As hard as it is to believe that the trail riding season (and summer in general) is over, a sudden snow in the mountains was a solid reminder that fall is well on its way. It's been cool enough down here but when the clouds cleared the other day and the mountains reappeared with their white coat, I have to admit that I was quite thankful that the Ladies Ride was a week long, not 10 days! The leaves and grasses are all changing color, the horses are shedding their summer coats and the geese are starting to gather. I know I say this every year, but summer went by much too quickly!
Both of these photos are from Olivia's mom Karen. I took the same photos but clearly I need a new camera!
Those of us cowgirling lately do not have such big grins (unless they are frozen in place) as the weather has stayed pretty darn cold. Yesterday our crew gathered to move our ex-neighbors amazingly difficult to handle cows up to the range again. Just to put things in to perspective of how 'challenging' these cattle are to handle, consider this. When these particular neighbors first bought the Five Mile Ranch, I was hired as the range rider for 200 plus head. (They had purchased the cattle with the ranch.) I moved them up to and around the range with just a good horse and two dogs. Don't get me wrong, I always appreciated and made use of any extra help! But this is the exact same route as what we did yesterday with less than 80 head, 6 competent riders and 5 dogs. (And were certainly not completely successful.) Chasing this 80 head means that they put their heads down in the brush and head off in 79 directions. If there were more cattle, it would just mean more directions. Ha ha. It does not help that the first part of the drive is through very thick brush and spruce timber, making visibility extremely limited and fast travel nearly impossible. Their main focus is to circle and get back to the ranch. They've been doing this for years and are very good at it.
There were some unladylike words in the air.
My "city boy" Kenny is turning in to quite a working cow horse. I'm sure he'd much prefer the 'retirement' pasture he came from, and still occasionally throws a temper tantrum, but as a whole, he is pretty darn awesome.
And no, I certainly did not get any photos. These couple I've added are from our summer cattle drive and taken by Magalie. I have thought of using a mounted camera to give you the feel of racing through the brush and timber at high speeds, but I would probably have to have the audio off. Ha ha.
In the end, we got most of them up to the main range. And in the meantime, we were treated to sun, hail, rain and sleet. Luckily our new range/hunting cabin is near where we finally dropped the cattle so on the way past, we sent Magalie and Chloe to start the heater and it was sure a treat to dry off and thaw out. We moved much quicker on the way home, but it is still a good couple of hours ride back.
One of Magalie's excellent photos, taken from the above cabin. This was on the last trail ride.
I have had some very interesting discussions lately regarding both horsemanship and working cattle. Both, I feel, are very similar in many ways. I believe it was the great horseman Tom Dorrance that quoted something along the lines of "it can not be taught, only learned". You can talk (or read or listen) until you are blue in the face, but being able to relate that information to an experience is really what makes the difference. Being 'aware' first of all and then reflecting about what works and what didn't, and most importantly, trying to figure out the "why". Most of the time we choose to accept events from our own point of view and not take much, if any, accountability for it. It is a whole different thing to really get down to the depth of "what happened before what happened happened." (Quote from Ray Hunt) And then try to build on the goodness or change what didn't work so well.
Alright, I'll quit before I've buried myself too far. You get like Eli when I get talk "horse"........a far off look and glazed over eyes! Ha ha ha. In any case I better get a move on. Being away for most of the summer means my house looks like the Three Little Pigs moved in and invited their extended families while we were away. But hey, I got the kids to bed before 10 tonight, so I'm winning! Ready for school in a few days.....WHAT?