Pete had witnessed it so many times before, this evening he had not noticed. He wasn't oblivious, it was the way things were, and that was that. He was a matter of fact guy in a matter of fact world and so long as nothing changed he was okay.
Slow and easy was Pete's way. Nothing ever happened on the mesa, and that was just fine by him.
The cowboy reined left and grinned at what his horse wanted to do, but they weren’t going to play it that way. Too late in the day, Pete thought almost out loud. Too late in the day to do it the hard way.
The horse knew of course, but he still wanted to plunge head long into the thicket after the calf. His rider was tired and he, the horse, was tired too, but instinct was still instinct, and the calf was just yards away, hiding amongst the mesquite trees.
The cowboy let out a long low whistle, and he instantly heard the dog break right and behind him into the thicket, then it was quiet. The horse danced in place, anxious to go, ears forward, trying against the reins to turn toward where the calf hid.
The dog set up a howl and the brush shook as the calf lumbered out of the scrub brush ahead and to the right of horse and rider.
“Now,” the cowboy loosed the reins and brushed the rowels of his spurs along the big animal’s flanks. It was all the permission the horse needed. He set back slightly on his haunches and caught up with the calf in less time than it takes to talk about it.