Ranches need horses—probably always will, in spite of the four wheel drive pickup and the more-than-handy quads. There are just some jobs that can only be handled by a cowboy on a horse, whether it’s combing rough bush country or roping and doctoring cattle that are miles from any set of corrals. Sometimes even a farmer can get the job done because he’s riding a good and gentle horse, but it’s generally a cowboy that made the horse that usable, and friends, don’t mistake me–a cowboy can be female. Many women are good hands, and I’ve known a few who are exceptional. But as a rule, the good Lord made men stronger, quicker, (and sometimes dumber) for a reason. Which all means the male of our species is generally better equipped to go toe to toe with renegade horses and wild cattle. However, even with the best of hands, sometimes everything goes wrong. The Hancock line of horses have always been renowned for their athletic ability and cow sense. But more often than not, they’ve been strictly cowboy horses. More than a few of us have walked home after a Hancock colt pitched us in the dirt.
Hank—the Hancock Colt
I brought a colt in off the range,
He was double Hancock bred.
The string was getting pretty short,
With some age on Buck and Red.
That only left me Lucky Duce,
My trusty little roan.
He was a cracker jack for sure,
But really not full grown.
Now we had lots of cows on grass,
That most unfortunate year.
And pinkeye showin’ every day,
With more to come I feared.
So for need of mounts young Hank was caught,
A four year old or more.
He had that shoulder hip and leg,
That cowboys all look for.
But he had an eye that showed some white,
A pair of mousy little ears.
Well what of that, it mattered not,
I had no training fears.
For I would give this colt the works,
From Ray Hunt on down the line.
A whole hat full of trainer’s tricks,
We’d get along just fine.
I bought myself a new round pen,
The old one would not do.
A Parelli stick and savvy string,
What they were I had no clue.
And of course I bought some videos,
I sure wanted this one right.
My spendin’ got right out of hand,
Spawned quite a family fight.
For I was set to show this colt,
About Natural Horsemanship.
We’d cover all the finer points,
And nary make a slip.
So round and round the pen
I watched that pony go,
‘till I could make him turn and face,
Just like John Lyons shows.
The saddle’s next—well, that wasn’t hard,
The bridle’s on the way.
Or should I leave it off for now,
And do it Ray Hunt’s way?
No, we better put it on,
And drive this colt a might.
Perhaps that eye will show less white,
And turn some dark to light.
The thought of getting on this colt,
With nothing on his head.
Makes me quail to think of it,
Uh . . . not unless I’m dead.
Now we’re coming to the point I fear,
Of stark reality.
Somebody has to ride this colt,
I wish it wasn’t me.
Yes, it’s fine to talk telepathy,
And whisperin’ in their ear.
But there comes a time of naked truth,
When it’s tough to conquer fear.
It really doesn’t matter,
Whether you do Hunt, Parelli, or John,
When the foot goes in the stirrup,
It’s you that’s getting on.
So with the wisdom from a dozen tapes,
Tucked deep inside my shirt.
I stepped up on that colt of mine,
And promptly hit the dirt.
That horse he bucked the saddle off,
And crashed right through the gate.
The last I saw of Hank he was,
A headin’ for the States.
So all you waddies out there,
If you ride into a dip.
And see a sorrel Hancock colt,
With a four on his left hip.
Take my advice and leave him,
. . . or ride him if you’d like.
But your odds are less than certain,
So be ready for a hike.