Moving Cows

I don’t even know where to start. This may turn into a bit of a novel. It was a grand adventure though and I want to share it. There are some typos and badly written areas. It’s a novel though and I have to go do more cow things. I don’t have time to proof read it all. Enjoy, hang in there.
Mostly though, everybody wants to be a cowboy until it’s time to do cowboy, um, ‘stuff’. 😉 Not how the quote goes but my mom would yell at me.
Our neighbor has a pasture leased for his small herd of cattle about two hours away. It’s way out in the middle of nowhere, not in the hills and trees but along them. It was time to bring them home for the winter and he needed help.
He is a great neighbor, always happy to come help at the drop of a hat, a good hand with cattle, and just an all around nice guy. I as happy to go help. My father in law, referred to from here on out as fil, was not so thrilled. All week he would groan and mumble anytime the subject came up. As in, “groan, argh, grr, I’m just not looking forward to this”. The neighbor is a great guy. The neighbors cows are crazy.
I think because the neighbor is so quiet and easy going, his cows get used to that. When anyone else comes around, even being quiet and easy, they bolt.
We drove the two hours up there, about half of that is highway. Then you twist and turn down gravel road. There is a quicker way but it is best described by C.W. McCall “there was a shortcut but unless we had drove the Black Bear Road before, we’d better be off to stay, stay in bed and sleep late” only instead of Black Bear Pass this is Pants Butte Rd. It twists down the side of a cliff and you can’t take a semi down it. Not safely. So we took the long way.
Once there we unloaded out trusty four wheeled mounts in the driveway of the place we would be driving them to to load. The guy was willing to let us use his corrals but wanted nothing to do with the cows. His daughter and some friends had gathered them last year. She wanted nothing to do with them ever again.
Not a good sign.
Down the road to the pasture we headed in. It’s a small pasture under two hundred acres so finding our way around shouldn’t be a problem. Entering in a creek bottom, low with lots of trees the road immediately climbed up to high flat ground and I started for the back side of the pasture.
Fil explored the creek bottom a bit and the neighbor, in his pickup and trailer went to opening the fence.
The cows saw me and took off for the far side of the pasture. I hurried and got around them. They started running the other way instead. The way we wanted them to go. I stopped to stare in awe at the barn on the neighboring property.
A few pictures taken I started to follow the cow heard, my hat blew off just then. I grabbed it and started to hang it on the handlebar, only to look over and see the cows running back at me with a fourwheeler sitting between them and the direction we wanted to go. I was so distracted I dropped my hat. I waved my arms, screamed and yelled a little until the fourwheeler moved.
Then I went back to find my hat.
It was no where to be found and I had work to do so I left it with a heartfelt promise to come back and look again.
The cows dove into the creek bottom and the trees. The other fourwheeler disappeared. Cows crossed the creek. I could not cross the creek. Not with my mount at least. The water was deep with a soft bottom and steep sides.
With Daisies help we kept them going the right direction. It was all going fairly smooth actually.
The other fourwheeler got back. We got almost to the gate. And it was shut. The plans were to take them out the corner instead. A handful of cows jumped through the fence anyway. The rest turned and ran back to the south, the exact wrong direction.
Normally cows without their herd would go back towards the herd. I shrugged my shoulders at the ones in the road and went after the herd. We got them stopped except for a couple that lost their minds and were determined to go south.
I went after them and tried to turn them. Instead the cow got on the fight and started taking me. I was playing a bit, letting her take me because what else could you do? Fil showed up from way off to the side. She turned and took him head on. Crashed into the fourwheeler and fell over. I laughed a bit. She was not being a nice cow. Then as she laid there kicking I got a bit nervous. Was she dying? Could she really have killed herself crashing into a fourwheeler?!
The answer to that would be yes. Apparently that is possible.
We gathered the calf and went back to the herd. Able to hold them there on the flat we got them pushed back towards the road again.
The cows crossed the creek. Of course. I found a tree trunk and walked the balance beam to the other side and was able to push them back.
The bull found a tree though and made his stand. He was not going any farther. I couldn’t get him to go. Fil couldn’t get him to go. The neighbor couldn’t get him to go. The herd was still trying to break back away from the road.
We left him.
