Michael's Monthly Column "Throwing My Loop"

Throwing My Loop…    

By:  Michael Johnson  



     A few years ago, I did a show for Stock Horse of Texas, an organization dedicated to creating better horses and horsemen.  The conference and the show were held in Ft. Worth in the Stockyards.  (Does it get better than that?)  Sherry and The Rowdy Cow Dog were with me, and surrounded by such good wholesome people – and people who love horses - we had the best of times.  Afterwards, a man approached our table and said,  “I want to come see you.  I have an idea.”  Sherry and I said, “Come on.” A few days later, Dr. Harry Anderson came driving up the lane.
     Sitting at our kitchen table - having one of my special “Killer Chicken Salad Sandwiches” I made for him – Dr. Harry told us about his life…
     “Grew up in North Dakota,” he said between bites.  “Graduated low in a class of fourteen.  Voted “Least Likely to Succeed,” he laughed, and I could tell he wasn’t kidding.  “But my wife, Margaret, believed in me.  Found my focus because of her, and eventually received my PhD in Nutrition from South Dakota State University.”
      Dr. Harry went on to explain he did the professor/research thing for a time, then entered the corporate world, and became a key feedlot nutritionist and district manager for a major feed company.  “In those days,” he said, “the company I worked for believed the horse came first, and customer service was critical.  If we did those two things well, marketing and sales success would naturally follow.”  Times were good.  Later, new management came with a different view. 
     The new breed thought less about the horse, was less interested in customer service, and focused more on the bottom line.  Dr. Harry became disenchanted, and eventually left to follow his dream – to create the best all-purpose feed possible for the horse, and to keep the customer’s needs right alongside those of the horse.  He did so.  Then, he got in his truck pulling a trailer full of horse feed, and started driving across America.  Hardly anyone would buy his feed.  Years passed and Dr. Harry kept driving.  Now the “road that never ends” had brought him to our farm…and to our kitchen table.
     “I want to do a TV show,” he said, wiping the crumbs away.  “A three-minute embedded segment driven by questions from viewers.  I want to offer people a way to gain information.  There will be three of us.  I’ll handle questions about nutrition; Dr. J. D. Norris will answer concerns involving areas such as hoof care, equine dentistry, and other health issues.  I want you to help horse owners with the “mental” side of starting colts, problem areas, and so on.”  I said, “Okay,” wondering who in the world could ever vote for this well-dressed, articulate, intelligent man to be “least likely” at anything.
     We pitched the show.  While the people we were talking to were very nice, it was clear as a bell they had little interest.  Afterwards, Dr. Harry gets in the truck and said, “Man, that went well, didn’t it?  They are going to do it.”
     I’m thinking, “Did we just go to the same meeting?”     
     For the next five years, Dr. Harry comes by my house when he is in the area - and while eating his chicken salad sandwich – always says, “They are going to do the TV show.”  For five years he said that.
     By this time, I have come to have a genuine fondness for this fellow.  As a youth, others looked down their noses at him, but he rose to the heights of academia and gained his doctorate.  When the company he worked for forgot the horse - and the human - he remembered the horse and the human and did everything in his power to help them both.  When no one would buy his feed, he kept on.  But now?
     Now each time he drove away, there was some sadness in me.  What he was trying to do was…well, it was noble.  He was trying to do something good…and no one noticed.  The poor fellow just kept believing when there was no reason to – and one day when he was driving away, down our lane headed out again on that road that never ends – I said to my wife, “You gotta watch people like him.”
     “How so?” she asked, watching him drive away.
     “People like him,” I said, “those people who keep on – the ones who keep on believing no matter what…you gotta watch people like that.” 

                                                                                               --Michael Johnson


Ed. Note:  In January of 2012, RFD-TV’s All Around Performance Horse TV, and Roping and Riding with Tyler Magnus, will broadcast the first embedded segment of The Advice Barn, a viewer call-in show hosted by Dr. Harry Anderson, with featured guests, Dr. Michael Johnson, and Dr. J. D. Norris.
The Advice Barn is sponsored by Total Feeds, Inc. maker of Total Equine, Dr. Harry Anderson’s creation of an all-purpose feed designed for the horse.  Total Feeds, Inc. sold thousands of tons of Total Equine last year.



Michael heading for the great Sonny Gould

Michael & Blue

Healing Shine

The Rowdy Cow Dog

Please stop
and sign our Guestbook

Send Michael
an Email

Michael Johnson Books
1172 CR 4122  Campbell, Texas 75422  (903) 862-2082

Copyright © 2003 Michael Johnson Books. All rights reserved.
webmaster pswope@candw-webmasters.com