Catch moose |

Catch moose

Audrey Powles

            Most of us cowmen have a few mounts that we like to use, and we are more partial to some than others. But almost every cowboy I know that has a string of horses has one that they keep around for one single purpose. This horse probably isn’t their go to mount, in fact most days they probably question why they even keep the hay burner around. However, on occasion, they go catch this plug because they know they will need him. See to most cowboys and cowmen, horses are a tool to get a job done. Sure we love and care for them and they usually find their way into a corner of our hearts, but we still rely on them to get a job done.

            The horse in my string that I catch when I know I am probably going to give a bovine a nylon necklace is a 16.2 hand, 1,350 pound gray gelding that I call Moose. See Moose has a purpose. Moose is the caballo that I catch when I know things are probably going to get a little western. The first calf heifer that is in the calving lot claiming every other calf but her own that refuses to make her way to the barn is a prime example of when Moose gets put in the game. See Moose is quirky, most times he’s a little flighty. He’s a bear to catch and he’s been known to kick his heels up on occasion. The one time that I know I can rely on that big jug headed glue factory reject is when the twine comes down from the horn and its time to teach an ornery bovine some new manners.

            Moose is a bully. He picks on the other horses, tries my patience nearly every time I ride him, and tends to be a tad bit accident prone, but he knows he is the biggest horse on the ranch and that comes in handy from time to time. There was a time here a few years back when a stubborn cow refused to load on a truck. She would walk onto the loadout, but wouldn’t budge when she got to the door of the pot. It turns out that she wasn’t half as strong as that big gelding when he pinned his ears back and shoved her on with his chest against her tail.

            Another time we were pulling bulls from the cows. One little yearling decided that he wasn’t ready to be done socializing with the ladies. Despite our best efforts the young Romeo refused to go willingly. Thanks to a good rope maker up there in northern Wyoming and the stubbornness of a big piece of horseflesh that little bull learned how to lead and load onto a trailer. No matter how much that bull wanted to dig in his heels, he was no match for Moose and his pulling force.

            There have been times that I have cussed that big gray son of a gun, but when the job gets tough, and all other options have failed, there is no other horse that I would rather be on. No matter what the lineage on his papers says, that horse is full of grit. He’ll go all day long and do it again tomorrow. While he has his flaws, he is the definition of what a ranch horse should be. Tough, gritty, big enough to go all day and strong enough to do any job.

            That’s all for this time. Take a minute to appreciate those horses that don’t earn their keep under the arena lights, but out among the renegade cows on the prairie. Sometimes those horses make for the best stories. Keep tabs on your side of the barbed wire and God bless.

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