When a ‘hand’ hired on with a big cattle outfit, it was common for him to be issued a half dozen or more mounts. He would come to know his horses and what they were good at (just like people). He’d have a horse with ‘good wind’ for endurance, one for roping. Perhaps there was one ‘green broke’ – a horse that had had a few saddles on him – one in whom he sensed the potential of a good mount that he liked to get sweatin’ in the morning. Maybe there was his favorite…the pretty mare, that was ‘just right’ to go courtin’ with.
About the worst thing you can ask of an animal (or people for that matter) is for them to do something they don’t have a clue how to do. Puts everyone in an awkward ‘sitiation.
This fellow is in the corral, eyeing the horses. He has his eye on the one he knows will work for what he has in mind. With a quick ‘hoolihan’ (backward – clockwise throw) he’ll cull him out of the bunch, saddle him up and get to work.
NOTE: A ‘hoolihan’ is a gentle toss of the rope. It is not the same loop used by cowmen when roping a runaway steer. When roping a steer a cowman may twirl the rope overhead 5-8 times, real fast, and let it fly. Working in a corral full of horses…it pays to be ‘easy’. On a right-handed man, the lariat is twirled backwards or clockwise (never twirled overhead) almost an underhanded throw.