The Greatest Cowboy Move I Ever Made

by Kevin on January 14, 2016

Three of us rode out to doctor a cow that had something in her eye. This might not sound exciting, but anytime you have cattle, horses, ropes, cowboys, and ten inches of snow, things tend to get western in a hurry.
We had a game plan though. Shaun was going to neck her. That’s always Shaun’s job because he rides a Percheron cross. (That means he has a real big horse.) The rest of the plan was very well thought out and very strategic: Shaun was going to neck her and Ty and I would throw loops at her heels until one of us caught.
Genius! They should give us government jobs.
After we went through the gate, I stepped off to tighten my cinch. This is probably where the first part of the plan started going south. I was heading off to rope an 1100 pound cow on a 900 pound horse. I cinched Fiona up to “yearling” tight and then tugged even harder. I had to get her cow tight. When you factor in 20 degree temps, lots of snow, and cold backs, it really didn’t surprise me that the first time I loped over to stop the cows from leaving the corner, Fiona tried to buck me off.
I was lucky it was more of a warning shot and she didn’t put a lot of effort into it.
Ty and I had the cattle circling around Shaun real nice and he threw the prettiest back-hand over his right shoulder that you ever did see. The fact that he is a lefty and the cow was behind him made it an even awesomer shot. (I know awesomer is not a real word, but sometimes you have to spice a word up with an R to make a point.)
Anyway, the cow loved Shaun’s loop so much that she not only put her head through it, but both her front feet as well. Yep! She was belly roped.
Now all the cowboys and cowgirls reading this just smiled because they know. For those that don’t, when you belly rope a cow, well anything for that matter, you may have it roped, but all the advantage you might have goes out the window. Instead of you being able to control the cow, she controls you. It’s kind of God’s way of making things a little bit more fair every once in a while.
Shaun is doing his best to hold her and I throw a real nice loop in an attempt to get a rope around her neck. I’m telling you, this loop was as pretty as they get. It didn’t land anywhere close to her head, but that’s really not the point. It was a pretty loop. If I could have, I would have just left that loop out there in the pasture and sold tickets to see the pretty little thing.
In hindsight, it would have been better if I had just left it there.
Ty threw next. Well, Ty tried to throw. As soon as he went to let his loop fly, it caught on a mullen weed. I had never been around this plant before moving to Colorado. We didn’t have it in Texas. It kind of looks like a six to eight foot stick about as big around as your finger and it has spear-pointed granola bar growing out the top of it. Trying to rope a cow with six foot sticks everywhere can be somewhat challenging. Just ask Ty.
When he untangled himself, his horse, and the mullen weed from his loop, he threw again and caught her around the neck. Now all I have to do is heel her.
Everyone had done their job up until this point and now it’s time to do mine. Problem is, I’m not a very good heeler and this cow is standing in snow that is halfway up to her butt. I have a hard time roping feet that are on the ground, not to mention feet that are buried a foot in the snow. (That was kind of punny, you have to admit…two feet in a foot of snow….never mind.)
Once, twice, three, four, five loops I throw. Every time I miss, I coil up and throw again. But the bad thing is that I coil up snow on my rope. By now, my cotton gloves are soaked and I can’t feel my fingers anymore. I keep throwing, but with the same results.
A cowboy is supposed to be able to get the job done. I started feeling guilty because we are harassing this cow way more than need be. She is pulling Shaun and Ty around like rag-dolls, and I am alternating fighting my horse that is cinched up tighter than she’s ever been cinched, trying to rope in a foot of snow depending on the location and drifts, and now I can’t feel my fingers.
I was starting to really hate myself at the moment. Everyone thinks the cowboy life is fun and glamorous. Those people have never been a cowboy for very long or had to much cowboy stuff. We were right next to the road and it seemed like every loop that fell short was noticed by the entire world
Then, I did something I’ve never done before….
I handed my rope to Ty and I took his.
It wasn’t about quitting or getting mad, this situation had moved beyond my current ability and state of mind and body. The important thing was the safety of the stock and my friends, not my ego.
Ty threw one loop and caught a hind foot. That was good enough. I threw some slack out in front of her and got a step-over so she would go down easier.
We got the foreign object out of her eye and gave her some medicine just to be on the safe side. When I handed my rope off, we were done within about three minutes.
I know a lot of you are trying to live a good Christian life. Maybe you’ve been trying for years and maybe you’re just thinking about starting, but the lesson is the same. Legalism is when you try to follow God and you depend on your own efforts. Your successes depend only on what you can accomplish. Your relationship with God depends on what you do, not what his Son did.
Legalism will steal your joy in life and rob you of your happiness. Do you know a miserable Christian? It’s probably because they are too busy following rules instead of following Jesus.
Legalism makes people feel guilty instead of loved. It produces self-hatred instead of humility. Legalism puts performance way above relationship. Legalism says in order to get better, you have to work harder. Instead of us being able to see how far we’ve come, legalism shows us how far we fall short.
So what do we do?
You hand your rope off to the man that can get the job done. Jesus came to earth to do what we couldn’t. He came to throw the perfect shots when all of ours fell short. You still have a part to play. You don’t get to go sit in the recliner. You still participate and do your job, but don’t put your faith in what you can accomplish, revel in what Jesus accomplishes for us.
And that problem you’ve been dealing with?
Hand your rope off and you’ll probably be done in about three minutes.
What has happened to all your joy? -Galatians 4:15
1926790_1031693943556180_2306913056575591609_n Actual picture from that day
Print Friendly

  • Brook Elaine

    Oh my goodness! I love reading your posts! They are so engaging, funny, inspiring, and encouraging! Did I mention funny?! Absolutely fabulous! Thank you so much for sharing! Best wishes to you and your lovely family!

Previous post:

Next post: