I drove the 3 hours to my sister's ranch on Tuesday. We enjoyed a BBQ dinner around a fire that evening, but she warned me we needed to get up early for round up the next morning. We were saddled and on our way by 0530h to meet her neighbour at "four corners" and go the 30 minute ride to the first field of grazing yearling cattle.
Knutsford is east of us and we were in the hills at about 4,000 ft elevation. See the frost on the grass? We had to be careful of slipping. That's my sister, my boss. She's riding a 2 year old that she already has ready for cattle work. Amazing! She gave me her old stallion who was gelded about 3 years ago, but he didn't get the memo, so he had to be the boss of the other horses and ride in front.
My long shadow, taken about 0830, when we had already ridden 3 hours.
Every direction has a beautiful vista. I love the old fences with their piled up rocks, the semi-arid fields, so different from my home rain forest, and the big sky.
Jake is still doing well in his old age. I would call him up when Chex got too antsy. The horse never tried to throw me or run away, but he is a real tank and has a trot that is all jiggle. My sides are so sore, I can hardly tie my shoes or take a deep breath. But he is a beautiful creature and a wonderful cow pony when we are working the cattle.
See my fingerless mitts? I only brought them to show my sister, but I really needed full gloves for the cold morning.
We found some strays after the main group were herded to the corrals. We had to keep them in the corner for a good while. It's hard to take pictures when there's action, because you're focusing on the cattle like you would kindergarten kids crossing a busy road. I delved into my grass hockey defense mode to not get too close to the action, but to be within a good kicking distance if one of the silly heifers decided to break away.
The lake was like a sheet of diamonds when the sun came up. We were glad to get a cup of coffee while they loaded the cattle. I was afraid to get off Chex in case I couldn't get back on because we had a second set of cattle to run, closer to her ranch. There were almost 400 head in all. The second group had to be channelled into a corral next to the lake and some woods. Not such a good plan. A few snuck off and we were told to just leave them because the 5 liners were full enough.
The fear and anxiety of the poor beasts was palpable as they were chuted into the trucks. They really loved their days on the big range.
I took a risk to take out my camera as we moved the yearlings over the hill. I'm lucky I didn't fall off! Seven hours took us to 1:30 pm and a much deserved beer at lunch.
Being around horses again gives me great respect for what my sister does in her training and her daily feeding and care. This is little Tulle whom she rescued and is repairing her club foot. She is so tame no, she's like a kitten. Love her red roan coat.
The next day we had a short ride of only 3 hours (!!!!) At least we didn't do any trotting this time. Up to Chumway view.
Me and Chex. He likes me well enough, but he loves my sister.
Who's a pretty boy?
From the top of the hill we can see far across south to the states. We had lunch of sandwiches and juice boxes. One of the horses learned to suck the juice out of the box.
When we got back, Ginny was snacking in the front garden, just loose and roaming around. Such a charming place. I drove home the three hours, went to choir and got up early for work. I'm still a bit stiff, but so glad I got to experience the early fall up there. With the cold weather approaching, it won't be long before it's really winter there. But not here at home where it's still mild.