July 2016
On the Edge of Common Sense

A Favor

Have you ever had a simple gesture of kindness end up unappreciated?

James and Kevin had just chased a steer to the end of the arena in a fruitless attempt to head and heel the crafty critter. James had lost his hat during the run so Kevin stopped to pick it up for his heeler. He hung his loop and coils over the horn and swang off … well, not quite off. As his right boot cleared the cantle, it hooked the loop.

As in a lot of near-death experiences, Kevin remembered very distinctly seeing the rope around his ankle as he neared the ground. He kicked, meaning to shed the snare, but, instead, he stuck his toe into Buck’s flank!

In that split second, he thought to himself, "It’s a good thing I’m on ol’ Buck. A less seasoned horse would spook."

Buck, of course, was thinkin’, "Whoa! What was that!"

He spooked and was goin’ flat out in three jumps!

Down the arena they went! Kevin did a couple of half gainers and managed to put a nice figger eight between his boot and the saddle horn!

He sat like a man on a sled tryin’ to pry the loop off his foot as he bounced along on his pockets, feet in the air, hands on the rope, leaving a trail through the arena dirt like someone draggin’ a sack of watermelons down a sand dune!

Ten feet behind the flashing hooves, Kevin peered through the flying dirt. They were fast approaching the awe-struck ropers at the chute end of the arena.

In desperation, Kevin laid flat on his back and kicked the captured boot! The loop came loose and his heels bit into the dirt in full flight! They stuck and he stood straight up like Wiley Coyote runnin’ into a canyon wall! With a dramatic flair, he tipped his hat.

James rode by the rigid, unrecognizable figure covered with dirt from hair to his spurs.

"Nice ride," he commented. "Least you could have done was pick up my hat."


Baxter Black is a former large animal veterinarian who can be followed nationwide through this column, National Public Radio, public appearances, television, and also through his books, cds, videos and website, www.baxterblack.com.