Linear Learning

“Hold my beer and watch this”

Texas may not have a corner on the market but we definitely lead the world in a certain type of cavalier recklessness that gives cowboys a bad name in the rest of the world. Yours truly has contributed his share of stories to the XX file. I call it “linear thinking” otherwise known as ignoring consequences!

Many years ago we had one of our biblical floods in the creek bottoms. My dear, long-suffering, wife and I were prowling that pasture to make sure we had not left cows stranded. At one point I decided to take a shortcut through a slough. As the mare I was riding stepped off into the water I discovered that it was deeper than I thought. Rather than turn back, I “John Wayned” it and plowed on in! The next thing that I discovered was that the mare could swim. I found that when riding a swimming horse, 80% of horse and rider are below water level! When we emerged on the far bank I dismounted, clothes soaked, and boots full of water. I raised my legs up one at a time and dumped a half gallon of swamp water out of my tall boots!

Well decades later I was attempting to get a brangus bull out of a pasture with a stock tank (pond) in it. He ran and jumped into the tank. I rode around it trying to catch him coming out the other side. But he kept jumping back into deep water and swimming out of reach. Out of cowboy frustration I spurred my young gelding into the water to follow him and “by God push him out”! Well, I’d heard that some horses swim, and some don’t. He definitely fell in the latter category! The gelding rolled over on his side, unable to keep his head above water.  I could see he was not going to make it. heavy with water soaked jacket, chaps and boots I jumped out of the saddle, grabbed his head, and started doing the sidestroke-lifeguard-carry to the edge of the tank where we could both get a foothold and stand up. By this time I didn’t give a tinker’s damn about the bull! I was just glad we were both breathing air.  Probably ten years from now I’ll try to swim the gulf of Mexico on a Shetland pony.

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