As I am a bent over in a goat pen with an 11,000 volt cattle prod heading towards my rear end I wonder how I got here. Perhaps it was a mixture of my big mouth, my ego and peer pressure all mixed into one. To think I actually suggested this.
One of the most random experiences of my time in Australia was spent on the Kroombit Cattle Ranch in Queensland. At the start we were given the option of quad biking or goat herding. The latter sounded hilarious and I thought you can do quad biking any time.
The tour bus was practically all female and I was the only male who opted for goat herding. So far all the nice pretty horses had been given out; ‘Chocolate’ and ‘Bubbles’ wasn’t going to cut it for me. I wanted a man’s horse. I wanted a stallion.
I got exactly what I asked for. Out trots ‘Big Red’. I was sold on the name alone but it was only when a girl pointed out the size of its ‘horsehood’ that I knew I was on to a winner. Now I would like to pretend that Big Red and I got on. I’d like to say that we chased down those goats and herded them like they have never been herded before. I’d like to say I was the real deal; a real outback ranger on my trusty steed. I think we both know I would be lying.
Big Red and I came to an understanding. The understanding being that he would ignore me and eat grass while I just sat there and watched the goats run off in the wrong direction. It was a perfect harmony of sorts. Now you would think that would teach me a lesson. Oh no, this backpacker is not a smart one.
The fun didn’t stop there. I won the clay pigeon shooting drive-by stylee. Fiddy Cent had better watch out, I don’t need nine shots. I also went head-to-head with not one, but two goats in the rodeo, I was on fire.
Now you’re probably wondering where my rear end and the electric cattle prod comes in to all this. Right about now.
Now the guide had a cattle prod. All those with a pace maker were excused. We got in a circle, held hands and each of us got a tiny shock. Some people dropped out, the circle got smaller and the shock increased slightly. At this point the guide piped up “normally there is one idiot who wants to get shocked all on his own”. In my defence I didn’t volunteer initially. A few fingers pointed in my direction. Clearly I had made a reputation for myself.
Arm outstretched the prongs inched closer to my skin and then it touched. A shock runs through me but it lasts a mere moment. The crowd applauded out of amusement or admiration, I am not sure. Now this is where one should stop.
Have you ever seen the film Exit Wounds? There is a scene where Steven Segal takes a taser in the chest for as long as possible in an attempt to win the respect of his fellow officers. This scene in the back of my mind, I ask the guide with the prod to do it again, but this time to hold it on.
For health and safety, apparently I needed to take it in the rear end. I bent over, and assumed the position. It seemed to take an age for the cattle prod to connect. This time I really did feel it. As the volts coursed through my body I decided to abandon all sense of decorum and squeal like a little girl. My proudest moment? Maybe.
What did I learn from this experience? Never have a pissing contest with a horse, I am a dab hand with a double barrelled shotgun and cattle prods in the rear end are to be avoided. Not bad for a days work. Learn something new every day!