I thought I would take you all with me on an afternoon of work/play for Paint, Puncher and me. I say work/play because it is ranch work. T.H. considers it work. I know it’s work. But for me, it’s what I live for.
We unload at the pens and ride out to the cattle on a wheat field. This is a leased place 5 miles from the ranch. We are going to gather a little bunch of steers off of this wheat pasture and move them a couple of miles to another wheat pasture to finish grazing out. As I’m riding out I’m aware that T.H. is watching me from the pick up after he already gave me my “instructions”. I reach in my pocket and turn off my cell phone just in case he forgot something.
We get out to the pasture and the steers see us and come running full speed to us. Paint has been on wheat pasture himself and that is the equivalent of slamming a double shot of espresso chased with a Red Bull. And I foolishly did not warm him up before we left. I know better. He is like riding a Jack Rabbit.
The steers come running and I send Puncher to greet them. Yearling cattle and calves are goofy. Especially these whose origin is the sale barn. I don’t know if they’ve ever seen a horse or a dog before.
Where is my Cowdog? On the other side of my horse. I’m laughing and Paint is not amused, he starts swapping ends (turning around) as El Toro, Jr. puts his head down and flings dirt like he’s going to make a run at us.
We’ve only been gone about 5 minutes and I’m praying that T.H. can’t see this nonsense from here. I put my camera in my pocket and get serious with Paint and Puncher. We turn them around and get them headed in the right direction and Puncher’s bite makes them lose interest in my horse pretty quick.
However, we overdid it and what you don’t see is them taking off through the trees and the creek at full tilt. I couldn’t follow them without getting clothes-lined, but when we came out of the trees they were on this other wheat pasture right where I wanted them. T.H. can see me from here because he’s up at the pens. I’m pretending like we planned this but it was really just luck.
Now is where the real fun starts for me. These steers want to run everywhere, but I don’t want them to run. So I get to practice working Puncher at a greater distance that we are used to. It takes very little pressure for them to scatter. We ease them into these pens but you can see they are on full speed ahead. We took them through these pens and out the other side.
To a “trap” because now we are going to cross the highway. I have to keep Puncher way back because they could easily blow back overtop of us and I would lose them and have to go gather them back up.
We wait here for a minute as they file out easily. T.H. is on the highway flagging traffic and turning them to go straight across. We don’t use that whistle under the road because these steers have never seen one before and it would be a train wreck to try to get them under.
Here’s where more fun starts. They hit that gate and they take off again in about 3 different directions. I grab ahold of my saddle horn because I am riding a kangaroo today. And we sort of get them headed in the right direction up the hill.
I send Puncher “Come By” because I want them to stay to the right of this road. That is the command for her to go to the left of the cattle (clockwise).
We are all running, by the way. I’m trying not to chase the steers but I need to get closer and to the left of them to keep them from dropping off into that canyon. If they do that it will not be good. I will be all day gathering them back up. Maybe two days.
I keep sending Puncher up ahead to the left to hold them on the road and guess what? It worked. I’m not surprised. We’ve done this before and that is the beauty of it all. This just made my day.
Everybody finally settles down to a walk and we start to have a pleasant little ride.
We’re all going in the right direction now. Enjoying the scenery.
Again I send Puncher “Come By” and tell her to “Get Out” ( go out wide).
And “Stop” . And “Steady”. To keep the cattle to the right. Because there is another canyon to the left. This is a preventative measure just in case.
She’s working out wide enough now. We finally figured their exact pressure point and it is a ways out.
I let her take them through the gate by herself. This site gives me so much joy and satisfaction I could cry.
Puncher watches them go on as we close the gate.
Love, Cowgirl Red aka Terah
And Puncher and Captain Kangaroo, too.