Gentlin’ was what Buck called it. We never broke colts, we “gentled” colts. It sounds better, even though the truth of the matter is that sometimes the schoolin’ that took place was anything but gentle, especially for us cowboys.
No, we never bucked one out. He always said,
“they don’t learn nothin’ from buckin’ but how to buck. If you want to ride buckin’ horses, go pay your entry fee at a rodeo.”
Buck would do a fair amount of ground work, what nowadays we call longing. But when it came time for the moment of truth, he used an old method that the folks down south (way down south) called Padrino, which means god-father. We call it dallyin’ up.
The young horse is dallied to the saddle horn of an older more solid horse, the ‘kid’ (me) climbs on the colt, and off we’d go. Needless to say, your left leg took a worse beating than the colt ever did, as he repeatedly banged you into the older horse’s side. But they didn’t buck! And they got “gentled.”
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