It’s been a busy week here. Besides the fact that it rained last weekend, while I was gone to a wedding; this week has been spent dealing with mud, gathering/shipping calves, and getting the barn ready for winter so I’ll have someplace semi-warm to ride. I’m realizing that warm is a relative term, as this week it’s also been cold- by my standards that is- mid 40s during the day- low 20s at night.
Thursday we went to gather pairs (cows and their calves) in a 6000 acre pasture. Did you hear me say 6000 acres? Let me say it again. SIX THOUSAND. Yes. One pasture. We drove in 4 miles, parked got on horseback, and then rode probably another mile and a half- 2 miles, to the north end of the pasture. Then we started back to the south-and had to go west (a total of probably 7 miles, not counting all the zig-zagging you do to make sure you haven’t missed any in a draw or a ravine. This began at about 9:30 am. We were back with what we thought were all the pairs, by around 2pm.
We stopped for lunch, went to grab our trailer, that contained fresh horses, and got a count of the pairs. We were short some but regardless, began the sorting. We sorted this time, to take all the heifer calves (girls) and their mamas, away from the rest of the herd. They (the heifers only) were going to be shipped back to the main ranch to get weaned and the steer calves were going to the sale the next day. To do this you have to hold the herd, while someone rides in and cuts out the pair (mama cow and calf) that you need for that day’s business. That was going well, and then we were asked, Zach and I, if we’d go chase down the missing pairs.
Both of us were on fat, out of shape horses, that haven’t had much outside riding, and we had to travel a mile and half back east and then a quarter mile to the south to find the cows, who then turned tail and ran off another quarter mile to the north before we finally got them lined out.
By the time we got back to the ranch that night it was about 8:30pm and we still had to unload our horses, unsaddle and feed broodmares (female horses that only have babies as their job).
And we were going to start the whole thing over again the next morning, as the steer calves were going to the sale. Luckily all the cows were in a 20 acre trap (basically just a small pasture) where we’d sorted the day before, so it was easy to gather them. We were done gathering, sorting, and had them loaded on to trucks by noon.
Needless to say, my ass and legs have been a little sore. I ride everyday, but not like that. I am relatively surprised that it wore me out like that. It’s done now, and I’m so glad!
Next up will be shipping our calves- and there might be some other folks to help in the meantime. I won’t be around when these calves get shipped. I’ll be back in Texas that week for a visit.