I was hanging out laundry. My husband drove by on a four wheeler and asked if I wanted to ride with him and maybe check on the horses. I thought that sounded like great fun. We passed the horses, they looked good, and went out to see what was going on with his dad and the neighbor Clint who were having fun cleaning the corrals. We got out there and of course there was stuff that needed done.
The calves in the pen they were going to clean next needed moved across the lane and out of the way. It wouldn’t take long. After four or five trips around the pen and Clint getting out of the skid steer to help we got them! Yay!
We ran back to the house and got 8 in his backpack to bring along and went back to it.
We put the calves back then noticed that the previous bunch we moved were standing on a snow bank higher than the fence. Oops. Some crossed right over and went exploring.
We hopped on the four wheelers and ran clear through the yard into the wheat field and to the back of the pen to try to get them back over the fence. The four wheelers got stuck in deep wet snow not even half way across the field. We got out and went back through the yard into the pen, climbed over the same way the calves had and tried it on foot. As usual they could find their way out but not back in. One dropped her head pushed through the electric fence wire and lead the bunch off into the distance.
There are no real gates out of that field, nothing convenient for sure. The snow was too deep for four wheelers. It occurred to me that I had a horse, but one horse and a bunch of yearlings, it was unlikely to ever work. But Clint was here! He’s a roper but that doesn’t let that stop him. 😉
8 got dropped off at home. He doesn’t get to come along in his backpack for this.
I asked if Clint was ok riding the kids pony and he thought his pride could handle the blow. I laughed a little inside about the thought of Onna being a quiet kids pony and we hopped on.
They weren’t off at the usual blistering pace but the snow was at least knee deep on them. We made shallower walking and sped up a little, in no time we were around the cattle and they headed back right where we wanted them easy as pie. We walked them right up to the corner where the fence was down into the drive way where we would walk them through the yard and into the corals. They stopped and one at a time, with each going in different directions, went back the other way.
Once it became apparent that our attempts to turn them were futile we let them go back to the corner they got out at in the first place. Of course they still couldn’t find their way in. But! Clint remembered another gate we could open. He ran and got it while I sat with the cattle. Then I gave him Coyotes reins and plunged into the high snow banks in the tree row and pushed the cattle down the fenceline. Other than wading through deep snow, low branches and cockle burrs it went nicely. They followed the fence right down, broke another wire and went in the gate.
Then the leader of the bunch, instead of following the rest out the other gate, ran and leaped the fence like a deer. Knees tucked up high she cleared it by a few inches, a tall guardrail fence. And she was gone. We may have cried a little. Back out the gate we went on ponies that didn’t have the sense to be tired. So Princess Onna hadgotten her first taste of real cow work. She was doing great so far.
We caught up with our calf on the far side of the field. She ran and ducked back into the tree row, I opened yet another gate, into the cow pasture this time and Clint followed her down the trees. This time I lead horses and he got off to walk the fence. She was no where in sight though. He came out to remount and about that time she stuck her head out by the gate. Unfortunately for her we were there and did see her. Fortunately for us she went in the gate. She ran right to the gate we needed to put her in and there were calves on the other side, we couldn’t open it and let her in. We tried to get the calves moved but by then I had lost her. Now she was somewhat contained at least.
We headed down the slippery lane to confer with the two who were still cleaning corrals. I went and brought the rest of the escapees and when I got back Clint was in with the cow heard sorting through looking for her. Alas she was not to be easily found. Our journey is not yet done, she is still out there, hopefully, and taunting us with her presence. She will be found.
For a little while at least.
His name is Rusty, Rusty Radiance if you want to get all fancy and formal. He is a rescue picked up by Forever Morgans from the Enumclaw sale barn kill pen. I had been desperately craving a horse to train, I don’t miss starting colts that was just hard work. But one horse to get going in as long a time as needed, that’s my kind of fun. My mom, on whom I can blame almost anything horse related, found him and told me about his plight.
He was going to be shipped to slaughter the next day, Forever Morgans needed a foster home for him before they could bail him out. I did not need another horse, cravings for training or not. So after thinking about it for awhile I asked my husband if I could take him and he didn’t see a problem. I figure I get around the not needing another horse thing by not owning him, he’s just here to visit for awhile.
Of course I’m blogging about him, that’s half the fun, just not here. I added a link to his blog in the links ( Rescuing Rusty) or you can find it here.
My husband brought a box of clothes home from work for The Goblin Child. He came in and set them down on the floor where she proceeded to tear into them with gusto. At first I thought she was upset and crying but then I realized that she was near to tears with joy over new clothes.
