BE STILL.