Was it the right thing to do. Maybe not? Probably not? Apparently he isn’t branded. There is nothing to mark ownership. No one is obligated to bring him back even if they had any idea who a bull randomly showing up in their pasture belonged to. I didn’t know that. Cows were running everywhere. It’s hard to find the right thing to do with so much going on.
The rest of the cow herd went down the road to the corrals and we had them in by noon! Not a bad day at all. Except for the bull. And what ever did happen with those cows that jumped out inn the first place?
I left fil and the neighbor to load the cattle in the semi and went back to see if I could get the bull. I should have stayed.
I searched again for my hat first, with no luck I went to find the bull. He was laying in the middle of the pasture chewing his cud. I was not willing to get to close. A bull who has gotten grouchy and made his stand is more dangerous than I am willing to mess with.
Moving him was an interesting practice in negative reinforcement. Annoy him enough that he wants to leave then remove the pressure. With lots of bugging we got almost to the road. Very slowly. On the other side of the creek, that mean more tree walking and chasing the bull on foot. The gate was closed of course. I had driven over the fence the cows knocked down to get in. I didn’t know how we’d get out if we got there. He’s a bull, they walk through fences all the time. I figured we’d manage something.
Then the guys showed up. That meant the gate was opened! But the noise from that side was more annoying than me.
He ran right past no matter how much screaming and arm waving I did.
The neighbor said there was a gate into the neighbors. The ones with the gorgeous barn. They had said he couldn’t use his corrals to load out of. That didn’t mean we wouldn’t make use of them in an emergency to hold the bull.
Still walking on the far side of the creek we worked the bull up to the gates. Developing a nice system I walked on the top, out of the creek bottom so if he came after me he’d have to make it up the steep bank first, and threw sticks in his general direction when he stopped. He walked very nicely to the other side of the pasture.
We got to the gate. He stopped and stood in the opening. Then ran past it. We got him turned and brought him back down the fence line. In the gate again he stopped. Looked around and ran by.
The neighbor had driven up to the buildings and walked with me trying to get him in the gate. He said there was nowhere to load out of there anyway. 🤦🏻‍♀️
Back towards the road again. The pasture is long and skinny. It’s not a half mile square. More like a mile by what ever the width would be to give you a quarter section.
It was a long walk.
The bull was still moving nicely and we managed to get him onto the road! Yay!!
We got a half mile down the road and the bull changed his mind. He turned and went back to his pasture. Fourwheelers didn’t bother him at all. He just walked right through them. I wasn’t willing to let him walk over me. He walked through the fence and I called it good. I was done for the day.
The neighbor was still up the road where the bull had decided he was done. A pickup had pulled out of a driveway and they were talking.
The guy yin the pickup had three cows and a calf in his hay field, he gestured off that way. Sure enough, we could see little black dots.
So that’s where the first fence jumpers went!
If we wanted we could drive them up to his house, there was a gate open into a trap. We could use his corrals to load.
Or we could run them back to the pasture and try to get them together with the bull?
I pulled for that.
We went too push them on up to his corrals. He went off to town for parts.
We drove the half mile to the cows. They took off at an easy lope down the driveway. The houses were a tiny dot in the distance. The cows loped on. The buildings barely drew nearer.
He said we could run them up to his house. He didn’t say the house was three miles down a ridiculously long driveway.
Almost there one of the cows got tired of the long lope and stopped. When we caught up she turned and took us. We were able to convince her to keep going, at a trot now. As she caught up with the other three, stopped by the fence around the yard. One fourwheeler pushed a bit close and they all piled through another fence.
Driving over the remains of yet another fence I took off across the hay field as fast as my poor tired mount could carry me. We all hit the creek at the same time. I pulled up. They dove through.
And there we were again.
There were no tree trunks to climb across. I convinced Daisy, ridding with me all day, to cross the creek and try to push them back. They sulled up in a corner and refused to move.
I found one small tree and was able to climb carefully across. Daisy barked. I threw branches at them. They stood at the creek bank refusing to move.
Until they did.
They turned and came straight at me. I dove for my trust tree. They ran past.
There were no crossings in that field. I went back to the buildings. The neighbor was there with his pickup. He knew a way through the buildings and over the creek.
