Cowboy minister rides to give horses ‘a voice’
Wednesday, July 25, 2012
C.W. Cooper, a newly ordained minister, set out Monday afternoon July 23 in near-100 degree temperature on a horse he had just adopted from the Humane Society of North Texas.
He has faith that the Lord wants him to ride around the world on a horse, to bring attention to the plight of unwanted horses in America.
Gypsy, a 12-year-old sorrel mare, may not have gotten the memo.
After leaving from the Gospel Way Church at 420 Jay Bird Lane, now one of a burgeoning organization of Cowboy Churches, C.W. and Gypsy were still negotiating the terms of her participation in his mission.
She didn’t seem to like cars driving up behind her and she was dancing around a little, backing up into the roadway (not a good avoidance strategy). Fortunately, there aren’t many drivers in this area who don’t have patience for a horse. In the roadway.
She had about four cars stopped, in front of Outreach of Love Church, waiting for her to settle down.
“This is the first time I’ve ever gotten on her,” he said as they began the walk up the church’s driveway to Jay Bird.
Their first few yards of distance, the pair was walking on the opposite side of the road, where the closest vehicles were approaching in Gypsy’s line of vision. But to head west – C.W. plans to go from Springtown to Weatherford and then west from there on U.S. Highway 180 – they had to cross the road. Then vehicles were approaching from behind her.
Gypsy was rescued by the Humane Society of North Texas from a situation in which her owner beat her, C.W. said before they left.
The man of faith was recently ordained as a minister by Gospel Way pastor, Reverend E.J. Adams, and he gave his first sermon Sunday in the church.
His quest to bring attention to what happens to unwanted horses is probably going to earn him a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records, he said. That’s not the main reason for doing it, however.
The folks at Guinness will “give” him the oceans, meaning he doesn’t have to traverse water on a horse to earn “around the world” status.
He’s riding Gypsy to San Diego, where Gypsy will then be shipped back to the Gospel Way Church.
C.W. then plans to somehow get to Russia – “because they won’t let you ride across China,” he explained – for the next leg of his journey.
He thinks it will take him four years to go around the world. But he’ll have to find a horse in Russia for that leg of the journey.
He doesn’t have any funds and Adams spotted him the $50 adoption fee for Gypsy, who is the second horse he’s tried for this project. After his sermon Sunday, one woman gave him a check that would cover the HSNT fee, and C.W. gave it to Adams to repay him.
The first one is a three-year-old “stud” that went 15 miles on the first day and then only a handful of miles on the second day before he lay down and took a nap.
“No, literally a nap,” C.W. said with a grin. “He lay down with me still in the saddle.”
That horse had been purchased at an auction in Stephenville and would have been sold to “killers,” C.W. said.
Now named Sampson, the young stallion is part of a family with five children. The youngsters have braided his mane and tail, and the youngest already has a habit of hanging from the horse’s tail.
“That horse is the laziest horse in the world,” C.W. said.
It bothers C.W. that Sampson would have ended up on a plate in Europe.
“(The U.S.) is the only country in the world that doesn’t eat horse meat,” he said.
“People won’t geld the stallions, let them breed (indiscriminately) and then there are so many horses, they don’t have any value,” he said.
An animal is often left to starve because a rancher or other owner has paid for it and is “too proud” to give it to a better home, he said.
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