By Baxter Black
On the edge of common sense
When you hear cowboys tellin’ stories, it’s common for a listener to say, “It’s a wonder you weren’t killed!”
“Well, all I did was rope that sorry, no good, fightin’ bull with the crooked horn and tie him to a post in the corral, then throw another rope on him and tied it to the other side, then pulled him tight ‘cause I was by myself, you know. I had him out there in the middle of the corral sort of stabilized to where I thought I could sneak up and lance that abscess. He was fightin’ it of course, but I figgered I could at least take a stab at it, but I must have had too much slack in the line, or I underestimated how strong he was, ‘cause when I got within a body length, he charged!
“I don’t know if I underestimated my body length or what, but he came at me like a freight train! I jumped, and somehow got him by the tail. He kept tryin’ to hook me and pullin’ on those posts till they were leanin’ in. It gave him enough slack to come clear around, I’m still hanging’ on to his tail, but now both posts had been jerked plum outta the ground! He’s spinnin’, I’m whirlin’, we’re both gettin’ tangled in ropes, when he trips and flips head first, clean over and slung me high enough that I sailed over the corral fence and hit the ground.
“I was lucky, though. I just missed the windmill toolbox. I could’a been hurt.”
“They told me the cow was in the pen. They weren’t sure how long the prolapse had been out. She was a big cow, over 1200 pounds, anyway and she went into the chute okay. I climbed in behind her. The prolapse stuck out like a rolled up carpet somebody stuck a Chinese coolie hat on! It was a vaginal prolapse and “pointed hat” was the everted cervix! It was big as a duffle bag. I gave her an epidural.
“A quick palpation and I felt a big calf with both feet and a nose in the birth canal. It gets worse. Now I have to do a C-section before I can even think about replacing the prolapse. 30 minutes later we’ve taken the calf. The cow sags in the chute, I’m down in behind her to put this prolapse back in. I’m on my hands and knees trying to push it, the prolapse, I mean, up hill and it won’t go. So, I decide we’ll let her out and do it on the ground.
“I open the back gate…accidentally, she backs up one cow length and goes down. We end up actually unchaining the squeeze chute, pulling it out of the way with a tractor, then using 1” cotton rope we drag the cow out. I’m crawling over her to get my rope back. I have one boot in the open loop of the bowline knot trying to push it when she rises like a Titan missile! I’m jerked under her and she drags me across the pen, I’m right between her hind legs looking up at the prolapse, my head banging up and down and flopping back and forth from starboard to port.
“It could’a been worse, I guess, if I hadn’t come loose when she jumped the cattle guard.”
“Billy slammed on the brakes to avoid a deer jumpin’ across the road! The horse trailer jack-knifed and we hit a guardrail, stopped us like we’d run into a boxcar full of scrap iron. My head hit the windshield on the passenger’s side and left a dent in the glass big as a punch bowl!
“Knocked me out. Thank goodness I was wearin’ my hat.”
Baxter Black is a self-described cowboy poet, ex-veterinarian and sorry team roper. He can be contacted at 1-800-654-2550 or by e-mail at: