Friday, February 15, 2013

California Cattle Gather

Well, I’m back in the saddle, how about you? I pushed my Gone with the Wind hero, Scarlett O’Hara’s words out of mind and got my all quit on instead.
For me, there are more things to do in a day than the hours allow. But to be outdoors, horseback is one of my greatest joys. Over the past few weeks I spent many days gathering cattle. That is a highlight for me. I love it and wouldn’t trade those days for anything. It is the perfect opportunity for me to get my horse, Cisco, out of the arena and on the trail. Even though the country is steep and rocky and Cisco has to work pretty hard, I think he would agree with me, the days spent gathering together are good ones. At five years old, my little horse can start out fresh, but he settles in quickly and we go along, most of the time, low headed and peaceful. To gather the cattle, you must first find the cattle. Now you might just be thinking (like I did)…how hard is it to see a cow? Well, in the steep, brushy, tree covered country, it can be pretty tough and in such pretty country, some days it’s hard for me to stay focused. I look for anything that moves; coyotes, bobcats, eagles, deer, pigs, oh yes…and cattle. In the end, I see more logs and branches that look like coyotes, and rocks that look like calves than anything else. 

There are days when I am absolutely convinced the big granite rock in the shadows is a cow and the blackened log on the hill, just below, is her calf! After several bluff sightings, I've learned not to say anything too soon. When I see cattle (real ones, not rocks!) before anyone else, I’m thrilled and I sit as tall as John Wayne! Yep…for just a minute, I’m the Duke. But, the minute goes by quick as I am suddenly faced with the task of gathering those I spotted, keeping my herd moving in the right direction and making sure I’m in the right spot to hold them at any given time.
It’s a great day when the cattle end up in the corrals!


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