I have to brag on Dobe just a little bit
. I spent the last 3 days helping my brother work some cattle. The cows at the ranch he manages have just started calving and we needed to cull some of the cows that aren't pregnant or are too old and take them to the sale. We spent Wednesday sorting 9 head of "cull" cows out of one of the big pastures and took them to the pens to hold until the sale. Then we had to go to a different pasture and pen 20 cows and about 13 calves. These cows have been what my brother calls "farmerized" where they used to be called into the pens for worming/vaccines/weaning/etc using the siren on a feed truck and pellets in the trough inside the pens. Whatever cows didn't come into the pens just didn't get wormed or vaccinated. However; my brother and I were raised to do things differently and we do not accept no for an answer. Either the cows will walk into the pens under their own power or they will be PUT in there at the end of a rope.
Anyway, back to the story at hand. We got those 20 head up to the pens and almost into the gate when about 12 of them turned on us and just ran over our horses to get loose
. So we penned the ones that we had and while my brother shut one gate and loaded those that we had penned, I went to head the others that had taken off at a dead run away from the pens. Dobe and I got to run flat out for about 3/4 of a mile over rough terrain (up and down hill and through gullies) before we could get the rest of them caught. There were several instances where a rough spot just appeared before either of us really saw it and there was no time to stop so I just let Dobe have his head and held on. As always, he got us across there safely and we got all but 1 of the cows stopped. She took off on her own and I had to choose between getting her and letting the other 11 run the rest of a half mile to the back side of the pasture or letting her go and keeping the others. I kept the others and when my brother got back up there, we pushed them toward the pens again. And again, they tried to run us over when we got close. We ended up getting all but 4 of the cows penned. The one that I had left, one more broke loose and joined her, and 2 crashed the fence and started running down the road (dirt country road). So we penned what we had and took a load down to the pasture that they were being moved to with plans to come back and get the others because they would likely have to be roped and we would need both sides of the corrals to drag them into.
One of the cows that ran down the road had jumped in with the neighbor's cows and the other was grazing in the ditch about a mile south of the pens. We unloaded the first load and on the way back, started the cow in the ditch back toward the pens in the pickup (we had left the horses at the pens cause we had a trailer full of cows). She ran back into the open gate of the pasture but kept right on past the pens at a run. So we got back inside and got our horses, but decided that since the other 3 were in the pasture together, we would get the one from the neighbor's first. We went down there and after a search, found her all by herself in the middle of some plum thickets. When we started driving her back toward the gate, she ran into the middle of the neighbor's herd. We got her sorted off but then she got on the fight and was charging and trying to hook our horses every time we would get close. Thankfully, these were Angus cows and none of them had horns.
So we got back a ways and tightened our cinches and took our ropes down. My brother got her roped first and ended up leading her the mile back to the pasture at a run with her trying to put her head up his horse's butt. We ended up getting her into the pens and because he had to simply drop his rope and get his horse out of the pen that she was in. But he needed his rope back so when she ran close enough to the side that he was able to reach in behind her to grab the end of the rope for me and Dobe. I dallied up and Dobe and I sucked her up against the fence and held her there while brother got a hold on the rope around her neck so that when I dropped it, he would be able to pull it off. After we got that done, we went off to get one of the other 3. The one that had crashed the fence the first time ended up doing it again and that resulted in a foot race down the road. Jason's horse was faster than mine so he caught her first and was able to get a rope on her. She was on the fight too but wouldn't follow the horse like the last one would. She would charge if you got close but if the rope tightened up even a little bit, she would just pull back. I tried everything to get her moving but she wouldn't. Jason told me to go get the trailer and we would try to just pull her into the trailer there in the road since we wouldn't be able to drag her a half mile back to the pens. By the time that I got back with the pickup, she had choked herself completely down and we couldn't get her up. Unfortunately, she ended up dying. Sometimes it just happens, especially with cows that are on the fight. So we left her where she lay and go back for the other 2. We tried to be nice and drive them back toward the corrals but they split up so we each went after 1 with the plan that we would double team them with ropes if they wouldn't drive. The one that I went after immediately started trying to run me and Dobe over so I went to help Jason with his first. He managed to get a head loop on her and she ended up doing the same thing as the first one and simply chasing him toward the pens and we had to do the same thing again where Dobe and I pulled her against the fence until he could get ahold of his rope. Then we went back for the last one. She was all the way at the back of the pasture. In a way, we were kinda hoping that she would "lead" like the other 2 did and make it easier for us to get her to the pens. Unfortunately, she did the exact same thing as the one that choked, just lean on the rope and if you got within a few feet, then she would charge.
We finally decided that the trailer would have to come to her so I heeled her and after she fell onto her side, Jason thought it might be a good idea to tie her down (he keeps a 9 foot piggin string just for such an occasion). So Dobe and I held her down by her back feet while he got off his horse and walked toward her. Every time she would start to try to get up, Dobe and I would have to back up to keep her back legs out from under her. Jason got down there and realized that she was bigger than he thought so tying a front and hind leg together like he planned was going to be impossible. He ended up tying her front feet together and Dobe and I held her down while he went to get the pickup and trailer. This cow was almost as tall as Dobe and definitely weighed more because her body was longer. We ended up standing there holding her back legs for about 15 minutes while Jason tied her down, went to get the truck, and then got everything ready to pull her into the trailer (putting a rope around her neck and running it up through the trailer, getting his horse ready to pull her in, and then untying her front feet).
By this time, I could feel Dobe shaking all over and I know that his muscles had to be tired because he had to lean on the rope the whole time to keep her from getting up and then every time she would start squirming, we would have to back up to get the rope tight again. We ended up getting her into the trailer and as soon as the gate shut, I jumped off and loosened my cinches so that Dobe could get a good breather. Since the trailer was full with the last 2 witches that we had messed with, there was no room for the horses so I rode Dobe and ponied Snuffy (Jason's horse) back to the pens. Jason met me there and we dropped some pellets in one side of the corral for the horses and dropped their bridles so they could eat while we took those last 2 cows to the new pasture.
I absolutely love a good, broke, courageous horse that can take a hit and get right back into the fight. Dobe is just aggressive enough that he is a little more dangerous than most. A lot of horses will begin to really avoid cattle after being hit a couple of times but it just makes Dobe mad when he gets hit and makes him more aggressive. He will just keep on going right back into the danger zone and usually come out picking cow hair out of his teeth LOL. Riding a young horse is fun but there is a lot to be said about those trusty older mounts that are good to be on in any situation.
Wow, I didn't think this would be so long
. Cookies to anyone who read the whole novel.