We headed out around 9am. The sun was shining and there was a cool breeze. A perfect day to ride Beaver Creek. There were four of us riding out that day, Sara on Jacks, Heath on Ricky Bobby, Dee on Playboy and I was on Aliente.
Heath and Dee watched in amusement while I tried to get Ali to stand still as we waited for Sara to saddle Jacks. Aliente is a green eight year old Paso Fino. Pasos have a reputation for being “hot” which Heath loves to remind me of every time my boys act up. Heath did point out that while I was spinning and circling my guy the two mustangs were standing perfectly still and watching in what I was sure was amusement .
There was the usual conversation with long gaps of silence as we meandered along. Heath was recovering from some mustang injuries, Ali had bucked the previous two days so I don’t think either of us were in the mood to do much other than enjoy riding. Sara and Dee seemed to feel the same way.
Sara had moved ahead of me on the familiar trail, Jacks was in a hurry to get wherever we were going. Ali and I were a couple of feet behind her when I heard here scream “oh shit a snake!” I looked down at Jacks feet as he jumped to the side and the snake beneath his hooves curled into a circle. And started to rattle.
Ok. I admit. I screamed. As I screamed I kicked Ali and turned him AWAY from the snake. I don’t usually scream while I’m on a horse, in fact this was a first for Ali. He did a pretty good imitation of a grasshopper jumping sideways. But that maneuver got us well away from the snake.
And oh shit it was a rattle snake.
We were amazed that Jacks had not been bit. I don’t know how he didn’t because I saw that snake between his front feet. Sara thought she heard his foot hit it, so maybe he stunned it long enough to delay the striking. It probably would have been a death sentence for him, because we were in an isolated area with limited vehicle access. But he was ok.
Having been semi educated by Steve (who calls snakes “critters and thinks they are cool) I thought we would just leave the snake alone and ride on.
Heath Marshal had other ideas. Now you have to understand that Heath is a World Famous Mustang Tamer. And he was riding The Legendary Ricky Bobby.
They compete in mounted shooting, where Heath fires at targets while riding at a full gallop.
More about mounted shooting:
Heath was going to get a rock to kill the rattler when I yelled “Heath, I’ve got a gun!” He galloped over on Ricky Bobby, I grabbed my Keltec out of my saddle bag and tossed it to him. He caught it in mid air at a full gallop. We all watched in amazement as he pounded towards the coiled snake and started shooting. The first pass he got off three shots to the body. As he pivoted and headed back to the snake he fired his last shot that blew the head completely off the viper.
Wow. It was amazing. It was unreal.
Well, it really was unreal because that is not the way it happened but I thought it made a fun story!
Here is what really happened.
Heath got off Ricky Bobby and was going to find a rock. I told him I had a gun, rode over and handed it to him.
He looked at it and asked “what is it?”
“I know that! What kind of gun?”
“A Keltec. ”
“Is it a 45.”
“No, 380 and one is in the chamber.”
So Heath took the gun, handed Ricky Bobby’s reins to Dee and approached the snake.
As you will see from the video he got him.
Ricky Bobby, the champion mounted shooting horse evidently does not like to have shots fired when they are not from his back. He went a little bonkers. Which got Jacks and Playboy excited. My “hot” Paso Fino Aliente just stood there looking back and forth between Heath shooting the snake and the other horses circling around.
Heath wanted to get a head shot. So he took Ricky Bobby from Dee, walked over to the snake and got the headshot. We all got a little excited when Ricky Bobby reacted to the shot and started backing TOWARDS the snake.
During this excitement my green “hot” Paso Fino, who is a palomino and does have “blond” moments stood still so I could video. His head was swiveling back and forth and I could hear him saying in his surfer guy voice “dude! What’s happening?! Dude?”
With the snake thoroughly and completed dead we proceeded on our ride. With Heath Marshall The Rattlesnake Slayer in the lead. Every. Step. Of. The. Way.