A Cowboy’s Faith: Frozen ponds are dangerous

buchmanhead“Don’t walk on the ice.”

That’s been a common sign at public lakes in the past couple of weeks, but there wasn’t such an inscribed message at the pond in that pasture where two bulls have been enjoying early winter pampering.

Contending that bulls couldn’t read, we never considered posting hazard-warning about walking on the pond. Likewise, it’s our philosophy that most livestock is smart enough to not put their lives in jeopardy.

Obviously, one of those high dollar bulls, whether he can read or not, didn’t have enough common sense to not walk out on the frozen pond. Half way across, the ice broke through, and he was in a serious predicament.

Fortunately, the water was only deep enough that the bull could raise his head straight up, so he didn’t drown. Still, extreme cold temperature would have likely been his doom, if the cow boss hadn’t showed up in time.

Rescuing the dumb, cold bull was a major dilemma. However, the ingenious cattle manager called our son, and maneuvers went into operation.

With ropes around his body, the assistant cautiously walked out on the frozen pond with lariat in hand. Still considerable distance from the bull, the six-foot-seven cowboy roped the distressed bovine around his high-raised head.

Getting a near-ton bull back across the frozen pond to shore was still another complicated task. Log chains were hooked to the pickup backed as close to the pond as possible, and tied to a second lariat extended from the one around the bull’s neck.

Of course, the second lariat snapped in two on the first attempt to pull the bull. But, after the ropes were retied, slow, careful tugging brought the bull back to land.

While one might envision pulling by the neck would have choked the bull, after a quick release of the lariat, the critter was on his feet and moving away.

Not yet overly energetic, that bull is still alive, coming to the daily feed bucket. Hopefully, he’s smart enough to stay off the ice, and warns his 300 cousins of the same.

Reminds us of First Corinthians 10:11: “There are warning markers everywhere.” Because, Psalm 147:17: “He cast forth ice that nobody can stand on.” Mostly importantly, Genesis 19:16: “He was so merciful to them and dragged them to safety.”


Frank_BuchmanFrank J. Buchman is a lifelong rancher from Alta Vista, a lifetime newspaper writer, syndicated national ag writer and a radio marketing consultant. He writes a weekly column to share A Cowboy’s Faith.

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