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Don Johnsons Blog

Blog Posted:6/11/2011 10:08:00 PM
In the 1950s I was with my father “Bronco” Don Johnson out in a mustering camp…
We lived on damper and thick slabs of corn meat with a drop of tomato sauce, great tucker mate…
All you needed was a billy of black tea, a saddle pouch Quartpot and a bit of sugar to wash it down…
Dad and the men were contract mustering cattle for the Winters… A bullock had been killed by
the Squatter and a bullock hide was pegged out on the ground with cut pieces of fence wire, just like the Kangaroo shooters did till they started shooting them for meat about 10 years later… Don got Strawn Nelson and Cattle Pup Mc Ewan making hobble straps out of the greenhide doubled so the hair was folded in out of the way… The thickest and best leather came from the backbone of the hide... The Bronco was whittling Hobble Pegs out of Gidgee to fix the hobble strap on the horses….Good wood Gidgee mate, fence posts are the very best? ….So round the horses fetlock and poke it through a cut slot and cut a small hole to put the peg in… the Aussie hobble peg had a small knob on each end so it wouldn’t come out easy and was a few inches long … Horses were hobbled out overnight to get a feed… One mare had a small bell to listen for during the night to see if the horses were walking away or just feeding, and you knew where they were come daylight…
So at daylight they would saddle up and take the hoops out of the horses at daylight… Down with their heads the horses would pigroot now ... The Pup and Straw were rodeo riders and just reefed up their horses heads and spurred if the horse kept trying,… usually jumped them into a canter and the horse settled down for the days work… After about 10 minutes riding you always got off the horse and tightened the girth and surcingle to avoid girth galling your horse,.. if your girth strap broke the surcingle saved you from the ground flop… Riding through the timber looking for cattle to turn onto the fence where they would be collected and driven to a bush yard made of round timber, post and rail,… Cobb and Co’d with doubled fencing wire twitched to the posts , shaped ends on the 12 foot long rails using an axe to fit the rail into slots cut in the posts. ..The 10 foot posts would be 3 foot in the ground and rammed to make them firm in the ground. The yard was made of Gidgee and would be still there! mate… Cattle Pup was a character and was always saying how did I go with him mate, after riding a bullock or horse at the Rodeo?..
Pup pulled an old 45 revolver and was plonking away at a crow, the crow arked and left ?..
One of the men wanted to get a few quid for the loss of a finger in insurance… Gunner Joe put his hand around a Yellow Jacket Gum tree and after jerking his hands away from the axe twice, Bronco got the finger on the third try, so he got his insurance pounds?…
At 5, I had a quiet bolter gelding called Star very hard in the mouth, never mouthed properly…
If you take care when mouthing a horse it will have a sensitive mouth instead of a calloused one,
and the horse will turn and stop readily… Great galloper Star, you couldn’t turn him but I could generally point him ?…
Bronco and I were after horses and they galloped away Star was almost up with the leaders …
and Bronco was being left behind on his half broken horse. ..He yelled to me the 5 year old, pull on the one rein, pull on the one rein, so I galloped in a big circle back to him? …
Then when I was 10, Bronco he fought with his drover workers and they left him with a thousand cattle on the Bollon Stock route…. I saddled up Star and rode out 10 miles to the Culgoa river near Cubbie and become a man that day... Of course he’d yell at me to get out of the bloody way when the cattle rushed my way suddenly….
He carried star pickets and barb wire and rolled a wire around the cattle in a corner of the stock route of a night about pizzle height kept the cattle on camp less they rushed in the night… It will also keep a horse where you want him too… Brumbies were taken from the bush by 4 men generally on good strong horses… One rode behind the brumbies , one on each wing, and the man who steadies the lead was on a thoroughbred Race horse type, sound of wind and limb… The man in the lead rode fifty yards in the lead, and would go a bit left to divert the horses to the right , or go right to divert them to the left . So you had control to run them into your bush yard for breaking them in …
Want to know more, see it on youtube johnsondon2….Don Johnson

The brown snake came to the waterbag
Liked the water dripping there
Old brown loves a cool spot in the heat
Soft in the moonlight glare

Father had said you will find one there
When you go for a drink tonight
Take a torch have a bloody care
The brown was there alright

So old brown left in a casual way
He saw no harm he’d get from me
He swished away out if sight that day
But he lives in my memory
Don Johnson

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  1. Date: 6/12/2011 9:04:00 PM
    Very interesting and colorful story, Don! It describes well the kind of environment you grew up with. I love horses myself. They are my favorite animals and I had the chance also to ride them when I was younger. Thanks for sharing. Caroline.

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  1. Date: 6/12/2011 3:01:00 PM
    You sure have lived an interesting life, Don. So glad to hear you are a premium member and can share blogs with us now. Hope you are doing well. Love, Carolyn

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  1. Date: 6/12/2011 12:13:00 PM
    Yup the man's a real rising star, the real deal, and I was proud to find his juicy writing in amongst the tamer glad to have you bloggin' Light & Love

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  1. Date: 6/12/2011 8:42:00 AM
    wow DON such interesting blog info on u and a great poem to top it off luv.. nice to place a photo with a name now .. welcome to PM and all its great features..enjoy them all luv.

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  1. Date: 6/12/2011 8:38:00 AM
    Congrats on your PM Don, :) it is always a pleasure to put faces to names :), super smiles to you and looking forward to reading more of your blogs (what an adventure to have at that age!) :D

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  1. Date: 6/12/2011 7:10:00 AM
    WEll, you are the epitome of the modern cowboy, Don! Funny your telling of the guy who had his finger shot off for insurance money! It's like a guy in the US robbing a bank so that he could get treatment for his cancer in prison. I like your Brown snake poem and think your bio picture makes you look very pleasant. Good to see a new Australian on the Soup!

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  1. Date: 6/12/2011 2:17:00 AM
    Thank you Francine, this I do mean, you surely are a treasure, straight shooter, subtle Queen, of fair an faithful measure! xo Don

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  1. Date: 6/12/2011 1:03:00 AM
    congrats on your P.M. welcome to blogging, now you can share even more stories with us

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  1. Date: 6/12/2011 1:01:00 AM
    i hope you enjoy your p.m. Don, it was an honor... take care,..p.d.

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  1. Date: 6/11/2011 11:36:00 PM
    welcome abroad, don!! such riveting details you got here about horses and life's adventures! will check youtube! fine blog! .. huggs! :)

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