I followed him through the most beautiful ranch head quarters I have ever seen. The Coffee Ranch was settled way back when, not too long after the civil war, consisting at one time of as many as three hundred thousand acres. It is down to about forty two thousand now. The history is incredible. The buildings old and gorgeous, new and ostentatious. I wanted to take pictures and look around. Not only would that be rude but we had cows to get. I buzzed through and found my way to the other side.
Here’s a link to a story about the Coffee Ranch https://www.1011now.com/…/ranching-in-sioux-county-the…/
With me able to get to them again the cows dove through the creek and fil followed pushing them back towards the latest fence they demolished.
We finally got them in the corrals.
The guy in the pickup showed up having made his trip to town. I bet he was surprised to find us not all that far from where he left us.
We opened and closed gates and got the cows almost to where they needed to be. I paused a moment opening gates and turned to talk to guy in pickup.
Out of the corner of my eye I caught a glimpse of something and turned in time to see the orange tagged cow charging my fourwheeler from clear across the corral!
I was sitting perfectly still, not bothering her. Not sure what made her snap just then. I dove off the far side of the fourwheeler. Aimed for the gate. Missed. She stopped and turned running back to the others.
The Guy in the pickup gave me a lecture about how cows wont go over a fourwheeler. Having seen them do pretty much that I had to disagree, even though he informed me that he knew this because he ran a twelve hundred head place.
We opened the gate and the cows ran through full speed. Only then mostly because we hadn’t expected them to go so fast or easy, did we look on down the loading chute to realize the trailer wasn’t backed up to it yet! The neighbor and fil were standing there messing with the trailer door. Yelling a warning to them they waved arms and jumped out of the way.
Fortunately the cows were just out in another big corral and not loose. We ran them back in and they loaded easily. We were done.
Back to the first set of cows waiting patiently in the semi and home. It was almost dark. We had left home at eight that morning.
Driving down the gravel road towards home I could barely see the road in the cloud of dust in front of me bringing up the tail. I kept thinking I could smell burning rubber. We were going along railroad tracks. It could be from that. I kept getting occasional wifts though. Enough that I stopped, got out, and checked my tires. No heat there. I kept going. As we neared the highway I tried to call fil see if he wanted to stop and check everything before we got going. His phone rang and rang but no one answered.
I’m always paranoid, so I chalked it up to that and ignored the occasional smell.
My husband called to get the update now that we had service again and I told him about the burning rubber smell. He wasn’t overly worried. Yes, I was talking on the phone and driving. It’s not like we have traffic to worry a bout out here. I lost service again.
The pickup I was in started making a weird noise. I called him back. As we talked a saw sparks start to fly off the tire of the semi in front of me.
Now we knew the cause of the burnt rubber smell. I told him I couldn’t reach his dad. He hung up and tried to reach him again. A car passed me and got between me and the semi. I couldn’t flag him down. My husband called the neighbor leading this procession of errors and tragedy. He pulled over as we made our last turn and we managed to get fil stopped.
The hub on the wheel was glowing red hot. We were ten miles from home with a load of crazy cattle on in the dark.
He said to ‘heck’ with it and drove on.
Not sure what the other options were. I followed him again with the neighbor bringing up the rear because I discovered when we stopped that I didn’t have any trailer lights. As we drove I watched sparks fly and prayed for everything I was worth for a safe trip home without the trailer catching fire. Then as we turned back onto gravel for the last bit home I also prayed not to start any other fires with sparks and chunks of glowing hot metal flying off.
We made it. My husband as well as making phone calls got the corrals arranged and lights turned on.
Backing up to the chute we happily and quickly dumped the cows off. The wheel glowed.
They went off to hose it down while we unloaded the three cows and calf off the pickup and trailer. All the cows were safely confined in corrals with guardrail fences. They weren’t going anywhere and we could haul them to the neighbors, with the pickups, no semi, in the morning.
This morning we were ready to go start loading cattle when we got the phone call. Apparently there was something else that could go wrong.
The neighbor got a call from the guy whose corrals we used. There were still three calves in his corrals…
Category: Cows  Leave a Comment

