Shipping season has arrived! The time of year that I’d say most ranchers look forward to – reaping the rewards of their season of hard work, through calving in the snow, haying in the heat, fixing broken balers in the blazing sun, and doctoring mama cows for various ailments.
Last week, we were scheduled to be at the neighbor’s place for an early morning gather. I didn’t know what time he needed us, and as such, I hadn’t left my saddle horses in the corral overnight. When he called, I told him it’d be close as to whether or not we’d get there before they started, but told him we’d do our best.
I awoke at 6am, and realized we had a full moon. Piling on a few layers, while downing a cup of coffee, I headed out to gather the horses. There’s nothing quite so romantic as gathering horses in the light of early morning. I wasn’t sure how I’d find them. The grass is still tall enough that even with the bright beams turned on in the side-by-side, It was hard to see more than 10 feet in front of you. Luckily, I spotted our one paint horse, and was able to see and make out the rest – finding the ones I needed for our ride.
They were all full of themselves this cool, fall morning. They headed to the corral at a full-on run, not because I’d chased them into it, but because they were feeling good! I wish that it had been light enough to take some photos, because it was beautiful – seeing the horses lined out against the dark, purple, morning sky.
We hurriedly saddle the horses, and loaded them, heading over to the neighbor’s place where we were served breakfast burritos to eat, as we trotted out to get the cows. I’ve finally found someone else in this part of the country that knows how to make something spicy. Man was that some good eating!
Being horseback, as the sun peeks over the horizon, is probably one of the things I look forward to most this time of year. There’s something freeing and cathartic about it, in addition to it being a beautiful site to see.
The gather went well, the sorting went well and the calves loaded and shipped well too. I’d say I’m blessed to live this life, but I think grateful and fortunate are better descriptions. Fall has always been my favorite time of year, but living in ranch country, makes it that much better.