Continued from previous: Just “The Colt”
Buck showed me some tricks I could do with a soft rope. First, he demonstrated that I could flip the rope over the colt’s back, then catch the end with my boot when it swung under his belly. With one end of the rope in each hand I was taught to rub back-and-forth like a shoeshine boy. I rubbed back-and-forth from withers to flanks and down over the croup to slowly drop down around the hind legs. There was some kicking at first,but I was admonished to keep strapping until he stood still.Then I would flip the rope up over his back and continue rubbing.This way I didn’t have to be close enough to the colt to get kicked. At one point, Buck indicated that I should quit. I didn’t know until many years later that what he was looking for was the colt to lick and chew, indicating relaxation.
Over the next few weeks I was told to start rubbing him with a “croaker sack” (burlap bag), then with a saddle blanket. When Buck saw that I was able to flip the saddle blanket all over him, he let me put a saddle on him. At first I was to girt him up snug, but not super tight. At that point we went out to the working pen. There he was introduced to the work on a long rope for a few days. Finally Buck dallied the colt up to his stallion and indicated I was to crawl aboard. From that point we went so slow that the colt never never felt a big change from one stage to the next. Buck always said “Don’t never let’em buck! They don’t learn nothing from it but how to buck better. If you want to ride bucking horses, go pay your entry fee at a rodeo.”