How do you get to higher ground?
A couple of weekends ago I was fortunate enough to help my daughter, Mika, and my son-in-law, Hardy, move cattle from their lower pastures to the top of their summer range. It was a glorious day to move to higher ground!
Mika and Hardy are the real deal. They are excellent ranchers. Plus, they are outstanding horse trainers. I trained horses for a living and now, I send everything I raise to them. They make great horses using them every day on the ranch. And of course I think this, but it really is true, they are great people. You would love them!
They had moved 200 head or so the day before so our goal was to move another 100 to 150 head up on our drive. First thing was to gather the cattle from the lower pastures and hold them while we ate lunch and our horses rested a bit.
I don’t have a wide angle lens so it will take me 4 photos to show you the cattle we had gathered
Photo #3 –
Finally photo #4
Some of the cows decided they should shade up with us!
We had them all around us while we ate! It was so funny!
This little one kept playing peek-a-boo with me behind my horse, Roanie, and never got scared or ran off.
After lunch we headed up the mountain. A couple cowboys or cowgirls would take a little bunch and start up the road to the top. After they were started the next little bunch would head out. It took several groups to get the entire day’s gather heading up the road to higher ground.
For those of you that are not familiar with some of the terminology I used here please let me take a little bit and explain some words I used here, and will use in the next couple of posts.
- Gather – The cowboys and cowgirls ride their horses and scour the hillsides, pastures, in the brush, creek bottoms, etc. and “gather” the cattle into one area.
- Drive – Move the cattle from one place to another
- Head – A cow, or the total number of cattle. Example – “I have 20 head” means the person has 20 cows.
- Summer Pasture – The cattle will move to higher ground in the summer and graze the pastures there during part of July and August. This is a good thing because they eat down the tall grass that would be fire fuels and could destroy everything if it burns. In addition they act as natural fertilizers for the grass, and it has now been proven that their hooves act as aerators for the soil allowing air to get into the ground and actually keep it much healthier.
- Cowboys and cowgirls – The talented horsemen and woman that take care of the cattle and have incredible skill in animal husbandry. In other words they know when one is sick, or getting ready to calve – have her baby, they even know where the cattle hang out when it’s hot, or cold. They can save a nearly dead calf (baby), make sure a young new mother learns how to take care of her calf, and know when toa call the vet. They have big hearts and live by the “Code of the West”. Check back for that post! It will be coming soon and it’s a good one!
- Dude – the rest of us on horses that are trying to help and are working on developing our cowboy and cowgirl skills.
- Riding Drag – The riders that bring up the tail-end of the cattle drive. A dusty, dirty job but one that requires skill as a horseman, good cow sense, and experience. This postion keeps the cattle moving and brings along the slow, injuried, and young.
- Trail Boss – The cowboy in charge – Hardy
This is just the first in a series of posts about moving to “Higher Ground”. I hope you will come back because it’s just starting to get good!
Have you ever moved to “Higher Ground”?
What do those words bring to mind for you?