Of course she quit the exclamations of joy as soon as I got the camera out. But imagine this times ten.
We went riding, the three of us. The horses were delightfully hot and prancey. Ok not delightful, quite a nuisance especially with 8 in front of me. But they weren’t bad exactly and 8 loved it, going out at least. Coming back he was getting tired.
Back at the pick up/ mounting block/ hitching post they were both happy to be playing in the back. The weather was warm and hooves not muddy so I decided to trim the ponies. I had the tail gate up so no one would fall out and no where to tie. I gave the lead ropes to The Goblin Child to hold and started on Coyote. He stood nicely, as always. Then he started to fidget, acting almost like he wanted to step forward. I got the foot finished and stood up. There, in the pick up, stood The Goblin Child against the cab hauling forward on the lead as hard as she could with Coyote trying to decide who to obey.
Her favorite playmate started preschool this year and play-dates have been few, while cold miserable days have been plentiful. While the school offers preschool we are in no rush to start her to school for real. I like having her around and she’ll spend enough time in school, maybe. A local church offers preschool and we have friends who have sent children there for a day or two a week and loved it. So we decided to give it a try, one day a week.
She insisted we dye her hair pink for the special occasion and carefully chose a dress to wear.
She is our little social butterfly so it was no surprise when she was thrilled to be dropped off. I got there a little early to pick her up and got to watch the last of a lesson. They had rhythm sticks and were taking turns choosing what to do with them. Noting whether it was a fast or slow beat or pretending they were a bow and arrow. When it was The Goblin Childs turn she thought about it then said “Lets do something fun” because apparently the other stuff hadn’t been? then began windmilling her arm wildly. It must have been fun because the next boy chose the same thing.
No, not these guys
He crawls around on the floor pushing his toy tractors making wet brooooming noises. Anything with wheels is fascinating. He finds a wheel while we are out and about and he has to check it out. A dolly at the grocery store nearly prevented us from ever leaving. He can sit for what amounts to hours in small child time spinning the wheels on his toys.
Unlike his sister who has to be drug out to feed every morning he loves it. He loves to stare at the tractors. He wants to hang out the window and watch the cows. When he’s allowed to drive he bounces up and down chirping with joy.
He is enthralled with four wheelers. When it was warmer and we could get outside more I would put him in his backpack to go check cows. As soon as we got on the four wheeler he would start bouncing up and down in excitement. Now he cranes his head to watch them go by and even better he has his own to ride.
On the bright side he gets all excited about riding horses too.
I had asked if there was any chance we could come along when they went to get the bulls in from the pasture. I was told the would be making quick work of it with the four wheelers and it wouldn’t work very well to try to come with horses. But my always considerate husband called from the payloader as he was feeding to say that there was one bull already in the pen and if we wanted we could come bring him the rest of the way in.
We did want. But wanting and remembering to keep getting ready and not get out every toy we lay eyes on and generally to keep getting ready are two different things. When I finally got her drug out the door, two horses saddled and a bouncy child put on I thought we had probably missed any chance to chase cows. It’s all she’s wanted to do for the last few times we’ve ridden. But we really can’t just go around chasing cows, it’s simply not done. And I worry. I know Onna has seen cattle before but being around them and working cattle in tight quarters with yearlings stampeding in the next pen and four wheelers zipping about are two very different things.
She was great though, despite my worries. We got there in more than enough time to bring him in then went after a couple still in the pasture. The first one came in easy. The second one not so much. We had to trot a little and turn and hard things like that. I looked back to find The Goblin Child hunched in the saddle with both arms wrapped around the horn. About then the guys showed up with four wheelers and I was going to take her back to the house. But she wanted to ride with papa on his four wheeler and my darling loving husband volunteered to take Onna back to the house, he does hate cattle anyway. So I got to work cattle, for real!!
Coyote was in a halter and it was icy. I kind of thought we might die. Chasing cattle, bulls especially, is the one thing my grouchy miserable old gelding loves. Besides food of course. We plunged through snow too deep for four wheelers and with Coyote locked onto that bull, biting him on the butt regularly, he zigzagged back and fourth bringing him up. With the snow deep enough to stick a four wheeler in spots, it felt almost as though we were really helping and not just out to play, not that it wasn’t both.
My old boy pranced and hopped about like a youngster, fighting what little control I had with the halter. It was great. The bulls came in quick and easy, all to soon it was done. We picked up the half frozen Goblin Child, threw her up on his back and led them back to the house. He dropped his head and walked calmly along side me as Onna screamed frantically for him from their pen.