Ghost

We brought the cows home last weekend. We had warm weather  and everything went good.

Now that Ghost is home where I can get to her and we have a fence I can bring her through so we can work ALONE. I am making the best of it and trying to get to her every day.

We are going back over the things she learned before we quit being able to work because of too much help. We are reinforcing treat manners, greatly strained by all the extra help. We are learning how to do new things like work on a lead rope and give to pressure.

She is exuberant in her responses and perhaps a bit over eager to work. I’m hoping that settle down as she gets used to working together again.

I’m learning a lot too. Like that cows are more sensitive to a curry comb than I would have guessed. Or maybe it’s nerves because she isn’t used to being brushed.

Cattle are different than horses. Together hopefully we can learn to navigate the learning in a way that works for both of us.

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A Fall Day

It was one of those fall days. The air was crisp and clear. Chilly but not cold with the sun shining in that brilliant golden way it does no  other time of year.

We left early for gymnastics, leaving my husband in the field with his combine. My daughter asked for doughnuts, who am I to tell her no. We ordered ahead and stopped on the way to pick them up. Then ate them on the way too the state park. We had good reason  for leaving early!

The children wanted to stop at the usual playground, or the unusual one. I had a goal in mind though. There was a picnic shelter, we had stopped near it to pick wild raspberries this summer. From the road you could see the trail wending up the hill. It didn’t look exciting from the road but we had never hiked there. Might as well give it a try.

Starting up the wide mowed trail the first thing we came to was a jack-o-lantern. Its face charred and black. Finding that out in a national forest surrounded by bone dry tender was horrifying. The ease with which a fire could have started was terrifying. Probably college kids out messing around? We walked on.

The kids fought the whole way up the hill. It was cold. They were tired. Why couldn’t we go back.

I was determined though and with a firm grasp of each child’s hand I drug them up the hill.

At the top the trail narrowed, then narrowed further as we walked. Then began to snake about through rocks forgotten as the rest of the hill wore away. Ungainly chunks of stone left bare and exposed. By now the children were happy.  Nothing pleases them more than cliffs falling away on both sides that they can try to throw themselves down. Up and around and down we twisted, finally coming back to the car. Laughing and happy by then to have been forced on the walk.

It was too late to have time for lunch before gymnastics though.

Oh well a lunch of the remaining doughnuts it was!

Back home again they wanted to settle in  in front of computers. Until I lured them back out with promises of combines and grain trailers.

A grain trailer full of corn is akin to a huge wonderful sandbox that could kill you. Shoes discarded at the bottom you have to scale the steep walls of the trailer, scramble over the top to find the safety within. Protected by those same fortress like walls play inside can be as wild and carefree as can be. Until the trailer gets full. Then the sides can be reached again. Bouncing must be constrained.

They frolicked until the trailer had to be hauled to the elevator and dumped. Then we took a break all squeezed into the combine together. With the children getting bigger we don’t fit as well as we used to.  It was warm and sheltered from the biting wind that wanted to be included in  the play in the trailer.

The children  finally began to wilt from  their long day. After a couple of rounds we headed back to the house. Who doesn’t deserve some computer time after a day that long? Tomorrow it may snow. Today we enjoyed fall.

 

 

 

 

 

Category: Family, Farming  One Comment

Gymnastics

The kids asked me today if I could take pictures of them at gymnastics to share. Of course I would love to!

They are so good at it. They can stretch and climb and do all sorts of amazing things. Mostly they like to play around with their friends but that looks like lots of fun too.

Both of them can easily climb the rope to ring the bell at the ceiling and can  hang upside down from the rings.

Category: 8, Goblin Child  One Comment

Hauling Hay

As my husband walked out the door to go spend the day planting wheat he just happened to mention in passing that if we wanted to we could come by later and check the cows over that way. We could even bring lunch! If we wanted to. Hint, hint 😉

I had planned to go check on Ghost and Blossom and Joker, plus all the others since I was there anyway, at some point this week. Might as well take him lunch while we were at it.

Shortly before lunch time he called again. Was there any chance we could bring the semi with the hay trailer when we came? Since we were coming anyway. There was a pickup there that we could use to go check the cows. Sure, what the heck. We were going anyway. Might as well get a load of hay out of the way.

