jaybudisaacsphoto by Bud Isaacs


by Jay Snider

It’s been told of good horses lost
In simple words that cowboys use
He dern sure was a good one
He’s the kind you hate to lose

He’s the kind you could depend on
In the river and the breaks
In rough country and wild cattle
He’d be the one you’d take

His efforts weren’t ruled by stature
With him you’d finish what you’d start
His limits were governed only
By the dimension of his heart

His expectations were simple
Merely fairness from a friend
But when he’d feel the need to run
It’s best not to fence him in

Pure poetry in motion
As across the plains he’d fly
A tried and true compadre
In a seasoned cowboy’s eye

His courage was unmatched by mortal men
From conquistadors to kings
Cowboys sing his praises
At roundups in the spring

Ain’t it strange how thoughts of horses lost
Mirror those of men passed on
And though they’ve gone to glory
Their spirit’s never gone

Sometimes simple words seem best
When final words we choose
He dern sure was a good one
He’s the kind you hate to lose

© 2003, Jay Snider, used with permission
Third-generation Oklahoma cowboy and rancher Jay Snider told us about his poem:

The inspiration for this poem came to me on December 7, 2002. I had to put down a little bay stud that we owned for near a dozen years. Cancer had invaded one of his kidneys and the vet gave him little hope. It truly was a sad day for us. I remember telling my wife and sons,  “Doc sure was a good one. He’s the kind you hate to lose.”

That same day, I had been asked to do a poem at an old man’s funeral that lived north of where we live. He was as good a cowman as ever came out of our country. After the service, his eldest son said to me, “Dad sure was a good one. He’s the kind you hate to lose.”

I could not get those words out of my mind. I started this poem that night; however, I could not finish it until March 19, 2003 when we received word that Larry McWhorter had passed away. Then it came to me what I had been trying to say all along.”

Jay is appreciated as well for his fine reciting. Enjoy his rendition of Sunny Hancock’s (1931-2003) “The Bear Tale” in a video from the Western Folklife Center’s 2011 National Cowboy Poetry Gathering here.

See a Western Horseman video about Jay Snider by Jennifer Denison here.

Take the opportunity to hear Jay on the new “Del Shield’s Western World” radio show, on the Better Horses Network. It includes conversation and Jay’s recitations of classic poetry, Bruce Kiskaddon’s “When They’ve Finished Shipping Cattle in the Fall,” Will Ogilvie’s “Pearl of the Them All,” and Luther Lawhon’s “The Good Old Cowboy Days,” all from his recent The Old Tried and True: Classic Cowboy Poetry CD.

A few places you’ll find Jay in coming months are the Red Steagall Cowboy Gathering & Western Swing Festival, in Fort Worth October 25-27, 2016; the Working Ranch Cowboy Association Finals in Amarillo, November 10-13, 2016; the Cochise Cowboy Poetry and Music Gathering in Sierra Vista, Arizona, February 3-4, 2017; and the Texas Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Alpine, February 24-25, 2017.

Find more about Jay Snider at CowboyPoetry.com, and at his site.

This 2013 photo of Jay Snider is by Bud Isaacs, used with his permission.

(Please respect copyright. You can share this poem and photo with this post, but for other uses, please request permission.)