You Can’t Keep a Good Man (Or His Horse) Down

by Jake Hershey on January 27, 2013

Things aren’t always what they seem.  We had already been to 2 different places, each consisting of 500+acres, with 75 pairs on each place.  It was early afternoon and we’d already gathered, penned, sorted and worked all of the cattle on each place.  We had hired on to daywork (cowboy) for the land/cattle owner for 2 days.  It had taken us half a day to do what he figured would take at least a full day.  He had another bunch of cattle about 20 minutes down the road that he had planned on working the next day.  He asked if we were up for it and we figured “why not”?  The boss man said this bunch of cattle should pen pretty easy with just a sack of cubes and that if we’d give him time to head over to the place they were on, he’d go ahead and see if he could get’em penned without a bunch of hassle.

We got to the third set of pens for the day and saw a bunch of cattle already penned.  The boss man had told us how many were on that place and we all agreed that most-if not all, of the cattle must have come up already.  On one hand that’s a good thing, because it means less work and time to get the cattle worked.  On the other hand it’s not, because we all had our ponies in tow.  Up to that point, things had went really well and all of us cowboys were kinda huntin’ a little bit of excitement.  We ended up getting it.

The boss man pointed to four momma cows who wouldn’t pen with the rest.  However, they were standing right outside of the pens.  He explained that those four were “a little hot” but that if a few of us eased up on them while horseback that they might go thru the gate to the pens.  We all laughed about how big of a job it was gonna be.  But, it had been a really good day of working cattle.  We were on the last bunch to be worked and had plenty of time to do it before the sun went down, so we decided we’d all get on our horses and pen the four “hot” ones.  All of us figured it would just be a matter of easing up on them and they’d go through the open gate leading to the working pens.  We figured wrong.  About the time we got within 75 yards of the four they went to scattering.  The trap they were in was too big and didn’t have a  single cross fence, but within 5 minutes we had one of them penned.  The other 3 turned out to be a different story.  Turns out that besides being a little “hot” the other 3 cows were “on the fight”.  The owner didn’t want us roping them, so we figured after they ran a few laps they’d need to catch their wind and would be more compliant.  Wrong again.  At some point in the whole ordeal there were 2 cowboys each trying to catch 2 different cows and one cowboy was working on the third.

About that time I looked up to see how that one cowboy was getting along.  The mama cow was obviously not in the mood to be messed with.  Every time the cowboy and his horse got within 30 feet of her she would charge them and they’d move out of the way.  Just then, the 1000+pound cow charged the cowboy and his horse again.  This time, they couldn’t get out of the way in time.

The cow hit the cowboy’s 3 year old, 16 hand tall gelding in the side and lifted it and the cowboy off of the ground.  The horse spooked, the cowboy lost his seat and hit the ground.  I was too far away to be any help at all.  All I could see was a big grey gelding minus it’s cowboy, the cowboy lying on the ground….and the mad mama cow snorting and pawing at the ground…about to exact her revenge on the cowboy who was now lying on the ground.

Just then, I saw a blur coming into view of the would be horrific scene.  It was another cowboy who was close enough to lend a hand.  He was on his good mare and running at a full gallop.  I figured that he would just get in between the downed cowboy and the mad mama cow, acting as bait so that the cowboy could get to safety.  I couldn’t have planned it any better if I was the director of a multi-million dollar cowboy movie production.

The cowboy on the grey mare charged in at full speed.  But, instead of stopping in between the downed cowboy and the mad mama cow, he kept on going.  He and his good mare hit that 1000+pound mad mama cow  broadside at a full gallop.  Needless to say, she didn’t know what hit her.  She probably still doesn’t.  That cow was sprawled out on her back with all 4 legs in the air like some kid’s pet turtle.

The downed cowboy had never turned loose of one rein.  He stood up.  We hollered and asked if he was ok.  He replied, “I’m fine, but this winch ain’t gonna be!”

The downed cowboy and his horse acted as bait for another 20 minutes to that fightin’ son of a gun.  They’d let her charge them and each time they’d get a little closer to the working pens.  The cattle/land owner told us we were all nuts but that he didn’t want to us to “use any more force” to get them penned, so they didn’t get worked.

The night before we went to work, I said my bedtime prayer, “Father God, thank you for the opportunity and ability to be a cowboy.  Thank you for the work you’ve given my friends and myself.  I ask that you’d bless and protect all of us, our horses and the cattle.  I pray that you’re presence is felt and that I can be/do/act like the kind of guy you made me to be.  Show us your presence in all that we do.”

If the cowboy on the grey mare wouldn’t have been there to do what he did, there’s no telling what could have happened.  He wasn’t there by accident.  I prayed that God’s presence would be felt and my prayer was answered.

All of the cowboys working that day were Christians.  That means that besides us cowboys, there was one more hand on the job.  The top hand.  His name is Jesus Christ.  And when things got dangerous, the top hand stepped in and sent another cowboy and his horse to protect one of their own.  It wasn’t by accident.  It was an answer to prayer.  And it was God’s word being fulfilled right before our eyes.  After it all happened, here’s what came to me…..

For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” 

Mathew 18:20

And that my friends, is answered prayer.

Jake Hershey 1/27/13

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  • Rainer Hildebrand

    Brought back the thoughts of my wreck this past summer, an how thankful I am to have the “top hand” watchin over me an my pony that day.

  • Pam

    Enjoyed this! Reminds me of some of the scrapes we’ve gotten into over the years. And, yep, you tagged it just right with that scripture! 🙂

  • Brian Becker

    Aint nothing in this here ole life that’s an accident – its all predetermined by The Boss

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