We got to the hot dust field and enjoyed out picnic of sandwiches and melons fresh from the garden on the side of the seed truck.  The children wallowing in the dust as they enjoyed what little shade it offered. Then we got to loading the bales. It’s so dry this year. They had cut a field of alfalfa despite it  not being worth the effort. There were a few bales from there and some straw bales from the year before. As m father in law loaded it he was complaining about the bad shape the bales were in. Straw is slippery and doesn’t like too be confined to net wrap. I needed to keep an eye out for any bales falling off, he warned.

Leaving the field I sideswiped a corner post knocking the bales askew but luckily sparing the post. They didn’t fall off though and everything was set right with a bit of rearranging. Hopefully the trip home went better.

After loading we left the semi set and went to look at cows. My son was excited to show his sister how he could work the float to fill our water jug from the stock tank. The jug was empty so we were all looking forward to that. After a cold refreshing drink we walked down the draw.

The storm that destroyed Iowa in July came through here first. We didn’t get hit near as bad but the seventy mile per hour winds knocked down many of the huge old cottonwood trees. Now they lay in the dry creek bed, perfect for climbing. The children who love to climb their tree at home scampered over the arching tree trunks making me gasp and shut my eyes sometimes. They were not afraid though and nobody did fall to their deaths, or broken arms even.

Wore out from climbing we hiked back to the pickup, cast our eyes over the cow herd on the way. All the ones we usually notice stood out, Poppy, Ghost, Joker. The herd markers were there. In with a few more cow calf pairs counting the heifers isn’t as easy anymore. As long as the colorful ones were there we could assume everyone else was too.

Back at the field we waved goodbye to my husband leaving him any left overs from lunch to get him through until whenever he finished planting that night and headed home.

On the narrow dirt road we came upon a tractor speeding along, just barely slower than us. I hated to try to pass him. With the hay on the trailer takes up almost the whole road and I wasn’t going very fast. He pulled off to the side though and slowed. I had no choice. We hugged the grassy shoulder as tight as we could and I didn’t think we clipped him. We did leave him with lots of dust as we continued down the road.

Nearly home, far past the last intersection, I slowed even more to watch for the cows that have been coming and going freely from their poorly fenced pasture onto the road. When, inn the road ahead, there was something. Not a cow. Bigger even.

A round bale!

I had been warned to be careful of loosing my load and here instead was someone else’s bale. Lost dead center in the middle of the road!

In a car or pickup we could have easily squeezed around the edge. There were a couple of feet of road and a decent shoulder on one side. In a pickup and trailer I could have backed to the intersection only a quarter mile or so behind me. In a semi with a hay trailer I thought hard about the fence post I nearly took out earlier. Would the bale already there knock my bales off as I brushed past it? Would the trailer slip off the side of the road into the ditch if I got too far off the road?

If I tried to back with no way of seeing past the trailer how badly stuck could I get it in a ditch with a small misjudgement? Was there any possibility of the children being of assistance and not getting run over if I asked them to go back and guide me?

None of the options looked good. So laughing about the ridiculousness of the situation we found ourselves inn I called my husband. That’s what I do when life has handed me impossible options, call my husband and he will fix it. Somehow. He always does.

As I explained our predicament he laughed with me. He would get a hold of the neighbor. The one whose cows were walking through his mostly down fence to graze the road. whose hay field the bale was in front of. We could sit there parked in the middle of the road and wait.

But. No! As I looked back at the semi and trailer blocking what part of the road the bale didn’t, here came the tractor we had reluctantly passed! He had caught up with us. Now he was passing us, squeezing carefully between the bales and the ditch. He fit! Driving past me standing in the road, talking on the phone, past the children hanging out the windows watching the show. With never a wave or a smile he drove up to the bale. Was it his? Was this where he was driving to?
Wrong color tractor for the neighbor of the cows my husband assured me. This one was blue. Whether it was his or not he picked up the bale. I got in the semi, released the brake, and we followed him. He went slow, looking at the cow whose calf, still in the pasture she wasn’t in, got lined up to nurse through the fence. He looked around then found a driveway to the hay field. He slowly pulled inn and we passed him once again, grateful that he was there to clear our path.

Finally, home at last.

