GETTIN’ ON’S THE HARD PART
- April 2, 2021
- Jan Swan Wood
My hip had gotten progressively worse over the years from a horse wreck when I was young and limber. I still made a living on a horse, but it wasn’t getting easier. Getting on was a struggle as my right leg couldn’t bend “out” anymore, thus making it challenging to get it over the cantle of the saddle.
I couldn’t get on from the other side either, as that knee didn’t bend that well anymore. Once I was on, I could do my work, but I sure didn’t beg to get off until the work was done.
Another cowboy and I had been dropped off from a trailer at a gate and we were to go start gathering a big pasture. He wasn’t very tall, but young and as active as a cat and was riding a really tall Thoroughbred looking horse. I was still doing some unlimbering in preparation for getting on when young Brad simply glided onto his horse, no effort whatsoever. It was a marvel to see.
He and I were chatting and teasing each other all this time. I told him that if it wasn’t so embarrassing, I’d just lay my own tall horse down to get on. He didn’t say much to that, just sat and watched me getting ready. I hitched up my chinks, mentally prepared myself, and reached for my stirrup. Using my “good” knee and arms, I pulled myself up, then laying down over my gentle horse’s neck, face in her mane, I reached back and pulled my right leg over the cantle. I sat up, worked my toe into the off stirrup, got myself situated, and glanced over at Brad.
He was grinning like an ape. I asked him what was so amusing. He responded back “I can’t imagine it being more embarrassing to lay your horse down to get on than what I just watched.”
I acted all offended and started off at a trot. When he rode up beside me, I told him “Just you wait, youngin’, the years will catch up with you one of these days too!”
A couple of years ago not-so-young anymore Brad came over to help us brand. I noticed he was riding much shorter horses and didn’t get on quite a slick as he used to. I didn’t say anything. I figured he already knew it.
About Jan Swan Wood
Jan was raised on a ranch in far western South Dakota. She grew up horseback working all descriptions of cattle, plus sheep and horses. After leaving home she pursued a post-graduate study of cowboying and dayworking in Nebraska, New Mexico, Montana, Wyoming and South Dakota....