My good friend “Horseshoe” just loves life. When he rides off in the morning he will be singing, “ I just love my life”. His favorite saying is, “I bring you great tidings of Joy”. He feels the same no matter what he is riding, or what the day may hold in store. He loves a good mule. His friend “Hammer”, said, “Mules are like the morning dew, they will make you land on a rose pedal or a cow pie”.
Horseshoe is healing up from a mule episode. Horseshoe has ridden lots of mule characters, some better than others, but never turns down the opportunity to ride a mule and see how good the mule is. Horseshoe has lots of experience taking advantage of mules and takes things one step at a time, never skipping a necessary step unless he has too. He was ridding a new mule early one morning on a gathering expedition, and time wasn’t with him, the bell on the clock had already gone off and he had to get on and go. Long Ears didn’t get the message and he reared up and started over backwards, Horseshoe stepped off and pulled Mr. Mule around and got him to stand while he put his hobbles on him to see if this would help him make the mule a little more comfortable getting on and off. The mule was fine hobbled and stood good getting on and off. Took the hobbles off and got back on and bent Long Ears head around to kick his hind-end out of gear and take off. Once again the mule reared up and Horseshoe had to step off. The mule went to spinning as Horseshoe was about off, one foot still in the stirrup and the spin was close to a 4x4 bull wire fence. One spur hung in the bull wire, stretching and twisting his leg still in the stirrup. The mule escaped, as Horseshoe was left hanging up-side-down in the bull wire. He knew his free leg was either broke or badly twisted, as he couldn’t put any weight on it, in order to get his spur out of the bull wire. Everybody had gone leaving him alone. Horseshoe said his awkward position made it impossible to catch up with the crew. He was having a had time analyzing his possibilities hanging upside down on the bull wire fence. Finally got enough slack to get his spur un-lodged from the fence and fell to the ground. His mule was gone, nothing to do but hobble to his truck and go to town and the doctor. His leg was out of commission, but no bones sticking out of the hide anywhere. Just 150 miles to the doctor and town.
Horseshoe said, “Riding a Mule is like takin’ a girl to the prom, you may be the one that took her, but you are not the one she left with.”
He was raised a cowboy; following in the tracks of his daddy and grandaddy. Both worked all their life on several big outfits in West and South Texas. After World War II , they got busy with living and working. Lots of grass for the using and cattle to eat it. They were swinging a big loop and Horseshoe was raised in the middle of it. Working lots of cattle and always going with his Grandaddy. His Grandaddy kept him while his daddy was working cattle. Horseshoe said if Grandaddy had to go, he would just leave Little Horseshoe playing in the floorboard of the pickup with a horseshoe.
One time they got busy and had to get a hotel room for the night, they left Little Horseshoe in the room the next day with a dart board and set of darts . That didn’t work out, they had to pay for refurnishing the hotel room, it was full of dart holes.
Horseshoe grew up working on all of these ranches in Texas. He told about the time that it rained so much in South Texas that some of the horses died of sleeping sickness. He said that the mud was so bad that it would ball up on the end of their tails. The balls of mud would get so big that it would pull their eyelids open and they couldn’t close their eyes and go to sleep. Lots of them died from lack of sleep.
Horseshoe said when times got slow or when his daddy needed some living money. He would saddle his old trusty night horse and go hunting ring tail cats along the rim rocks. He would have a head lamp and a rifle. He hunted ring tails so much that his night horse would lay his ears back, lower his head and close his eyes every time he would see a ring tail.
Horseshoe said, “It’s best to tell your troubles to your horse, he may not understand, but he won’t talk back.”