Saturday was a day I have looked forward to for weeks. In fact, I might go so far as to say that I’ve looked forward to a day like the one we had Saturday for my whole life, I just didn’t know it. It was by far and above one of the best days I’ve ever had, and one of the best days I’ve ever spent horseback.
If you’re not a stranger to this blog, you know that I love branding season. The smell of singed hair, the visiting with friends and neighbors you don’t see often, and the work you do that makes your horses and you better and handier- plus a good, hard day’s work, is just healthy for your soul, I think. And while you’re always tired at the end of the day, it’s not really work when you brand. It’s just plain fun!
Saturday was our second branding of the year- the first being our annual Father’s Day Branding, which is, at the very least a two-day party with well over 100 people coming and going at some point during the weekend. That one involves a lot more manual labor, which I’ve discussed here before, and will again; but today it’s all about how we headed and heeled the calves, in the corral we built in the pasture, in tall, green grass (which, in the future, will be mowed prior to the branding so our heel shots don’t all end up getting stuck in the wrong place). Roping the calves like we did is a lot more fun for the people doing the roping, and a lot more standing around for the “ground” crew. But since we only held back about 60 to rope, it didn’t really take that long, and we’d planned on spending all day, so that we could do right by our horses.
And that leads me to the next exciting part of Saturday- roping on my colt, Dino. I’ve been dragging a log and a big 50 gallon drum around on him, but that’s a far cry from a live, bawling calf. To further make things more complicated, we attempt to rope in a way that is easiest on your critter- it’s a very low-stress, ranch roping, type affair. Not an “everything goes to the left so we can get “one” heel shot sort of roping. You take a different shot based on where you and where your horse is and where the calf is, and release your rope based on the plane of your swing. There’s nearly countless shots you could throw- though me, I’m only apt at about 3 of them. It’s okay. It’s a learning experience. Kind of like life.
If you think about all of the above, and throw in a 45-60 foot rope to keep up with, along with other ropers in the corral, and the horse you’re on, it can be sensory overload. Plus this is only my 4th or 5th time to rope at a branding, and my first time to really rope like this! We didn’t have any wrecks, but rather had all kinds of fun, and I got handier at handling that rope as the day went on. I just only roped a couple calves on Dino, but he really hung in there for me and did a great job and it made my heart really, really happy and gave me some confidence since that is the first time I’ve ever roped on a colt. I have to tell you though, honestly, it’s a lot easier to get in there and rope on a saddle horse than it is a colt, but sometimes, part of growing in your horsemanship journey is stepping outside your comfort zone. It worked out great for me, and I cannot wait until next year! I absolutely must give props to the best saddle horse ever, Gump, as well. It’d be sad to leave him out. Because if he weren’t awesome, the day might not have been so superb.
So without further ado, I’d like to share with you 4 minutes video that one of our Ranch Interns, Martha took and I spent yesterday putting together. You can thank my dad for requesting said footage.
And there’s photos- lots and lots of photos. I took a few, but the majority were taken by my SIL- Cole. I’ll share those at some point, I’m sure. I hope you enjoyed this glimpse into my life!