If you see a cowboy riding his horse down the street amid traffic in Vandalia, you could be reminded of the old big-city-based TV series, “McCloud."
That cowboy is Brad Mason, doing what he likes to do best – work with horses
Brad, one of Don Mason’s sons, was born and reared with his dad’s horses, and his background includes roping cattle, breaking horses to ride, working as a farrier for 13 years and working with horses at a racetrack. He still practices roping locally, but hasn’t made the rodeo circuit recently.
Standing along side a large bay gelding named, “Little Man,” Mason explained his present endeavor – training that horse to function amid traffic.
“It helps to ‘bomb-proof’ them, where you can ride them anywhere,” Mason said. “This horse is more or less Dad’s personal horse.
“When he rides any horse, it’s usually this one, and I want him dead-broke. If Dad is out riding, I don’t want the horse jumping or acting up if someone drives too close to him or honks their horn, or if there is too much noise.”
“Little Man,” a 7-year-old quarterhorse, is no stranger to Mason’s gentle, but firm, hand and voice, as he was born on the Mason place, and broken to ride by Brad.
He stood quietly by, saddled up, but calm. The rein ends lay casually back near the saddle horn.
Both his mother and his sire still live on the home place, among other Mason horses.
His dad, Don Mason, has loved and worked with horses “just about his whole life,” and it seems Brad inherited the same interest and ability with animals.
Don Mason also has a real heart for children and has worked diligently and effectively to help children receive medical needs and care through the Shriners’ Children’s Hospital.
The Masons also offered a kind home and shelter to three apparently abandoned dogs.
“Alabama” was found by brother, Dan Mason, while driving a truck in Alabama. Someone had stuck a bucket over the puppy’s head, and Dan rescued him and brought him home. Alabama is now a full-grown dog.
“Hooch” is a blue heeler, found and rescued by friends near St. Louis, and “Babe” a large black dog who was a stray, also now enjoys the kindness and security of the Mason home.
Brad said he has ridden “Little Man,” as well as another of the Mason horses, “Rayford”. all over Vandalia.
So, if you see a lone cowboy riding his horse amid the traffic in and around Vandalia, it could very well be one of the Masons and “Little Man.” A friendly wave is sufficient…rather than a loud blast from the vehicle horn.