Yesterday morning was a very long day here on the ranch. The plan was to feed cows, gather cull cows, ship cull cows, and do home school. It all happened, and in that order, but the method was rather entertaining. If you were on the outside looking in.
Feeding cows was going pretty well until the Cow Boss (who is a cowboy and has sworn to me on more than one occasion that he would never, I repeat never use the hay wagon to move cows) decided it would be so much faster to just chum the cull cows into the lot with the hay wagon. I grew up using the hay wagon to move cows on occasion, but most of the time we led our horses behind the hay wagon until it was time to move the cows, then used our horses to bring the cows that weren't interested in the hay wagon. I raised an eyebrow at the Cow Boss, but kept my mouth closed.
Things were going pretty good, the cows came quite easily out of their field and were quite content to follow the hay wagon into the lot. Then the Cow Boss started kicking hay off right in the gate. So, the cows were all gathered in the gate I had to drive back out with the tractor. By the time I got turned around and headed towards the gate, 2 rotten cows darted back through and headed back to where they came from. I thought to myself, no big deal. Just leave the gate open, drive through and feed the next bunch of cows and by the time we were finished, they would most likely be back to the hay pile and we could shut the gate behind them. Apparently the Cow Boss had other ideas and thought he could get around the cows on foot, push them through the gate and all would be rosy. Unfortunately the 2 cows didn't get that memo, and even tried running through the fence. Then the Cow Boss was less than thrilled.
He shut the gate and we headed into the next field to feed. Then he thought we would try it again. I took him past the 2 cows, then headed back to open the gate for him. The 2 cows tried to crawl through the fence again and he gave up. QT and I headed to the house to catch a couple of horses (good stout ones we could drag a cow through a gate if needed) while the Cow Boss and TR went to feed the rest of the cows.
Wrangling has been a bit of a challenge here lately. About a month ago we had a windstorm that knocked down a couple of trees and consequently a section of our horse corral. This happens at least once a year. So the Cow Boss cut down a bunch of the trees and tore down the rest of the horse corral, except the round pen. He finally finished welding the panels up, but we have no gates, so it doesn't do much good to try to use the corral. I might mention that my biggest, stoutest, most favorite horse can be a little hard to catch. I used to be able to catch him anywhere, but not anymore. He won't even eat grain out of a bucket if he isn't in a barn. So it took quite some time to get him caught and TR's horse caught too.
You don't even want to hear about the ordeal I went through to get the pick up hooked up to the horse trailer. All I'm going to say is that a 4 door pick up with a short box flat bed is nearly impossible for a short girl to hook up on her own. I can't even see the pickup bed to try to gauge where the ball should be. I managed just as the Cow Boss and TR finished feeding.
Definitely the highlight of my day was riding with TR. We got him chinked up and mounted and headed towards the cows. He was just like a border collie puppy and I am still tickled just to death by him. He said to me "Want to know our plan mom?" Okay I said, let's hear it. "We are going to trot our horses down there to those 2 naughty cows, cause that's what you do when you are on horses, you trot. Then when we get there, I am going to chase one cow and you are going to chase the other cow until we get them to run through the gate." I kind of chuckled a little, and told him that that was a pretty good idea, but we needed to bump the rest of the cows up towards the corral first so we wouldn't end up with the whole bunch in the lane and have to regather them too. I hoped I could keep him slowed up so the cows went through the gate and not through the fence in with the wrong bunch of cows. Fencing and sorting were not on my list of things to do that day.
Trying to push the cows away from the gate turned out to be quite a challenge. TR was in front of them every chance he got, whooping and hollering and having a great time, pushing them back over the top of mom to the point that I gave up trying to push them away from the gate and decided to just open the gate and get the other 2 cows. Luckily only most of them ran into the lane.
It took us 1/2 an hour to get all of the cows out of the lane and into the corral. I was nearly in tears from biting my tongue and frustration that they wouldn't go through the gate. Kind of hard I realize when there is a little boy on a big sorrel horse in front of them whooping and hollering. When they were corralled TR came running up to me, still giddy with excitement and asked "Did I do good? Are you proud of me?!!" Yes, I was, and still am.
I learned a couple of things yesterday.
1. Even if you know better, sometimes you have to let someone do something their own way. It may make more work for you, but it might not be all bad. You just may get to spend some one on one time with someone you love all the way to the moon and back and forever and day while cleaning up the messes. It also helps to wait a few hours after things go wrong to point out the error of one's spouse's decisions!
2. As hard as it may be at the time, it feels really good to share something you love with your children. I have permanent teeth marks in my tongue from biting it so I wouldn't yell at TR when he was running through the middle of the bunch of cows or running them back over the top of me. He can be such a little man at times I forget he is still just a baby and has so much to learn yet about riding and handling cows. If I want him to keep riding with me I need to encourage him and teach by example. It won't do either of us any good for me to loose my cool or make him feel bad. As much as I want to push him, I know I need to hold back and be patient with him and let him come to enjoy riding with me on his own terms.
3. It doesn't always matter how the job is done, as long as it gets done. Sometimes the journey is a lot more important than the destination.
When we got off our horses I gave TR a big hug and told him how proud of him I was and how much I appreciated his help. All in all it was a good day.
Mad About Turquoise with The Mad Cow Company
7 months ago