The Lazy Bronc

Posted in: Ranch Life

Buddy was a big, stout, good looking four year old gelding. He was bred to run and looked it, yet was one of the laziest individuals I had ever ridden. I was certain that if I’d lost a spur I would have known immediately because he would have just walked in a circle. On the plus side, he was gentle as a dead pig and not humpy on a cold morning, plus I could give my little nephew rides with me when he visited.

I had ridden him through the winter and had calved on him all spring, so he was fit and getting a lot of education and wet saddle blankets. One afternoon I was headed out to ride through a bunch of stock on up the creek from the place and rode through the trap where the last of the springers and young pairs were.

As I rode I checked the little calves and found one that was awfully sick and weak. It was supposed to get cold and rainy overnight and I knew that little calf didn’t need to be out in the weather when he was so sick, so decided I’d just pick him up and bring him and his mama in when I rode back through and gathered the springers.

I got my other riding done and had made quite a circle in deep mud, so I was having to peddle Buddy along pretty steady when I rode back through the trap. I rode up to the little calf and he was laid out flat, looking more dead than alive, and had a case of scours that just wouldn’t quit. I got off my horse and picked the limp calf up and put him over the swells of my saddle. The calf hung there like a wet rag, never even blinked, much less moved.

I stepped into the stirrup and just as my right leg came down on the off side, Buddy pulled the plug. He went straight up in the air like he was shooting for the moon, bawled really loud, and proceeded to buck that poor little calf off plus everything loose on my saddle. Mud was flying up in the air, and he put on quite a show for a bit. Somehow, despite not having my right stirrup, I managed to make the ride and finally got his head pulled up. If he thought he was mad about having to pack a little calf, he didn’t have anything to match how mad I was!

The lazy pup! Never made an ounce more effort than I could spur out of him for hours, then when I needed him to be quiet and doggy, he had to blow up and act like a bronc! We had a little close order drill and then I got off and gathered up my fencing pliers, balling gun, hat, and a couple other items that had been shed. I was going to pick that calf up and Buddy was going to pack him home even if the calf was already dead! As I approached that poor calf, he opened his eyes really big, looked at me and struggled to his feet. He staggered off after his mama, sure that he’d rather die walking than of air sickness and hard landings.

I got on and trailed that little pair and the springers on in. The calf ended up surviving the scours and his bronc ride. My enlightening bronc ride on Buddy made me keep a wary eye on him from then on, and with good reason. Several more times in his career he pulled the plug and tried me on, but I was always ready for him and was able to give back everything he was dishing out. I never forgot that he would buck and I’m sure that calf never forgot that one wild bronc ride he took either.


Posted in: Ranch Life

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....

View all posts by Jan Swan Wood