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Paul Marchant

Paul Marchant is an active rancher who tells stories as though we're all "sittin' horseback and ridin' drag" together. His Irons in the Fire articles both entertain and spur thought about personal values and goals.


Dennis runs a few yearlings and grows some hay a few miles south of town. He doesn’t claim to be a top hand, but he always likes to have a dog hanging around the place.

Several years ago, he adopted a mutt that had been dropped off, probably by some city dweller who didn’t have the guts to take care of his overpopulated personal kennel.

Dennis and the dog, which he named Andy, became quite fond of each other and were rarely seen apart. Andy even went to church every Sunday and waited by the church doors. One particular Sunday, Andy wasn’t waiting outside at the end of services.

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0113pc marchant 1The current resident dog on our outfit is a half Border Collie-half Mini Aussie cross.

I have been told, and am now inclined to believe, that they bred the brains out of Aussies when they started breeding Mini Aussies.

Newt, so named in honor of the operation (with a slight spelling alteration) he underwent before we got him, is about three parts Lassie and 97 parts Hank the cowdog.

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Earlier this fall, we had an old cow in the corral that I’d been doctoring and needed to be turned back out. I’d been planning to load her in the trailer and haul her four miles to the lower gate of the forest allotment and turn her out.

My daughter was home from college over a long weekend. So, I changed my plans and asked her if she wanted to catch the horses and go for a ride and take the old girl up on the mountain.

Although her favorite dun horse was lame, she somewhat reluctantly agreed that she could put up with the little roan and her father for a couple of hours.

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I was a child of the ’70s and ’80s and, as such, was subject to the weird fashion trends of the time. I’ve never been too keen on what goes on in the real fashion world, although I did take note when Lady Gaga made headlines with her dress made of steaks.

I don’t believe she’ll be the next Sam Elliot or Matthew McConaughey as the voice of beef, but you know what they say about publicity. As long as they spelled beef right, I’m OK with it.

My lack of genuine fashion sense notwithstanding, I’ve always tried to stay within a couple of years of the latest cowboy and ranch fashion trends.

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The other day, I was doctoring a horse that had ripped his leg up pretty good on an old piece of equipment in the corner of the horse pasture.

We’ve been treating him for a couple of weeks now. This particular buckskin gelding has had his share of misfortune and he’s got the scars to prove it.

He’s not really lame anymore, and he’s sound, but he’s going to have a couple more scars to show for his overactive curiosity.

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Several years ago, I helped coach the local high school basketball team for a few seasons. As anyone in rural America knows, hitching one’s hopes and reason for living to the success of a small town high school athletic program can sometimes be like a spring spent doctoring scouring calves. Your efforts and heart may be fully invested, but you’re most likely going to lose some.

One particular season, as high school sports are supposedly intended to do, served up a good share of life lessons.

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