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A short story by Emma Carpenter.

Doing What Comes Naturally - Page 2 of 2

......continued from page 1

As they tore by me Hawg and I took in after them. The biggest thing I remember feeling was wondering what on earth I was going to do when I got there. I was watching the same scene I had been watching from the front from the back now, gaining with every step, and thinking hard for an idea before I caught up with them.

I never did come up with an idea, but in a couple of seconds one presented itself. Out of the corner of his eye the stallion saw us coming, and there was no way he was going to let us steal the young black mare he was stealing for himself. He slowed for just a second and turned sideways, getting ready to turn and face us, and that’s when I saw the opportunity. I aimed Hawg at the red stud’s hip and never asked him to slow down.

This is a good time to mention I had ridden Hawg long enough to know how willing he was to hit, smash, bulldoze, or crash into anything. It’s also a good time to mention that he was half Belgian, and while he didn’t get the Belgian height he did get pretty much everything else from the draft horse side, including his chest, neck, back, rump, and legs. Combine his physical heft with his domineering personality and that thieving stallion wasn’t impressing him a bit. He hit that stud horse in the hip with pleasure, and with everything he had.

Below: Hawg, age 29, in his retirement years.

A half-Belgian horse standing in a pasture

As soon as we hit I steered left to glance off of the stallion’s hip to try and keep Hawg’s front legs from tangling with the stallion’s back ones. One step after the blow, I looked over my shoulder. Studly was still spinning. The crash had knocked him into a tight right spin, and he was either just getting up or trying not to go down, because he was spinning in a low, unnatural crouching position.

Kris and Raven were already stopped (I said she was a good hand with a colt) and had turned to watch the action. The little mare was taking the opportunity to get some air, and looked surprisingly calm. Kris was rubbing her on the neck, occasionally pausing to pump her fist into the air above her hat.

“Take some of that on, Studly!” she shouted.

Meanwhile, Studly was using everything he had to get his hind feet under him to stop spinning. Hawg and I had stopped a few feet from him, and he looked straight at us before he sprang for my back and Hawg’s rump. I got a brief taste of what Kris and her mare had experienced over and over: I saw his lips pulled back from his bared teeth, his ears plastered down on his head, and his furious eyes.

I had just asked Hawg to walk off when I saw the stallion lunge for us. I held Hawg straight, and when the stallion was in the air I said, “Whoa.” Even though Hawg might have looked like something that had escaped from a plow horse team, he and I had been through every chapter of Al Dunning’s classic book “Reining, The Complete Guide for Training and Showing the Classic Reining Horse.” Without me touching the reins, Hawg dropped his rump to the ground and stopped in mid stride.

The stud horse, intending to cover a lot more ground than that, crashed his chest into Hawg’s wide butt. Studly stopped so hard his head whipped down and forward past my right knee, and I heard his teeth snap shut just before he fell to his knees beside my stirrup.

“That's showing him, Hawg!” Kris cried from couple of steps away.

The stud horse took a couple more lunges at us but we dodged him then hit him in the hip both times, staggering him sideways several feet. You could see he was tiring fast and that his heart wasn’t in it as much as it was when he had started. When he quit attacking us he acted like he was going to make one last attempt to steal Raven, but when he moved toward her and saw Hawg coming at him again from the side, he finally gave up and ran off in the direction it had all started.

“You ok?” I asked Kris, looking closely at her and Raven.

“Yea, I think so,” she said. “We were running so hard he couldn’t bite us very good.” While she had been petting her mare she had been looking all over her for bite and kick marks. For the first time she took a good look at herself.

“Hey!” she said, sounding angry and surprised. She grabbed the left side of her chinks toward the fringe at the bottom and held them up as high as she could. “I just made these!” High up on the thigh was a perfect, oversized set of teeth marks.

I don’t know which I was more impressed by, the teeth marks or that Kris could make a really nice pair of chinks.

“Man!” she said sadly, looking at the soft, thick leather. “He almost bit clear through them.” As she held them up I could see daylight through each and every tooth mark, only a paper thin layer of leather left where the stallion’s teeth had been.

“Actually,” I told her, “I think that counts.”

From eBay

From eBay. Story continues below.


As we were talking, the other riders were slowly catching up to us with the cows and calves. We had just joined in when we heard another commotion in the same direction the stallion had disappeared. He had come charging out of nowhere again to steal another horse, but this time he made a mistake right off. He’d chosen Bill’s horse this time, a tall gelding named Big Dog that Bill used mostly for a pickup horse at the rodeos. The last we saw of Studly, Bill had his rope down whacking him on the rump as he and Big Dog chased him out of sight over a hill.

We got the cows to the pens after that without any more excitement. Over the next months and years Raven matured into a solid ranch horse and became one of Kris’ favorites. Hawg remained his usual big-bully self, which can be pretty useful at times.

Kris and I would see each other occasionally, usually to ship a pasture or at a ranch rodeo. I don’t think either one of us ever held the sorrel stallion’s attacks that day against him. It’s a pretty easy thing to forgive when the only casualty was a new pair of chinks, even if you did make them yourself, and when you know deep down that Studly was only doing what came naturally.

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Doing What Comes Naturally - Page 1

Doing What Comes Naturally - Page 2


About The Author

Emma Carpenter and her husband Bill are the owners of the website. Emma is the administrator of the website, and when not writing articles for other areas of CowboyWay she enjoys writing the occasional short story.

For many years Bill and Emma maintained a small cow/calf herd while also doing day work for area ranchers in the Kansas Flint Hills. The Carpenters are retired from Carpenter Rodeo Company, a family owned rodeo company that put on rodeos in Kansas and Oklahoma for over 40 years. They still own a small cow/calf herd.


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