April 9, 2015
This Saturday will mark my return to competitive roping after a year off, thanks to a poorly timed surgery last summer. Of course, I couldn’t find some quiet little backwater jackpot for my comeback. Heavens, no. I entered this:
There are 127 entries. ONE HUNDRED AND TWENTY SEVEN. And I venture most of them have been practicing for more than a week. But what the heck, you have to start somewhere and this is only an hour from home. Since my rope horse, Tick, has been in Bozeman with my sister, I’m borrowing my husband’s old horse, Nico. Our practice sessions have gone pretty well, but wow, I am not used to a horse that stops that hard. And when Nico is fresh out of the pasture, he tends to be ‘short’, aka, stop sooner and harder than you’d really like. After a couple of the runs we made yesterday, I’m going to be happy if we don’t end up cosplaying this scene from my book, where a teenager is trying to ride a high-powered horse who’s in a bad mood.
Excerpt from The Long Ride Home
David would’ve said it couldn’t get much worse, but as usual, he was wrong. From the minute the kids climbed on their horses, he could see it was going to be a wreck. Kylan was sulking, his whole body radiating resentment. Muddy fed off his mood and turned cranky, pawing and shuffling, mashing into the other horses. Every time Kylan touched the reins, Muddy grabbed the bit in his teeth and flung his head, damn near yanking the kid’s arm out of the socket.
David knew the feeling all too well, and he knew exactly what would come next, because it always did when Muddy got pissy. Muddy ran up on the first calf, barely let Kylan throw before he slammed on the brakes, jacking the kid onto the swells of the saddle. The loop landed wide right, in the dirt.
The next calf, Kylan tried to speed up his rope, slap it at the calf before Muddy could short him out. The loop nailed the calf in the back of the head.
“Follow through, Kylan,” Sam yelled helpfully.
Kylan shot him a glare, but on the next calf, he did try to stand up and rope. The loop hadn’t even left his hand when Muddy jammed his fronts in the ground, driving the saddle horn square into Kylan’s groin. The air busted out of him in an uff they could hear back at the chutes. He folded in two, his face going white and then red.
David’s privates puckered in sympathy as Kylan yanked on the reins and spun Muddy around. He rode out the gate and around the back of his trailer before sliding off to hunch on the fender.
Here’s hoping that’s not me, because even without the man parts, getting jacked up onto your horse’s neck is not a great feeling. Plus, humiliation is not my favorite flavor. So be kind, Nico. I am old. I am cranky. And I am the one who decides how much grain you get.