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For this cowboy, all that’s needed is faith — and Friesians

Louverture “Lovie” Marable greets guests as they walk along the path up to the Symphony site. Reenactors stood along the trail to help celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Chisholm Trail. (Photo by Matt Crow)

By Andrew Linnabary

A cowboy stands out in a crowd of strangers.

A black cowboy stands out in a crowd of cowboys.

“Being a minority in a different field, you always kind of stand out,” Louverture Marable said.

The Symphony in the Flint Hills asked Marable to participate in this year’s Symphony so guests could see the importance the black cowboy played in the Chisholm Trail. Marable was happy to, saying black cowboys haven’t fully received the credit they deserve. He stood on the half-mile pathway up to the Symphony’s main site and greeted incoming guests, educating them on cowboy history. 

“Black cowboys taught all the Roy Rogers and all the people we see on TV,” Marable said. Those guys were just big show guys. You never go to see the people doing the real work.”

“We live on the principles. We wake up, give God his praise, and live our day throughout that.”

23-year-old Marable is unapologetically cowboy. It’s a lifelong thing for him.

He’s been riding horses since he was 2, back on his family’s farm in Tennessee.

Growing up on a farm made him want to go to school to be a veterinarian so he could care for horses.

His dad nudged him toward the spurs and lasso.

“He said, ‘A cowboy does the same things and more. Why not just become a cowboy?’”

Now Marable trains horses for a living at his business in Junction City.

“Friesians, jumping horses, every different type you can think of,” Marable said. “I train regular work horses, horses for the roping world everything.”

Each horse has its own personality, Marable said.

“They’re more like humans to me than anything. You can make one cry just as quick as you can make us cry.”

Marable wasn’t able to bring any of his horses with him to the Symphony, but he was able to bring, in his opinion, the defining trait of being a cowboy: faith.

Take everything from a cowboy and he still has his faith, Marable said.

“You have your faith, you have your horse, and you have your buddies.”

Some days we wake up, we don’t know when we’re going to get back to the house, or we don’t know if we’re ever going to make it back to the house, but one thing you do know is your faith is always strong and God is always going to have your back. Whether you have to take a trail that’s 20 miles long or a 100 million miles long, you have that person with you.

“You have your faith, you have your horse, and you have your buddies.”

His wife, Shakeyah, was a city girl before meeting Marable. She worried about life on the prairie, but Marable helped her adjust.

“He taught me how to rile horses, how to fish. I tried to change him to a city boy, but he changed me. He’s a good cowboy.”

Marable lifts his head high when he talks about the respect he gets as a cowboy. The respect comes from the cowboy’s moral code, he said, and offering his work up to God.

“We live on the principles. We wake up, give God his praise, and live our day throughout that. Without God we wouldn’t be nowhere.

“That’s the best thing about being a cowboy. You get to praise God no matter what, and everyone around you is the same way. No matter what color you are, it’s there inside your heart.”

Cowboy Louverture Marable from Junction city greets Mike and Irma Clay from Prairie Village. Marable educated people along the trail. The Clays are long-time volunteers.
(Photo by Kevin Hager)