I began as a broodmare prospect on a Nevada ranch. That way of life ended at the age of four when it was determined I was physically unable to become pregnant. It was then the two leggers decided to salvage me as a saddle horse. I was dubbed with the moniker “Flipper” by the first two legger who saddled me when I flipped over and broke his saddle. After I did the same thing to the second two legger’s saddle, I was turned back out to pasture. I thought I showed them I wasn’t to be messed with, and that they had learned their lesson.
A month later I was brought back into the pens and introduced to yet another two legger. Rather than just saddle me up as the other two leggers had done, this one started flipping a rope at me. I wasn’t going to stand for any of this two legger nonsense. I tried running off, but the pen was too small, so I couldn’t get away. This two legger didn’t get excited and just kept following me around and flipping the rope out at me. It didn’t hit me every time he flipped it at me, and when it did, it didn’t hurt. After a few minutes I decided to stop and face him, and when I did, he quit flipping it, and stood there talking to me.
When he started to walk towards me I moved away and here came that flipping rope again. The two legger didn’t seem excited or angry, he just kept moving towards me and flipping the rope at me, and sometimes across my body. It didn’t hurt, so after a bit, I stopped again and faced him to see what he wanted.
This time when he came up to me, most of my fear of him was gone and I was beginning to be curious about what he wanted. When I let him walk up to me, all he seemed to want to do is scratch my neck and pet me.
Next he started rubbing me with the rope and sort of absentminded like flipping it over my body and dragging it off. This was a big difference from the other two leggers. All they had done was rope me, fight with me to tie me up to a big post and saddle me up. So far this one hadn’t mad a move to force me into anything.
He moved back once more and started flipping the rope at my hindquarters and moved at me in a sort of aggressive manner that told me I should move out, which I did. A couple of different times, he flipped the rope in front of me and moved at my head, so I turned around and went the other direction. He was really getting my curiosity going. Nothing he did was hurting me, but he was sure getting my attention to move in the direction he seemed to want.
Once again he stood still, so I stopped and faced him…Just what did he want?
This time he picked up a halter and lead rope and started to walk around me rather than up to me. Not wanting to lose sight of him I turned to I could keep facing him. When he changed direction, I changed with him. Then he walked up to me and began scratching me again, and flipping the lead rope over my body and neck. Then he flipped the rope over my neck, and rather than pulling it off, began walking around me again. Still curious (and not wanting him to chase me again) I followed him a few steps. He stopped and began scratching my neck and head, while talking to me. I didn’t really know what was going on, but whatever was happening seemed to be making this two legger happy, which somehow made me feel at ease.
Once again he moved me out, and had me change directions a few times. I was beginning to enjoy this. When he took the pressure off of me this time, I faced him and took a couple of stets towards him. After rubbing my neck, face and head a few minutes he put the halter on me.
When he put a little bit of pressure on the lead rope I panicked and ran backwards. Rather than trying to hold me, the two legger began chasing me backwards and working the rope in a way I couldn’t get turned around to run off. Through all of this the two legger remained calm. After a few seconds he stopped chasing me backwards, and I stopped.
After rubbing me a few seconds, he started to walk around me, once again putting a little pressure on the rope. I went to backing up again, but not as fast as the first time. Sure enough he started chasing me backwards again. This time I decided to stop on my own. What was the point of running from him? He wasn’t doing anything to hurt me and there was nothing in his attitude to make me afraid.
This time when he started to walk around me, and put a little pressure on the lead rope, I took a couple of steps forward. He stopped to rub my neck and face again. From the tone of his voice, it sure seemed like he was happy with me. Within a few more minutes I figured out that when there was pressure on the lead, all I had to do was step forward and the pressure went away. All I had to do was follow this two legger and there was no pressure.
Next he started flipping the longer rope over me again. I was used to this so I just stood there. Then he flipped it around my body and grabbed the end. Running the end through the hondo, he pulled it tight around my girth.
Instantly I began to rear up, but before I got all the way up, the pressure disappeared. Once again the two legger let me relax and scratched my neck a bit. He pulled the rope around my girth tight and once again when I started to rear, the pressure disappeared, and I came back to the ground. As soon as I was on the ground, he tightened the rope again, then released it as soon as I started up. Within a few minutes of this, I realized the pressure was not hurting me, so I quit trying to rear up. Sure enough, he went to rubbing and scratching my neck again.
He kept adding more pressure and releasing it until my reaction was to step into the pressure rather than try to pull away from it. Next he did the same thing on my feet. Once I gave to the pressure on my feet, he once again applied pressure to my girth. When I gave to the pressure, he rubbed and scratched my neck, then let me go back to my pen.
The next day we repeated all of this. This time I just gave to the pressure rather than fight it. As I was not fighting the pressure, he put his saddle on me and tightened it up, but not real tight. After leading me around a bit to get used to the constant pressure while walking, he tightened it up a little more. By this time I was used to the pressure and was relaxed. In fact I was curious to find out what this two legger would want to do next. Within a few days he was riding me out in the pastures, and to my surprise, I was actually enjoying it!


About bobkinford

Author, working ranch cowboy, reduced stress cattle handling expert, horseman, humorist, and gourmet cook.
This entry was posted in Book Excerpts, Cowboy humor, Horse Stories, horsemanship philosophy, horses. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Flipper

  1. Waldi Bloom (aka) Wallaby says:

    More common sense from my friend Bob.

  2. Jake says:

    Great story! I’ve been working with my mare kinda like this. Your story made what I need to do a bunch more clear. Thanks

    • bobkinford says:

      Glad you like it Jake. I’m just about done with the book. It will be short (around 70 pages) but will hopefully give a lot of insight we two leggers over look. The next to last story will be about a mustang I started that was adopted at four months old and turned into a 3,500 acre pasture until he as nearly five. He was as close to working with a sociopath as you can get and took some drastic measures. The very last story will be about a mare who was raised like a mustang in a herd of several hundred mares. The differences between a horse having a sense of social order and the one having absolutely no idea of social behavior are pretty striking!

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