Hanks: Colonel

I’m not sure if we named him or if Colonel was his name when we brought him home. To me, he was just what it was going to take to make a cowboy out of me at 11 years of age.

Yep, mom picked him out because she was ranch raised and knew good “hoss flesh” when she saw it. It didn’t matter that when we were giving him a pre ride down the farmer’s driveway, he ran off with my brother.

“Aw, he’s just a little fresh, he ain’t been rode in a while,” SAID THE FARMER.

Mom figured we, at ages 11 and 12, should be able to handle this skinny, raw-boned, big-footed, pig-eyed black and white paint without losing life or limb. Well, there was that one limb the tree lost when Colonel ran under it with my brother on board and took him out of the saddle!! To me, he was just as pretty, well almost, as Trigger and dang sure as fast. That old skinny bronc could punch a hole in the wind and I loved it when he ran away out in the pasture. I would just hunker down over his neck, do my best to avoid the Mesquite trees rushing by and pretend Indians were after me.

When he got the run out of him he wasn’t that bad to control. Now there were those times, gentle readers, that he would try and take your leg off on the cross tie that held the corral gate when he ran in. He always ran in.

Someone had taught him to rear up just like Trigger, but not high enough to fall over or did he ever try. One of my cousins came to visit and wanted to show off a little. After Colonel was unsaddled, the boy’s dad told him to jump back on him and make him rear for the camera.

Colonel was not big at all. Maybe 14-two hands and 850 pounds, but for a kid 11 years of age, he was a big horse and being a runaway bronc with an iron jaw and unpredictable disposition, he was as big as I needed at the time.

My cuz made ol’ Colonel rear up but when he did, the boy slid down his back, kept a tight hold on the reins and pulled the horse over backwards. Thank God Colonel didn’t land on him. It sure made some good watchin’!

My bro had decided by now havin’ a horse to ride was not in his best interest and he just didn’t ride much any more. I had that ol’ skinny bronc all to myself and I rode him everywhere. I would ride a couple miles up the road and visit one of my classmates.

Other than that I did a lot of prowlin’ on the Mallett Ranch where our oilfield camp was situated. I would ride to the windmills, sometimes tie Colonel up and climb the windmill or take a swim in that less-than-clean overflow pond where the cattle drank.

I had a bro-in-law who was a real horses’ rear. He was not only the best looking man in America, but also the toughest and smartest. Man, how can you compete with that? My sis couldn’t so she divorced him. I digress.

One Sunday, Capt. American decided he would break ol’ Colonel from running off and especially from running back in the corral. We all gathered for the show as he mounted the kid’s saddle.

His knees were almost under his chin or so it seemed. He took off in a cloud of dust and hadn’t gotten too far when Colonel made a quick reverse and headed to the corral with Capt. America hangin’ off to the side.

Running wide open, Colonel approached the gate to the corral then he slammed on the brakes and Capt. America took flight as the Colonel made a hard right turn into the corral. Capt. America was not only embarrassed, he was skinned up a little and his always immaculate clothes somewhat stained with dirt and grass.

He never again offered to solve any more of our problems with good ol’ Colonel. I reckon all’s well that ends well. My sister dumped the Capt., I outgrew ol’ Colonel and sold him to a man in his 40s as a good broke hoss.

Shame on me. He did ride him and decided he would be okay. I guess I rode the “ruff” off of him.

Stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion. Always remember Sept. 11 and how it shook us awake like nothing had done before. The idea of a “redneck remount and reload reactors” keeps coming to my mind … hummmm.

This bunch of black-hooded bullies with clubs is disturbin’ my rest. Lay in the tall grass and keep a sharp eye and I’ll c. y’all, all y’all.❖