Monday, September 3, 2012

Playing Cowboy

When we were grooming the guys, the barn owner's 9 year old daughter, Sylvia, asked if we wanted to help move the cows to the other treed lot for the winter.  We were definitely down with that. 

We mounted in the treed lot we often ride in and rode off into the big pasture with Sylvia and her friend Grace.  We also had the barn owner in her golf cart.  The cows were as far away as they could be, so we walked all the way down to the end and planned to bring them up along the south fence line, through a narrow section of the pasture and then to the far northwest corner of the treed lot that we started in.  Sounds far, but it was certainly less than half a mile.

We spread out in the pasture when we got close to the herd.  Sylvia dove right in and started moving the cows while Robin and I ended up on top of the hill near the front of the herd.  I moved to the very front and tried to keep an eye on one of the more energetic adults.  She had a few youngsters with her, and she definitely wanted to run.  Bear and I checked her a few times, but then she took off.  We loped alongside them for a little while, but the terrain got a little steep and I let them get away from us.  Thankfully they just went where we wanted them to anyways.  I definitely need some practice on reading cows and knowing the best position to be in.

The rest of it was uneventful.  I waited for the rest of the herd to pass me by and then we trailed them up the hill and into the treed pasture. They went to the proper corner and then we just had to hang out there while some helpers opened the gate and shooed them across the driveway into their new home.  It was a pretty cool experience, and I look forward to doing it again some time.

Then the girls planned on ridding in a big section of timber that has become a little more rideable thanks to some mowing and breaking down of tree branches.  So we tagged along with them.  It was a fun ride, and not too demanding physically. 

We mostly zig zagged around the big area, finding small openings in the trees and squeezing through narrow sections of brush.  We walked almost the whole time, and no one had a problem at all.  I think they cows got everyone a little excited, and then we took them all somewhere new and they were just happy to follow along with whatever we wanted.

Back on the strip we did a small amount of work.  Bear was only so so with listening to me in the timber section.  He was not happy when we were in the back, and he kept crowding the other horses, so I wanted to spend a little time making sure he was listening to me.  He was mostly OK.  Robin and I then ended up loping all the way up the strip towards the barn.  It was pretty fun, except Bear really gets it in his head that he is racing Steen.  I checked him a few times with the hackamore.  He relaxed his pace a little, and we ended up losing the "race."

I'm not sure if this energy means he is feeling better or not.  It was not the kind of ride that allowed me to really pay attention to the little signs I'm used to seeing. But if the cows make him better, we just might have to get a little herd of our own to keep things interesting for him.

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