FTO: The Real Horse Whisperer

FTO: Horse Whisperer

Field story brought to you by FTO Ron Goodpaster

The Call

There I was, a salty veteran street cop who was assigned to shape young minds and teach them the job.  The mighty FTO. There is no situation I can’t guide my trainee through, or so I thought… We were patrolling a rural area when a call came in for a horse fight.

It seemed like an odd thing to be assigned, but critter calls came with the patrol area. I knew the house, or rather trailer, that we were going to. It belonged to a gal that lived alone and took in stray horses, much like some would do with cats.

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The Scene

I was hoping she would be home, but no such luck. When we arrived, the place looked like a bad scene from Mad Max beyond Thunderdome with 20 pissed off horses. There were various gates and fences strapped to trees with bailing wire and ropes. The outer perimeter was still secure, but several of the internal gates were down and the horses were going nuts.

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The Demon Horse

The largest of the horses was a huge red evil thing with eyes that glowed with demon fire. He was running around kicking and biting the other horses. His face was covered with blood. He will always be known to me as “Satan.”

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Cease and Desist!

Using all of my amazing veteran Officer command presence, I ordered the horses to cease and desist. It was every bit as effective as you would expect.

I looked at my trainee, shrugged my shoulders, and admitted that I knew nothing about horses nor had any idea how to stop this fight.

Brimming with confidence, he told me he had been raised on a ranch and he’s “got this.” Praise the lord..

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My Trainee to the Rescue

My trainee went to the trailer and found a lasso on the porch.

He told me to follow him and he quickly climbed the fence into the Thunderdome.

Once on the ground, He puts his arms out in a “t” shape. He was making his body bigger. He then starts saying “ho” in a very cowboy like voice. Apparently, “ho” really means something in horse, because most of them responded immediately.

Now convinced a real cowboy was on scene, I climbed the fence to assist. I followed behind, closing and wiring shut gates while I watched in amazement.

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In 5 minutes, we had all but “Satan” and a couple other horses separated from the fray. It was then that “Satan” spotted the weak link in the cowboy chain…. Me…

He stared at me like Hannibal Lector with a can of fava beans.

Suddenly, he charged!

I screamed like a little girl and ran for the closest gate.

Physics was not on my side, and “Satan” caught up to me before I could climb.

Time was running out and I knew I wouldn’t make it over the fence on time.  I could feel Satan getting closer. I could feel his breath. I could feel my impending death. I could see my headstone:

“Ron Goodpaster

Honorable FTO trampled by Satanic Horse”

I turned to face my end in an honorable fashion.

With just a split second to react, I did the only thing I could think of….

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I pepper sprayed the crap out of Satan’s face!

The distraction gave me just enough time to get over the gate with only a minor head bump by Satan on my backside.

I think the speed record I set that day, for tactical withdrawal over a gate, still stands.

The real cowboy managed to lasso Satan while separating him from the other horses.

With Satan finally out of the fray, the fight was finally over.

How my trainee was able to lasso Satan while laughing raucously at me remains a mystery. Needless to say, he got good marks that day from a humbled FTO…


  1. I worked a rural area back in the 1970s. I actually hit a horse in the middle of the night when I was taking a prisoner to jail for DWI. (The horse survived, due to my excellent driving skills.;) )

    What was more rememberable was chasing after a speeder. You see cattle’s eyes glow in the dark when the headlights shine on them. And I saw 30-40 pairs of eyes staring at me in the middle of the road. What don’t shine are cow butts and before I could get turned around a pickup truck going to opposite way found one of the butts. Cow butts are just a tad higher than late 1970s pick up trucks. That truck was covered in cow poop. The driver wasn’t hurt, but her truck was totaled as was the cow.

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