Trail Ride

We went for a trail  ride this morning. A family ride. Not of the usual sort. I got to walk for one thing. 8 rode his fourwheeler and The Goblin  Child rode her horse.

It was a great time.

As 8 took off leading us with the fourwheeler, Daisy mounted behind him, Lady wanted to go with. As though the fourwheeler was a horse and she wanted o stay with  the herd. She started off at a very fast walk. I was stretching my legs out as far as they could go to keep up with her. Then she broke into a trot. Sitting up there bareback a trot was more than The Goblin Child wanted to do. Very sick with a cold it was way more than I wanted to do jogging along side!

We went back to a walk.

With fourwheeler in  the lead we walked to the end of our road,  down by the corrals to check on our goat. She appeared to be fine. We turned and walked back. Towards the house but only inn a round about sort of way. We circled the stack yard and the quanset. We stopped to graze or to climb  on the swather/jungle gym. Then on again.

I was exhausted. It was time to head home for real.

The Goblin  Child is figuring how to get off on her own  bareback. Swinging her leg over so she can slide off is scary but she did it all by herself for the first time today. Then all by herself she lead Lady out and turned her loose, taking the halter off and petting Lady good bye. Soon she’ll be doing this without me leading them.

More Horse Stuff

I admit it. I’m more interested in the horse than she is.

The Goblin Child is loving Lady. There’s no denying that.

She is happy to lead her out to graze. She straps on her treats bag and is even willing to hand feed. Something she has refused to do with any other horse. I am NOT allowed to feed or work with Lady. I got in big trouble for using her to demonstrate teaching a horse to step onto a pedestal. Only she is allowed to do any training. She is also happy to sit on her while she grazes, to lay down on Lady’s rump, to lay down across her neck.

Then, when done, she demands the reward she’s due. She has earned her computer time or a bit of candy.

I’m willing to give it. Time spent with horses should be encouraged by what ever means necessary. A halfhearted interest can grow with time.

I want her to be horse crazy though! I want her to demand time with her horse, not computer time because she played with her horse for awhile.

I guess beggars can’t be choosers. Horse time is horse time. She does love Lady. If it’s not as much or the way I would like, in a perfect world, it’s better than nothing. Not everyone can be as horse crazy as me. Even my mom says I wasn’t completely horse crazy at that age.

So I will keep rewarding horse time and building the responsibilities she is accepting unknowingly, thinking it is just more of the horse fun. She caught Lady and put her halter on, all by herself. The last time she rode she undid the saddle, all by herself. She rode around, in a small inclosed area, and wasn’t even concerned when Lady trotted off with her to the gate, all by herself. She happily leads Lady to the gate and puts her away even taking the halter off, all by herself. Come to think of it maybe this horse thing is working just the way I want it to after all 🤔💜

After School

I took care of a few chores before following the kids in the house. After a long day in  school they always want their computers and food. Food is allowed.  Computers not for awhile.

The Goblin Child was in her room with the door shut. Do not come in! She yelled from behind closed door.

I didn’t go in.

A short while later she walked out the door changed from her school clothes into jeans and boots and her new shirt with the picture of Rusty playing fetch.

I want to get Lady, she declared. So we did.

There are no words dearer to a mothers heart. I was even willing to brave the suffocating heat of the miserable August afternoon if she was wanting to play with her horse instead of begging for a computer.

I caught Lady, because braving the herd is not something a small child should do, and delivered her lead to waiting hands. She was brought to the shade of the tree in the yard to graze and the hose demanded.

We were surprised to find Lady not a fan of fly spray, that always comes as a shock. Not sure how she would feel about water if she didn’t like to be sprayed we proceeded cautiously. Apparently water falls inn a different category and she accepted the hose with a sigh of disgust.

Of course 8 couldn’t have that. No  one is allowed to play quietly without him. He ran and grabbed her from behind. Cried when she sprayed him with the hose and the game was on. Lady would get a splash of water, 8 would poke The Goblin Child, The Goblin  Child would swing thee hose around soaking anything in her path, me, and spray her brother who would shriek and run away.

As long as she had that lush green grass Lady could care less.

I put an end to the game when they couldn’t control themselves enough to stay at what I felt was a comfortable distance from Lady’s hind end. The limits of a good horse should not be tested too well or foolishly.

