When our two daughters were in 4-H they bought a few good ewes, mostly Suffolks and Hampshires, planning to raise show lambs. They needed a good ram, of course, and some folks down the road had a high-powered Suffolk.
He was big and long and had muscles in all the right places, especially his rear end. His head wasn’t too great, though. He had a Roman nose that looked like it had been broken in several places. We noticed it, of course, but didn’t think too much about it.
We are among those 4-H leaders and parents who believe in the kids doing everything themselves, so we turned the ram out with the ewes, helped the girls decide how much of what kind of feed he and the ewes should have and went on about our own business.
A couple of weeks later I happened to be outside at chore time and heard one daughter scream. I ran out to the pasture in time to see her picking herself up off the ground near the feed trough, crying. The ram was backing up, pawing the ground. He lowered his head and charged again, knocking her flat once more. I managed to get her out of there while he backed up and got ready one more time.
While I was checking out the damage my husband showed up. After we determined nothing was broken and told him what the ram had done, he said, “I’ll teach that old booger a lesson.”
I held our daughter, who was still crying, and we watched while Dad stomped into the pasture and said to the ram, “Come on, you reprobate. Charge somebody your own size.”
The ram obliged.
Later, Dad said his plan was to kick the ram in the head when he got in close. Dad, all six feet five inches of him, stood still. Our daughter watched through her tears. I held my breath. Dad raised one boot to meet the ram’s head, ready to give him a kick in the face he’d never forget.
He kicked him, all right, but the ram hit his other leg. It was spectacular. Dad turned a complete cartwheel in the air, long arms and legs flying, and landed with a thud. The ram, meanwhile, kept on going awhile before turning around, backing up, and taking aim again.
Dad gathered himself just in time to meet the next charge. That time, Mister Ram was the one who suffered a spectacular wreck. So Dad won the battle. Watching her father’s dramatics made our daughter forget about her own trauma. She even laughed.
Mister Ram was a good stud and sired some powerful lambs, but he never could be trusted so we finally got rid of him.
The day of the battle we all learned a lesson — animals with broken noses didn’t get them by being nice and gentle. Come to think of it, that probably applies to people as well.