I see YouTube videos of Spanish bullfighters, the mounted ones. Like Pablo Hermoso, they face off a bull in a confined area and as the bull charges they duck off sideways, narrowly avoiding the deadly horns as they sweep by their horse’s flank.
The event begins with a fast, agile, horse and a rider carrying a long lance, called a garrocha, that he uses to control the bull.
These pictures flashed through my mind as three of us confronted a tee’d off and powerful young eighteen hundred pound brangus bull at Cedar creek this week.
We couldn’t convince the bull to move, much less to go into the corral. I was mounted on my Andalusian-Quarter horse cross, Cyrus.
He and the bull stood facing one another, saliva dripping from the bull’s muzzle.
Any movement drew his piercing gaze, daring us to get closer.
Chuck said “get a loop on him Doc! This horse won’t get close to him, he’s been hooked before!”
Then, Curly said “if you get him, I’m ready with a second loop!”
So I moved in, lariat at the ready, and made a toss. The first loop caught only an ear.
But on the second shot my loop fell around his neck. He was in the net!
Just as I started to pull slack and dally, he attacked!
His charge was like lightning!
He piled into Cyrus just as we swapped ends. I felt like I’d been shot up by a catapult.
I lost my hold on the lariat in favor of scratching leather!
We bounced back to earth.
I sure didn’t want to fall, as I had no chance at all on the ground with El Toro. I’d seen what these bulls can do to a man on foot.
Chuck said “When that bull hit yore horse, Ol Cyrus double barrelled him in the face! He got a good dose of horse shoe!”
I’ve concluded that the Spaniards are right. Our lariats are not stiff enough.
Next time I’m taking a garrocha!