As I mentioned in the last chapter, Gus never bucked me off again. However, there is a little more to the story than that, as far as bucking goes. One day, not too long after his first auditions as a bucking horse, I was riding Gus out in the hills.. We began climbing a short but fairly steep hill. Gus was feeling good and he, all by himself, picked his pace up to a gallop and kind of charged the hill. Lots of horses like to climb a hill that way. Maybe it's a "Let's get it over with" type of attitude. So, I grabbed leather with both hands and I gave him his head and let him do it.. I figured, "Hey.. If it's his idea, he probably won't buck because of running up this hill." Well, I was almost right. He waited until he got completely to the top of the hill, slowed down, and then he came "unwired". It appeared we were going to have a sequel to the first time I got bucked off. Only, this time I was half expecting it.
He quickly got into some serious bucking.... but, I was doing a real respectable job of staying in the saddle. There's nothing like fear of falling a long ways and smacking the ground, to bring out one's best riding abilities. Luck was on my side that day. At about the third or fourth skyward thrust, he somehow lost his footing. Down he came.... and "WHOMP", fell flat on his stomach... and it seemed to knock the wind totally out of him. I'd never seen anything like that, before. Here I was, my feet were still in the stirrups, only one foot fully reaching the ground, and here I stood, straddling a grunting and groaning horse. One of my first thoughts was, "Now, what would a real cowboy do??"
After a moment or two of hoping a little bit that the horse was severely injured, I kicked my feet out of the stirrups and removed myself from his back. I was a little scared... and mad... so I just started yelling and kicking the tar out of him as he was lying there on his belly. (This was back before I went on meds.) I kicked him continuously until he got himself up on his feet. (Note for those who don't know.. a man wearing soft, light SAS footwear isn't going to hurt a horse much by kicking him.) I thought later that this is the point where I should have put my left foot back in the stirrup and remounted him as he was getting up. I saw that done in a movie, one time. It looked pretty cool. That might have made a real believer out of him. Anyway, when I did get back on him, he seemed much more mellow, so I rode him slowly back to the house without incident.