8 went off to play in the hose alone and insist we needed to finish draining the pool. Together we hefted it up and dumped the water out. Once again, lady never batted an eye.

My daughter was done though. Her brother had somehow ruined her fun. I wasn’t going to argue. If horse time wasn’t fun anymore forcing it wouldn’t change things. It was still before the magic computer time but since she had asked to go outside and do other things I thought computer time seemed like a fitting reward. Lady got turned back out and the children went in.

Maybe we’ll get to do this again  tomorrow.

 

Out Riding

For the Goblin Child’s birthday this year she got a lovely little bay Arab mare. Tiny and delicate like she is,  they are working towards becoming the perfect pair.

Lady got a couple of days off with the start of school. Over the weekend we have been making up for that. Friday we saddled up and took long walks around the yard and down the drive letting both children get used to her. On a lead line.

They will be staying on a lead for awhile, until everyone is perfectly comfortable and used to each other.

Today we did it again. At the end of the lead. I told The Goblin Child that she was in charge of steering. I was only here as a safety so she didn’t get run off with. They had to fight the pull of alfalfa on one side and corn on the other. It was tough going.

We made it to the mail box and back though. On the way back Lady walked happily right down the middle of the road, not going after food and not caring at all about the sharp rocks. She’s got some nice feet.

In the yard we came across 8 who had just finished working on a pivot with his father. He jumped out from behind the trees, running and playing. Lady didn’t bat an eye. He led us to the crab apple tree where tiny tart apples were ripening. Red and tempting and just out of reach. We marched right into the front yard and used Lady as a ladder to pick apples from.

They were too tart for children and even Lady delicately turned her nose up at them 😆

8 wanted to pick apples too so we switched places, and helmets, then The Goblin Child helped heft hi into the saddle. He took his turn picking apples then  enjoyed a short ride back to the house.

Leading Lady

I was busy moving electric fence to enlarge the bottle calves pasture. it requires lots of trips back and forth and is very involved and more complicated than a simple electric fence should be.

Having children helping or even playing around the house and yard doesn’t help matters.

On one trip through the yard to check on them as I went I spotted them running back and forth to the horses gate. They enthusiastically told me they were getting corn for the horses! I stepped in the house for a drink and when I came back out they were working hard, together, to haul a bucket of water to the gate. Lady was standing there chewing happily on the grain offerings they had hauled earlier. They weren’t fighting. They weren’t trying to get out of work. Instead they each strained at their sides of the five gallon buckets handle, working together to get the job done.

I was so proud of them. So I tried to help.

Let me grab Lady and bring her out! You don’t need to haul the bucket any farther and  you’ll be able to play with her easier, I said as I walked towards the gate, halter inn hand.

NO! The screamed! NO Lady screamed, turning and taking off the other direction. I had ruined everything and they let me know it in no uncertain terms.

I apologized profusely.

They climbed the gate calling desperately for Lady to come back.

The whole herd came thundering up and they were quick to get back to the safe side of the fence. Luckily Lady came through and went through a gate that no one else did. I was able to redeem myself from me earlier blunder by shutting the get and getting them Lady all by herself again.

They hauled her hay and more water. My son and I had a chance to discuss how horses can only eat so much corn. They can’t have as much as they want or however much we feel like hauling for them. My daughter grabbed her halter and was trying to figure out how to get it on Lady. That sent Lady off again. Luckily the gate was shut. We had her trapped.

I was able to convince her that she should let us up to her. As she’s making friends with the other horses she’s less interested in us and not enthused about being caught. We’ll get that changed just like all the other horses, she’ll come running when she hears us before too long.

Giving the rope to my daughter she lead lady out of the corrals and into the yard. There they tapped and grazed and finally decided that sitting on Lady while she grazed might be fun.

It’s hard to get used to the feel of new horses. It’s also hard to get used to the feeling of new people. Lady walked quick circles around me as soon as I sat my daughter up there. My daughter clung to my hand and the mane. Once they both got settled and held still we were able to graze until everyone relaxed.

What better reinforcement, for both of them, than still quiet time spent grazing in the yard. Moving will come soon enough, there’s no rush.