This past weekend was the weekend. Weaning day. It’s always fun and exciting, gathering our small herd of cattle on horseback and pushing them the mile or so down the road to our home pasture and our working pens. On this morning our good buddy Kenneth was there to help.
We were up and at ’em early, and because there is never a lack of hard work around our place, Travis had to re-shoe one horse and replace a missing shoe on another before we could even get started.
But once we did get started, it wasn’t hard to forget all the hard work and long hours that go into raising cattle part-time. It was a crisp, clear, sunny fall day, and for both Travis and I, there’s nothing we’d rather be doing. If we could raise cattle for a living, we wouldn’t hesitate, and believe me, it’s no small amount of hours that go into planning and figuring how to someday do just that.
The horse I grabbed out of the pasture to gather cattle on is an ex-racehorse. She’s a quarter horse, her name is Diesel and let’s just say she has high energy levels. Still, she’s the horse of my heart, the one I can’t stop smiling when I’m riding. So I picked her. She came out of the barn with new shoes, snorting like a fire breathing dragon, and I wasn’t about to fight her on standing still while I climbed on. I’ve been told she’s a ten on the scale of crazy, but what those people don’t know is that D just REALLY likes to go to work. If she’s working she’s happy, which I can identify with. See her ears in the above pic? That’s how they always are. Because she’s interested. And happy.
Of course the only reason I get the luxury of picking Diesel is because Travis is on the bomb-proof, hard-working, no-nonsense ranch horse, Cassie. Who loves to work as much as Diesel, but is definitely less exuberant about it. I know if Diesel has any training issues we need to address while gathering cattle, Travis and Cassie can pick up the slack.
But the cool thing is, that a lot of the time, when you put your trust in another (horse or human), they rise up to meet your expectation. The below pic is my D girl being uber-responsible and riding point on the biggest chunk of cows in the “hot zone”, aka the stretch of road that has a house on it, and as we all know, most folks don’t appreciate 30 head of cattle running through their yard. This is an important job, and I’m proud to say no yard-running occurred.
And then guess what? Once we got all the cows and calves in the larger lot, I rode over and opened the gate off my “ten on a scale of crazy” horse, side passed right into that lot and got to work sorting cows and calves. She was quiet, responsive, quick and got the job done with no muss, no fuss and total professionalism.
Here she is watching her charges. She honestly didn’t want to quit work anymore than I did. Who says ex-racehorses can’t make ranch horses?
Now we just have to dig out the ear plugs, it’s going to be pretty loud on the Flying 45 over the next week. Babies and momma cows do NOT like weaning time.
Happiness and Hoofbeats,
The Gate Girl