The double whammy at the Double F

-A A +A

When it came time to wean calves from their mothers it was a drawn-out affair. First, you separated the bull calves from the heifers. We castrated the bulls, marked and branded both bunches and then put them together in a separate pasture behind the cow pen.

At the same time we turned the cows into the main pasture. That way we had two fences between the calves and their mothers. It took all day and five cowboys to get this job done from daylight to almost dark. As the assistant manager of the ranch it was my job to see they stayed apart until they got over being separated. 

Well I got up early the next morning and went over to the ranch. I lived about a half-mile away. When I got to the cowpens I saw a bunch of calves headed my way. They had gone through the first fence and was headed to the next one in stampede mode. 

I headed back to the the horse barn to get a horse and head them off from the cows. There were three horses in the stalls. I picked the one I thought could do the best job. It happened to be a black mustang named Nick. 

In my haste I forgot Nick was a little cold backed, which meant you needed to warm him up a little before you stuck the spurs to him. To make matters worse I was in a hurry and I didn’t cinch the saddle up real tight.

I had just enough time to head the calves off before they went through the next fence and back with their mothers. I had to spur Nick just to get ahead of the calves. 

Well, just as I got them turned back, he decided he was being mistreated and proceeded to buck me off. The saddle, not being cinched down didn’t help things and I just looked for a place to land. Nick had thrown me so high that when I hit the ground I landed on my head which knocked me a little crazy — but also made me mad.

The calves headed back to the cowpen so I decided I would take this time to teach Nick a lesson. He had run off into the main pasture so I went back to the horse barn and saddled a little mare. Nick was a big horse, about 950 pounds, and Suzy wouldn’t go over 650.

I took a lariat and jumped on Susie and we took off after Nick. He made a big circle and headed back to the horse barn. We were on a clay road and just before we got to the lane, I made a throw. My loop landed on Nick’s head but didn’t go over his nose. I jerked the rope back with the intention of making another throw but the loop caught the saddle horn instead. This was the worst thing that could happen. 

Nick had a dead pull on us amd I was tied hard and fast to the saddle I was on. 

After a while little Susie was getting tired of being pulled and she decided  to sit down in the clay road. When she did, everything happened at once. Nick jerked the saddle I was sitting in out over Susie’s head and I landed in the clay road in front of her. The next thing I know she is on top of me. It seemed like 10 minutes before she got off me. 

I just knew I broke every bone in my body. I could hardly move. The ranch boss had got there about this time and wanted to take me about 20 miles to the hospital in Ocala. 

I said if you take me home and come back and take care of the horses, I’ll go to bed. 

The next day I had changed color to black, blue and yellow, but I had the satisfaction of teaching Nick a lesson. 

Bill Roberts is a Cracker cowboy and artist who resides in Cedar Key.