Go on girls! Go on!
What a day. It was a super one and for those of you who have the experience of working cows, you know you have about a fifty fifty chance of things working out in your favor most days!
We were moving this herd (400 head) about 10 miles that particular day and got quite an early start that morning. When I took the photo, it was just before noon and it was already pushing 90F. It was hot, dusty, and dry. Each time I'd yell a call I felt my throat getting drier and drier, feeling less and less effective. Thank goodness for those cattle dogs who never seem to quit.
For most of the morning, I was riding drag. We had a massive herd and were getting close to our rendezvous point. As we got to the edge of the hill, the lead cow had a majority of the herd moving at a good clip considering the blazing heat of the day. As I got to the edge, I could quickly see that things were starting to go sideways. Where the lead cow was still demonstrating good leadership, a few in the pack started taking an alternate trail which would have had the back of the bunch going in a completely wrong direction. We almost had a mess on our hands.
My horse was acting rather lazy for most of the day. I didn't blame him, it was hot and I was feeling lazy too. But cow work isn't for lazy folks. Things can change and change they did. With the bump of my spur, I reminded my boy that we were still working and needed to make a quick cattle correction. He leapt forward and down the hill we galloped into the position from which you see I took this photo. We got the cows all turned and heading in the right direction. A good horse is enough "power of suggestion" to get a single cow turned to where the rest will follow. I got lucky we arrived at just the right time.
The cows continued to trail through several more gates and a radiantly hot rock canyon. They stopped to water up a couple times at a few mountain streams and I know that water must have been refreshingly ice cold. My pony also stopped to get a hearty drink. I was out of water and continued to chew on a piece of gum whose flavor departed several hours before.
My saddle was pretty heavy when I got back to camp. The saddle pad was strong with odor of "wet horse". When I made it back to my tent, I opened up the flaps and it must have still been over 100F inside. I stripped off my dusty hot clothes and had a refreshing camp shower with a shower bag that somehow managed to stay on the cool side given how hot it was all day.
The beer tasted like an elixir from heaven that night. I slept so good and we woke up to another long day. Regardless, there's never really a bad day out there and as you now know, I love this range. XO