## Friday Funny: Cowboy Math

The foreman of a large cattle ranch in Florida died after 35 years of employment. The ranch he worked for had supplied his home and a truck to drive, so after he passed his most valuable possessions were his personal Remuda of 17 horses that he had broken and trained over the years. The foreman had three sons who came to the ranch after the funeral to collect their father’s personal belongings. The ranch owner met with the boys and gave them an envelope from his safe with their father’s will.

When his sons opened up the will it read: Divide my personal possessions up evenly among my sons except for the Remuda, which should be divided as follows:

1. My eldest son should get half of the horses
2. My middle son should be given one-third of the total horses;
3. My youngest son should be given one-ninth of the total horses.

As it’s impossible to divide 17 by 2, 3, or 9, the three sons started to fight with each other. They brought up all sorts of past bad blood between them. Just as the argument escalated to the point that the sons were ready to go outside and physically fight to see who got the horses, the rancher intervened. The rancher told the men to wait a minute and proceeded to his barn. He walked out of the barn leading one of his best ranch horses with a halter and said, “After all of the years of dedicated service by your father, I will add this horse to his Remuda.” That increased the total to 18 horses.

The men calmed down and went back inside the ranch office, so they could sort this out with an even number of horses. The rancher began dividing the horses according to their father’s will.

1. 1/2 of 18 = 9 horses for the eldest son
2. 1/3 of 18 = 6 horses for the middle son
3. 1/9 of 18 = 2 horses for the youngest son

With this all three men were satisfied. The rancher said, “Problem solved!” They started reminiscing about the days they spent growing up on the ranch, and forgot all about their differences. The ranch owner shook hands with each man and then said, “Do the math boys. There is still one horse left over. 9 + 6 + 2 = 17” The rancher started leading his horse back to the barn, but turned to smile and see their puzzled faces, and said, “That boys is what we call Cowboy Math.

Moral of the story: The attitude of negotiation and problem solving is to find the “18th horse”, that is the “common ground.” Once a person is able to find the 18th horse, the issue is resolved. It is difficult to reach a solution, however, when the people involved don’t believe that there is a solution. You have to stop and consider possible options before you are able to reach a true solution!

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### Email to: Panhandle Ag Friday Funny

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Posted: April 15, 2016

Category: Agriculture

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