November 9, 2011



One of the perks of being married to a legislator is the wonderful people I am afforded an opportunity to meet. This past week, Shirley and I were invited to a supper at the Buckskin in Killdeer to meet Sean DeBevoise, a veteran of the Iraq War. Sean had been terribly injured in an ambush. Thanks to the work of several veterans, Shirley was able to introduce and pass legislation awarding a wounded veteran a deer license in North Dakota. And thanks to the Legion members of Killdeer and Halliday, Sean, along with his father, was able to fly to North Dakota from North Carolina and harvest a mule deer. My thanks to the Buckskin for donating steak supper for about twenty people, and all the people who made it happen.
I suppose every cowboy in the country has been affected over the years by progress. From trotting along in the dark to roundup, to loading up in a horse trailer. Or from snubbing a colt up, crawling on, and pulling a blindfold off for that first ride, to “whispering” methods. A welcome change, if I do say so myself.
I remember when I used the side-grinder to smooth out the clinches on Zip’s shoes, so I could pull them off easier. I don’t remember a lot of it. Cause he struck me in the head when the sparks flew and knocked me out. I used to be kind of dumb!
But I just heard a new deal. It has to do with our local farrier that lives down the road. Now, for you town folks, the farrier is the guy with a weak mind and a strong back, that puts shoes on horses. Well, not all of them. But some.
The farrier, who shall remain nameless, had attended a horseshoers convention. Where they drink beer and talk about wild horses, and drink beer and talk about tame horses, and drink beer and talk about horseshoe nails and shoes and stuff like that. Then they drink beer.
Anyway, this farrier heard about a new method of tying a horse up, to prevent injury to yourself, or the horse. The idea was to use a heavy bungee cord. One like they use on ships to catch jets coming out of the blue yonder. You’ve seen them. They have a hook on them and the jet hits the deck and this cord stretches out and stops them from going over the end into the ocean.
Well, you just tie your horse up with this, and if he halter pulls, he will not injure himself.
 The farrier was anxious to get back home and try this. He braided a hole in this cord and waited for his first customer. In came Jake with a 1,200 pound bronc that had a quarter crack and needed shoes. Jake said the colt had a tendency to pull a little when tied up. The farrier was just gleeful.
He tied Blue up and went to trimming. All of a sudden Blue let out a snort and flew backwards in a rage. He pulled for all he was worth. The bungee cord won and Blue came flying by the farrier without a foot touching the ground. Out the door he went, bungee cord still attached. The farrier hid behind a shovel as Blue hit the end of the cord and came flying back in. Picture one of those paddles you used to play with a ball on a rubber string. Only the ball weighs 1,200 pounds and is kicking.
The farrier was really trying to hide as Blue came by at a hundred miles an hour. About the time Blue hit the end this time, the farrier’s braid came undone. Blue hit the wall and slithered down like an egg thrown against a henhouse wall. The bungee cord went flying back out the door.
Maybe it was fate. Maybe it was bad luck. But the UPS man had just parked and was stepping in the door with a package for the farrier. Probably some right wing publication. That old bungee cord whapped him in the chest and threw him against that pretty brown truck.
The cord fell limply to the ground. The farrier came out and picked up the UPS man. He brushed himself off and caught his breath. The farrier looked back at old Blue, who was shaking himself off, just like the UPS man. They were a sorry looking lot.
The UPS man never even asked what had hit him. He was in a daze. The farrier untied the bungee cord and threw it in the garbage.
Old Blue stood there, just as patiently as could be, as the farrier nailed the shoes on.
I doubt if he ever pulled again.
And that’s the way it happened, ‘cause I heard it from an honest man!