Heading into the pen in Jackson, loaded down with bridles, boots and ponies.
There's a whole world at work under any arena light,
The big wins, tremendous stunts, and smaller moments just out of sight.
I used to revel in the 3 am texas air,
Where the only souls awake were the ones that truly cared.
There is much to do before the big show must go on,
Some horses go to practice pens, other hand walked on the lawn,
The lopers are in their morning uniforms of hoodies and tennis shoes,
Whilst cleaning stalls they think about the warm-up each horse needs so as not to lose,
I hear a cellphone ring - an apologetic voice responds - I wince because I know,
The familiar site of a loper running to the flag - a forgotten elephant bit clutched in tow,
Each loper knows the golden rule to keep a horseshow running smooth and neat,
Is to keep the trainer happy, and his butt fixed firmly in his saddle seat.
By the time the sun is rising, the day is long under way,
And the horses approach the show pen to see how much our work will pay,
For those of you new to a cutting horse show,
Look towards the fence and you will see a loper, watching intently, face fraught with woe.
However, don't think that one horse is her only charge of the day,
No sir - there is 15 more to be groomed and readied - waiting in the bay.
And when the last buzzer sounds and the starched shirts hung,
Any good loper knows that the night is still young.
Every horse is cared for - iced, wrapped, fed,
And after all of this is done and the area swept clean - that is when the lopers may head to bed.
It's very rarely glamorous and it's tough work for lesser pay,
But when a horse you love and loped scores a 77 - you call it a pretty good day.