Hast thou given the horse strength? hast thou clothed his neck with thunder? .. Behold, we put bits in the horses’ mouths, that they may obey us; and we turn about their whole body ~ Job 39:19 / James 3:3

The Horseman came riding and was sighted in Laguna Beach riding along the Pacific Coast Highway moving at horse speed. The traffic, hurried as always, slowed to a pause before pulling around him.

Drivers no doubt, could hear the clip-clop of the hooves of his mount and his pack horse, wondering what on earth this guy with two horses and a dog was doing on the Pacific Coast Highway leisurely passing through town in the middle of the day.

No surprise then, that the blinking red and blue lights and the short bleep of a police siren brought his limited entourage to a quick halt.

Pulled over by the Laguna Beach police for an interview, the Horseman explained he was riding to Texas, having started out at the Canadian border. One of the cops asked him why he wasn’t driving. He replied that he didn’t have a truck and a horse trailer, just a horse, a pack horse and a dog. His plan was simply to ride the coast to San Diego and turn left.

The Horseman in tight police negotiations for right of way to continue his journey…

The Horseman had what he called a “shoulder pass” which he drew from his pocket and presented to the officer.

The officer, being confused, was not even sure such a document existed but diligently spent many minutes in examining its molecular structure.

Then the Laguna Animal Control officer showed up and immediately informed the cowpoke that he didn’t have his dog on a leash – Something all good little citizens of California do as willingly as they carry bags of the dog’s feces around in their hands.

The Horseman replied sensibly that his dog (named, I swear, “Dog”) knew how to follow along, and that if he put a leash on him from the saddle he risked strangling the dog. “Horse goes one way, Dog goes another. Tough on Dog, officer.”

At this point, having been alerted to the Horseman, another police car showed up with yet another, but more senior officer, who stood to the side, official-like, attempting to take in what the actual situation was.

The Horseman doesn’t seem to be too concerned about police matters…

The animal control officer, failing to see the sense of not strangling a dog on a leash tied to a horse, began a hectoring lecture on the very special ordinances of the very special town of Laguna Beach, California. In response to which, the quiet Horseman patiently and silently stood motionless as the scolding went on.

Finally the litany of banal cop-talk was interrupted by the senior officer who evidently had less patience for the Animal Control claptrap than the Horseman.

After all, if you are riding a horse from Canada to Texas in the 21st Century, you are probably not in too much of a hurry.

The senior officer informed the others that, regardless of the petty ordinances of Laguna Beach, what they were actually going to do was let this man continue on his way. Not only that, but they were going to give him a police escort out of town.

The Horseman farewell to Laguna Beach, California…

I’m assuming the senior officer looked into the near future of any other action, and hidden in that future he envisioned (while they were arraigning the Horseman) the issue of providing transport for two horses as well as “Dog” to some undisclosed location which was going to be far too much bureaucratic paperwork to contemplate.

That, and noting about 15 to 20 citizens gathered nearby ready for a sincere chat with the city council, probably gave him pause as well.

The Horseman had heard and seen it all before on the long road between Canada and Laguna Beach. He took “The Cowboy Way”, rolled a smoke, nodded, saddled up, whistled to Dog, and was escorted out of town.

The Horseman was all many years ago and on another planet, but I still like to think of him. I like to think he’s still out there making his way from Canada to Texas — via a left turn in San Diego.


Featured, edited, and updated from original published April 2014 / HT Gerard Vanderleun and American Digest…


Face of Jesus by Richard Hook

Soli Deo Gloria!