So I try to get Vanilla out of the head gate and walk him into the barn. He won’t leave the head gate. I try talking to him, pressuring him, lying to him. Anything I can do without being aggressive or mean as he’s already had enough fun for one day. Finally I figure I’ll clean up and take everything back and put it away, and he can step out on his own. Be cool and calm and gentle with animals, I keep telling myself. Once everything is put away, I walk back to the barn yard. I’m still soaking wet from sweat but I’m almost done. All I have to do is walk him into the barn and lock him up, assuming he’s out of the head gate.
As I look, he’s not in the head gate so he did step out on his own. See, being patient works. Since I don’t see him in the barnyard, maybe he even went in the barn on his own. All I have to do is walk him into the stall and close the door. All is good.
As I round the corner of the barn, he is in fact standing in the barn yard. He spins at my entry and I see the gears in his head suddenly mesh. He drops his head and immediately charges me with all he’s got and I’m out in the open with no fence to jump or place to run. At this point he probably weighs about 900 pounds, and he has a full head of steam up in the 15 feet he takes to reach me. This all happens in the blink of an eye.
It should be noted that this behavior is completely not acceptable from a cow on our farm. We’ve never had something like this out of any cow we’ve ever raised. This is apparently my welcome to have Charolais cows on the farm, one I’m not inclined to like. It should also be noted that while his behavior is deplorable, had you tricked me into putting my head into a metal gate and then cut a hole in my side and screwed a huge drywall anchor into my gut, my immediate reaction would be bloody revenge as soon as I get out of this metal contraption. So I understood his feelings on the matter. Unfortunately, empathy doesn’t keep you from getting run over by a pissed off steer.
So Vanilla is coming at me full gallop and aiming right for my wedding vegetables. I take a wide stance, forget all about being patient with animals, and side step his head as he reaches me, doing a pirouette that would make a ballerina jealous (adrenalin does wonders). With this move his head passes right by me and I grab his neck under my right arm and his left ear with my left hand. This lets me take the brunt of the impact on my back and go from zero to gallop in a heartbeat. It also makes sure I don’t get trampled because I can stay in front of him and control where he is going. I get a good ride for about 20 feet before he decides he is going right and I’m happy to go left. He gallops off while I’m left standing, only missing my hat and sunglasses from the impact.
I would wish I had a video of all this but I’m sure it wasn’t as cool looking in real life as it was in my head. Plus you could probably hear me eek like a little girl when it all happened. I don’t know, I was too busy staining the back of my pants to know exactly what was going on. This was all before dinner, and all before the next day where things got interesting. Continued in the next part.