There are many things worse than not being able to catch a horse when needed, but that’s a cowboy’s aggravation.
Likewise, there’s little more soothing than when the horse nickers, comes trotting in and seems to want to put on his bridle.
Even better is when the trailer gate is opened, holler to the horse, he comes at dead run, jumps right in and is anxious for a day’s work.
It’s the other runaway, or run-around, rascals who leave a bitter feeling.
Yet, we can’t help but smile about three round-ups of horses that had escaped. Most memorable is the time Dad, who only had one arm, roped the fast-running pony, Trigger, on the first loop, after we, and a couple of others, had missed multiple times.
Another time in a half-section pasture, this scar-backed palomino mare almost wouldn’t let us in eyesight. Well-mounted, the cowgirl, barely a teenager, took after that renegade at a dead run, threw a perfect loop, and task was completed.
Then, two-in-the-morning, phone rang: “Those colts we bought got out.” In the pitch-dark, that same cowgirl, afoot this time, roped a runaway with one throw, and the mate followed in.
Of course, roping hard-to-catch boogers is the cowboy-way, and ranchers throw a houlihan-loop to catch remuda-mounts before work. We’ve roped horses too, but most often we miss the first throw, and they learn to dodge our sloppy-loops.
Sometimes we’ve been without horse or lariat, and had to walk horses down in pastures. Stories about Indians doing that are true, because on more than one occasion we have been able to eventually catch a horse after walking, walking and walking, until they finally let us come right to them
Embarrassing to admit, the boss’ cart is often used rounding up mares, which increases their excitement level. Easiest then to run them right into a lane for haltering.
But, some corrals don’t have lanes, and even when inside, certain horses are always cantankerous to catch, forcing us to walk them down.
Saturday morning, that sorrel mare made what seemed 200 laps around the pen, finally stopped, and was such a “sweet-thing” as we led her into the trailer.
Reminds us of Amos 9:2: “No one will get away, no runaways will make it.” Because Proverbs 28:20: “Committed and persistent work pays off.”