Eight-time Wrangler National Finals Rodeo qualifier Cody Cowden rides a borrowed horse these days. When he helps Daniel Green and Jordan Ketscher at the Cinch Timed Event Championship in the Lazy E's red dirt arena, Cowden's 18-year-old son Will shares his horse Colonel Rattle Chex, a.k.a. Rattler, the 16-year-old dark dun that stands out from the pack of top-of-the-line heel horses.
Rattler came from ropers Mike and Sarah Jay, who now live in Canton, Texas. Cowden went to try a head horse for a friend, and noticed the Colonel Freckles-bred gelding. His friend bought both the head horse and Rattler in a package deal, but ended up not being in love with the smaller-statured heel horse. So, he decided Will needed to have him.
"This horse was the catch," Cowden, of Merced, California, said. "I have to ask to ride him and follow all of the procedures."
Will rode him through some of his junior rodeo career and won the ProAm at the Cinch Timed Event Championship March 1, where he's ridden Rattler the last four years.
"The good thing about him is that he takes no drugs, no thing, just hay. And he's sound," Cowden said. "He's real honest. He doesn't have no cheat to him. He runs down through there real free. He doesn't take your throw away. He's not a hard stopper–he just slides through it. He doesn't try to stick it to you."
Green is sure to ask Will annually if he can borrow his horse, and Will is happy to oblige.
"I won it riding him the first time I used him," Green said. "I won it on Cody's horse Shot in 2008, and then they came up with Will's horse. He's really good. He's honest, he doesn't take shots from you, he's athletic–he's just a really, really solid horse."
At home in California, Will, who is riding horses and roping for a living right now, saves Rattler for the bigger ropings, but each year, Rattler makes the 23-hour trip from California to get the call at the E.