Tales from the O-NO Ranch 8-30-10 | TheFencePost.com

Tales from the O-NO Ranch 8-30-10

Mad Jack Hanks
Wellington, Colo.

I took the name of “Fooler” from the movie “The Rounders” with Glenn Ford and Henry Fonda. It was produced back in the 1970s as I recall. It was about two old bronc busters down on their luck who contracted to break a bunch of horses for a local rancher. Fooler was one of the broncs that kept them on their toes as it appeared they could not get him to where they wanted him to be … Broke!

I had purchased 10 head of broncs from a “known to me” rancher and he was a lot like ol’ Jim Ed, the owner of the horses in the movie. I should have know better but my cowboy ego got the best of me. I’d break ‘um or have to look for a really good excuse as to why I couldn’t. Three were yearlings so I only had seven to break and take away one big buckskin that was already broke good enough to get on and ride, so there were only six. Surely I could handle that even if I was in my mid 40s.

My son, Andy, wanted this one colt. He was a little sorrel with good markings and seemed to be a good minded quiet pony. He was just 2 and stood maybe 14.3 hands and weighted about 900 pounds. I started him with a couple of the others and he seemed to be honest and wanting to please. I had reached the point where we were out of the round pen and I was riding him some in the smaller pastures and traps without issue. Andy was 16 and he had ridden him a few times in the pen. Actually, he helped me get ol’ Fooler saddled the first time when I rode him.

When Saturday rolled around I prompted Andy to go to the wheat pasture a’horseback with me and check cattle. It would give him a chance to ride his new horse in the big pasture. We got the horses saddled and I thought it might be a good idea to sack ol’ Fooler out a little with some junk hangin’ off the saddle like a tow sack full of milk cartons full of rocks and whatever.

I had done this on several occasions without incident. Not this morning. Fooler started around the pen and then that little hoss broke into and jumped higher than I had ever seen a little horse jump. He bucked and squalled and in a seemingly panic, he bucked into the fence and flipped over backwards. Andy’s eyes were the size of a ’60s Oldsmobile hubcap. He gave me a “what’s up with that,” look and forced a faint grin to creep across his face.

“Ya want me to ride ol’ Fooler this mornin’ son?” I queried.

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“I reckon, if you want to,” he replied.

I did and we didn’t have any problems. Ol’ Fooler just needed to get rid of some built up frustration I guess. That wasn’t the last time he bucked. We brought him to Colorado with us and he bucked Andy off one night in the roping arena. He sure looked innocent most of the time as if he wouldn’t hurt a fly, but then again? A lot like some of our politicians these days, huh?

Stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion and I’ll c. ya.