The adventures of a Girl and her Horse …The creation of ‘Just an Old Cowboy.’ and ‘A Friend From Long Ago’

This is actually about the genesis of one of my favorite poems, one that’s close to my heart, ‘Just an Old Cowboy’.  I woke up one night when I woke with the memory of this old friend along with all the stories, after all these years they came flooding back to me.

Going back, I’ve always been a bit of a loner and my horse and dog were my best friends, they were a Godsend to a lonely little girl.  Anyways, almost every day was spent with my horse, (when I wasn’t in school), usually riding and exploring the hills and valleys around us. I spent those years absorbing, exploring and daydreaming. We delt with a few pretty scary situations, where it would become very clear that we were alone and far from any help if things went wrong.  I’m guessing it was those experiences and loneliness that fueled my *Walter Mitty-ish imagination.   Inspired by the raw beauty and some of my favorite places, like the gecko cave,  maybe listening to the water playing over the rocks of the creek, well, all this and more would come to life.   Thus, my old cowboy was born, and through the years his life took form and he became an old friend, a protector, a riding companion of sorts.  

The night I remembered, I knew I had to start writing.  I couldn’t chance losing his story and all our wonderful adventures.  This poem was the first of those stories,  I hope you enjoy it and I wish you great and wonderful adventures!  Hansi Riley

I don’t have many pictures of my horse and I together, so I posted this movie I rode my horse in, it’s taken at the bottom of the hills were we used to ride.    To see the film ‘Marijuana 1968′ go to and scroll to reel 27:43

 I wouldn’t be surprised it it’s #1 on ”Rotten Tomatoes’, Sony Bono narrated and I think he was stoned, hehe 

* The Secret Life of Walter Mitty by James Thurber Walter Mitty had his own secret world, created by am extreme imagination.  I guess mine wasn’t that bad, compared to his.  (=

Just an Old Cowboy

Just an Old Cowboy ragged and worn

stains on his shirt with jeans thin and torn.

He moved kinda slow and talked slower still       Old Cowboy 2

but none of this fooled me

cause he’d tamed these wild hills,

and no man could make it

to his age in these parts.

Without being rugged and unless he was smart.

I entered the cabin and was looking around

when he signaled me over, to come sit down.

He rubbed the fingers of misshapen hands

as rough and gnarled as the lay of the land.

He gazed out the window and started to speak

as he started to going back in time.

He spoke of his horses and then of his wife

reminiscing bout good times he’d had.

He told of their  hardship, trouble and strife

that was all a part of the Cowboy life.

Then he spoke of his family

who’d brought him such joy

his beautiful daughters, the birth of their boy.

His eyes teared up and he turned away

saying; ’Loosing my wife,

took the best part of me, that day.’

Well I lost my Old Cowboy in his 86th year.

I still have his picture, and even now I can hear

his gravely voice, see those twinkling eyes.

I still visit his mountain,

cause that’s where he lies.           Hansi Riley

The Long Way Back

She holds it in with a smile on her face

as darkness pulls her down.

Emotions in a jumble

but she knows she must be strong.

Can’t let them see inside her

afraid they’ll think her weak.

So until she’s off and all alone

false bravado she must keep.

It wasn’t always like this

a life kept far apart.

She used to have a family

of which she was a part.

But life can take you places

taking others far away.

One moment she was happy   

then too quickly, it all changed.

Hopefully she’ll rebuild a life

that she can call her own.

But today she’ll wear

a mask of sorts

and call no place a home.

                                                     Hansi Riley