One-Eyed Jack

Even though both older boys went to riding rough stock, Cody team roped for a while.

We had been trading horses and wound up with a good old ranch gelding with one eye. He was a big, stout, good-looking gelding and very gentle, but he had a little age on him. The rancher said he was a good rope horse and they had arena roped on him so we kept him for Cody. Bombproof horses are hard to find. He was the perfect horse to start roping on.

We named him One-Eyed Jack for obvious reasons. His only flaw was he was very trusting. If you reined him somewhere, he went. If that was through a fence on his blind side that was exactly where you wound up. He couldn’t see and he just did what he was told to do.

Our horse-trading partner was a roper and he taught Cody to rope. We had the bale of hay with the steer head in the yard. Another roping dummy of welded pipe with legs that swiveled and even a tabletop steer you roped with a string.

Cody rode Jack. I rode him, and we even let Will ride him and he was about five at the time. I still have pictures of Will taking him around the barrels.

Jack was pretty much the perfect horse. We hauled him to the arena and Brandon practiced spurring on him (without the spurs.) Will rode him around and, as I said, decided he wanted to put him around the barrels.

Plus, Jack was the perfect date.

Brandon often took girls out to the place and went riding. We had several horses at all times that were good riding horses, but he always took Jack. I asked him one time why he didn’t saddle another horse instead of riding double on Jack bareback.

He looked at me as if I had really lost my mind. “Mom, think about it. Riding double with a girl scooted up against you at sunset. Perfect date. The girls love it. I love it and it doesn’t cost a dime.”

Yeah, he was kind of frugal with his money. He was going to high school, working half a day and competing in three events. All his money was going to rodeo and there was no room in his life for high maintenance women.

We kept Jack for quite a while until we found a better roping horse. Not that he was a bad horse. A couple of high school ropers borrowed him to rope on and they won some money on him. I would have kept him for me and Will to ride, but Don didn’t think we needed him.

The vacant eye socket grossed a lot of people out, but that was just Jack. He was a pretty horse until you looked at that and he had a very willing and sweet disposition.

I wish I could find another horse like him. He was one of those horses who would do anything you asked of him and keep going. He had an attitude a lot like Cowboy’s.

It’s hard to find that kind of willingness and loyalty in people or animals. They aren’t remarkable or showy, they’re just there for you when you need them.

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