Years ago when the rider was in Montana on Howard Eaton's Ranch, near the celebrated ranch of Theodore Roosevelt, he had his first experience with Western horses, and being sensitive and standing in great terror of being called a tenderfoot, he shyly watched the others mount before he attempted to do so himself. Each one of these plainsmen, he noticed, took the reins in his left hand while standing on the left-hand side of the horse; then holding the reins over the shoulders of the horse he grasped the mane with the same hand, and put his left foot into the stirrup; but to put the left foot in the stirrup he turned the stirrup around so that he could mount while facing the horse's tail, then he grabbed hold of the pummel with his right hand and swung into the saddle as the horse started.
That looked easy; the writer also noticed that just before the others struck the saddle they gave a whoop, so without showing any hesitation the author walked up to his cayuse, took the reins confidently in his left hand, using care to stand on the left-hand side of the horse; then he placed the left hand with the reins between the shoulders of the horse and grabbed the mane, then he turned the stirrup around, turned his back to the horse's head, put his left foot in the stirrup and gave a yell.
On sober afterthought he decided that he gave that yell too soon; the horse almost went out from under him, or at least so it seemed to him, or maybe the sensation would be better described to say that it appeared to him as if he went a mile over the prairie with his right leg waving in the air like a one-winged aeroplane, before he finally settled down into the saddle.
But this could not have been really true, because everybody applauded and the writer was at once accepted by the crowd without question as a thoroughbred Sourdough. Possibly they may have thought he was feeling good and just doing some stunts.
It may interest the reader to state that the author did his best to live up to the first impression he had made, but he did not go riding the next day, there were some books he thought necessary to read; he discovered, however, that even lounging was not without some discomfort; for instance, he could not cross his knees without helping one leg over with both his hands; in fact, he could find no muscle in his body that could be moved without considerable exertion and pain.
But this is the point of the story: Had the author tried to mount that cayuse in any other way he would have been left sprawling on the prairie. The truth is that if you mount properly when the horse starts, even if he begins to buck and pitch, the action will tend to throw you into the saddle, not out of it.
When you approach a horse which has a brand on it, always approach from the left-hand side, because practically all the Western horses have brands on them, and you can, as a rule, count on a branded horse being from the West, with the hale and hearty habits of the West, which to be appreciated must be understood. If you want to make a real cayuse out of your wooden horse, brand it and any cowboy who then sees it will take off his hat.