Life on the X-Bar Ranch...

I am an ordinary woman, with an amazing family, serving an awesome God.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Cattle Drive

I don't ride much. Not because I don't enjoy it, but because I am a mom, and its rather hard to find a babysitter out here on the prairie. And because I refuse to take my babies on these crazy ranch-broke horses. I have had 2 of my kids on runaway horses now, and its enough to give this mom a heart attack. So I usually stay at home. And watch My Cowboy ride away. (with longing eyes. )
But one time, he was needing some help pushing yearlings from one place to another. They had been leasing some land from a neighbor, and it was time to get them back to the X-Bar. No other cowboys were available to help, so I was drafted. I found a neighbor girl to stay with the kiddos, while I found some gloves and a felt hat that was too small for My Cowboy. It was almost too small for me, too, but I crammed it on my head and jumped in the truck with My Cowboy.
It was a grey day, overcast and cool. I was a bit nervous, as I swung up onto the back of my horse, Diva. She was the calmest horse they had, according to My Cowboy. We started out at a walk. Soon My Cowboy asked if I knew how to post. He asks me every time we ride together, and every time I tell him that I do. He has a terrible memory. So we posted. Oh, you don't know what that means, my non-ranch friends? Its a certain method of riding at a trot, so that you don't bounce around and get sore. It is much easier on your posterior. And since cowboys cover alot of ground on horseback, they do most of it at a trot. Anyways.
My Cowboy rode out to the farthest field to get those steers started, and I worked the field closer to the gate. Now, I have helped push cattle before, but I had never started a bunch of them alone. I didn't need to know. Diva, my horse, knew exactly what she was doing. She bore down on a steer,and when it started to run, Diva turned and ran at the next one. I just hung on. I got the hang of it after awhile, and it was kinda fun. I still took longer than My Cowboy, and he had to come help me, once his group were all waiting by the gate.
Then we opened the gate, and began pushing them down the road. (see post on Cowboy Lingo) It was pretty easy at first. But then we rode past several open gates, dirt roads, etc, and of course the crazy critters wanted to go anywhere except down the road. My Cowboy had his hands full, riding up one side and down the other, keeping them from escaping, and when one did escape, getting it back on the road. I couldn't help much. I was supposed to keep them moving. I was at the back of the herd, yelling and trying to chase them out of the bushes and down the road. It would have been so much easier with one more helper. (where were you, Bill?:) there were a few cars waiting behind us. I wished they would have just drove on through. Slowly, of course. But nope. They just sat there. A few got tired of waiting and turned around. Poor guys. After 5 miles or so, we finally got to the X-Bar land, and it was easy from there on. We just had to push them a 1/2 mile or so to a water tank, and settle them. Cliff kindly volunteered to settle them, and I rode on home.

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