After I had saddled up a string of horses and tied them all up along the fence line, half the day had gone by. I was in a hurry to get moving and the first horse was going to go on the river loop. This day Snugs needed to stay behind so I tied him up with a horse lead rope in the shade with a water dish and gave the command to stay and behave. What was I thinking? Those two commands never registered with Sneaky Snugs boy. He had come to me a little late in life and already had an opinion on how things should be.
I climbed on board my horse and lit out on the trail which leads out behind our 100 year old redwood barn that rims Bernard Creek. We headed west at the old Highway 166 that separates the old Bernard Homestead from the Garcin Ranch Homestead. This is mountain country with ridges leading down to the Cuyama river bottom. As I dropped off the old highway I took a dirt road that leads to a large tunnel and goes under the new highway. It's big enough to ride a horse through and take all the cattle from one side to the other. The road becomes very steep nearing the tunnel entrance and I had to focus on the slippery terrain with loose dirt. I reined in my mount to shorten his stride and keep from sliding awkwardly down the hill. Right about then, out of the corner of my eye, I spied a black and white streak of movement up ahead. Lifting my eyes I saw Snugs snickering at me, bouncing up and down on his front legs. I was shocked to see him there, as he didn't come up from behind. He had to have crossed the canyon and gone over the ridge and dropped down at the precise moment, like he knew where I would be!
"Oh my gosh," I said out loud. "I can't believe it Snuggie Snookums Sneaky Snickers - how did you get loose?!" Turns out he had chewed through the lead rope and freed himself. He looked just like he was snickering at me as if to say, "You can't leave me behind - I will go wherever you go and cut you off at the pass. Haha, aren't I cunning!"
"All right boy, you can go. I'm not about to turn around now that I've come this far, you sneaky Snookum." I laughed out loud and I swear he he was laughing back with a gleam in his eye and a bounce in his step.