When we moved from Texas to New Mexico, my new horse was named Buck. He was a good horse to grow up on. In the ensuing years in Colorado, I’ve had Cricket, who went with the divorce; Coyote, who raised my daughter; Bay, who had ring bone; Leo, a rope horse who wore a bikini top over his right eye to keep him from turning out; one with a King Ranch brand who tore down my tack room; Reven Bubba, a colt; then Sonny, a left-handed heeling horse. Not to mention several I just bought and sold.
In Arizona, we made Sonny a ranch horse. Various others followed. They all do ranch work.
In my life of traveling, I’ve ridden many borrowed horses on trail rides, at ropings and on parades, but one deserves my highest praise. I was participating in a celebrity roping event in Guthrie, Okla. Red Steagall lent me his ambidextrous white horse named Toby. I drew up with Fred Whitfield, eight times world championship roper. I saw Fred during the afternoon practice. It was a little intimidating. I was horseless, afoot and ranked low in skill. He rode over to me and said, looking down from his throne, “You just go out there and rope him if you can, and if by some chance you do, I’ll rope the heels.”
I stammered, “Uh … I’m left-handed.”
He looked at me like I’d just pooped on the carpet, turned his horse and rode away.
That evening, he said, “OK, I’ll rope him and try to drag him real slow so you might be able to catch at least one foot.” I said, “Fred, rope him as fast as you can and turn him hard.” He gave me the eagle eye. I could imagine him thinking, “He ain’t seen nothin’ yet.”