I went home these last few days off and helped my brother work some of the calves on the ranch he manages. About 175 over 3 days. Working them consists of roping by both hind feet, dragging them to the branding fire, vaccinating them, ear notching them, branding them all, and cutting all the bulls. On Saturday, I show up and we are working the big pasture that day. There are 105 cows and about 97 calves. There were more people there than what I expected and we had an........interesting time sorting the cattle and working the calves....... BUT, now I have a whole new appreciation for a broke horse who is willing. Jason's boss hired out 3 "ranch hands" to help and every one of them was more trouble than they were worth. None of them could rope worth a darn. I only started getting serious about roping this spring and am really not very good yet. I have been roping consistently for about 4 months and I felt like a PRO next to these guys. One of them rode a horse that had no brakes or back up whatsoever. The other rode a horse that would rear every time he tried to back him up or turn him. Of course, it didn't help that the guy would start yanking on the poor horse's head the instant he landed. And the other guy (who was maybe 17) had this really high strung mare that every time he roped something, she would either bring it at a dead run or she wouldn't bring it at all. She had no heart to pull anything that weighed more than about 200 lbs. His solution? "Stick her with a spur, that'll get her going!" Needless to say, Dobe and I did the majority of the roping and of the 97 calves, we probably drug about 60 of them. Dobe sure was tired at the end of the day. LOL.
Sometimes I take for granted that I have nice horses that I can ease into a herd of calves (or full grown cattle for that matter) and if I can catch the one I want, they will bring it exactly where I want it and what speed I want it there from a creeping walk to a dead run. Whatever I ask for, they are willing and more that happy to do. Dobe will even pull a 350 weight calf backing up without a moment's hesitation. That is not an easy thing for a horse. I have had horses that broke the trees in saddles or broke the rope or broke the breast collar because they would not stop trying unless I asked them to.
I just wanted to share my revelation to never take your good horses and good trainers for granted. Never forget the people who tought you the really important stuff that makes you a good rider and helped you learn to make good horses. Not everyone is so fortunate in their lives to have people to learn from that actually know what they are doing and are good at it.