Mad Jack Hanks: Teaching an ornery equine to keep all four hooves on the ground
Do you have one of those? You know, one of those horses that rears and scares you? Well, pilgrim, tell ya what ya do. You sell him before he hurts you or someone you love.
I have had only one horse that reared and fell over with me. Fortunately, I was able to pull him off to the side. He landed on my leg and pinned me down with my foot in the stirrup. I was at a team roping and my buddies ran over and helped me hold him down until I could get loose.
On the ranch in Texas, I took in outside horses to ride on occasion. It wasn’t the money, it was a “cowboy” thing to see if I could straighten out a problem horse that someone else couldn’t.
I had a neighbor send over a big sorrel horse about 7 years old and told me he couldn’t stop him from rearing up. I have to tell ya gentle readers, I almost didn’t take him, as I had a job with lots of responsibility and a crew of cowboys to wrangle every day, plus a wife and two small children.
I took him, though. It was that “cowboy” thing. I started riding him in a big pen just to get familiar with him, and him me. He went to rearin’ almost immediately and I mean straight up. The second time he did, we almost went over backwards. I had been studying this problem with horses for a couple of years and had a little test I wanted to try.
I pulled the bridle off and replaced it with a headstall. I put an old saddle on the bronc, pulled his head around to the side and tied it to the cinch ring on the saddle on the mounting side.
He was uncomfortable as he wasn’t used to being punished in any way — EVER. I then took my slicker, ran at him and threw the slicker on his head. He reared straight up as best he could and then fell over.
I walked over, removed the slicker and we had a “face to face.” I let him lay there for about 15 minutes, then let him up and proceeded to do the same thing all over again. He reared, fell and was starting to think about what was happening to him. As a reward I took a small pinch of Copenhagen snuff and put it in the corner of his eye. I let him lay for about 20 minutes while I went in the house and had lunch and he stewed in the heat with a burning eye.
After lunch, I went out, washed out his eye, let him up and there was no way I could make him rear up again.
I kept him for about two weeks the best I remember and rode him at least every other day. He was a well-behaved gentleman.
A word of caution: a horse could, under the right circumstances, break his neck with it tied to the side when he falls over. You could damage a good saddle. A horse with a broken neck is much more acceptable to me that a cowboy or kid or woman with a broken neck in a wheelchair the rest of their life.
Just sayin’…..stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion and always use common sense in uncommon situations! I’ll c. y’all, all y’all. ❖