Willa had her second ride today, and was about as perfect as could be:
I then got a lesson in giving Lola a ponying lesson with Penny, and then worked on standing in the stirrup a couple times (she wasn't very keen on planting her feet or staying still, it took some doing and sweat on my part while I bounced around trying to just stay with her. BUT I was eventually able to get up there without her moving, and she looked at me with each eye and let me back down again without problem.
We also roped and tagged the last 3 heifer calves today! Branding is scheduled for the first week of June, so more busy times ahead!
Today was a good day for a good day. Checked fence with Martha to start the day, she was feeling kinda ignorant with the bosal so I spent a lot of the ride just correcting her and reminding her to be soft. Then did some work trying to get her to actually bend and not rush into picking up a lope. She was pretty resistant and grouchy about it, but did pick it up well each way before I called it a day.
Then took Penny out to check cows, rode her straight up again. Yesterday I rode her to tag calves and she was a supreme pain in my butt and kind of just nasty to deal with, I'm determined that after time off, she needs 3-4 rides before she will resume being good.
Today, she was nice to ride. She's getting kinda too fat so I made sure we climbed all the hills and did a lot of loping. I'm still trying to figure out a diet pen for them during the afternoon and then turn out at night. I will have to set some electric fence up most likely.
We also got to see the coyote pups up close today, close enough that I could see their cute little faces.
This family of coyotes don't seem to be a bother to the cows and calves so they get to stay.
And!! Pumpkin my longhorn finally calved today, I saw her at a distance on my way to the barn and thought I should go have a closer look and by the time I got my horse caught and saddled, she snuck that baby out. When I found it, it was so fresh it's ears were still droopy but he was already hunting up breakfast.
Has a fabulous ride on Penny today. I spent my morning busy with other chores, but had to remove 2 heifers out of a field they had jumped or crawled fence to get into. After that, Penny was still pretty fresh so I took her for a little lope and had the chance to grab a video of her riding straight up in the bridle.
Anyone familiar with this type or style of riding will know that this is a pretty rad achievement!!
My horses were all good, and I had fun. It was pretty hot so I only used Penny to gather and then rope until the first break which was maybe only 1/3 of the calves. She was really good, and handled me throwing some pretty quick shots very well. I used Martha for the whole rest of thr branding and I started her out slow and making sure to set up my shots so that the calf would be less likely to jump away and make things get fast, just to not spook an already somewhat worried horse. She settled down promptly after a few calves and was a joy to rope off of.
Towards the end of the branding, the last calves were smart, kicky and/or runners so we opted to just head and heel those ones. Martha also was absolutely excellent at this, tracked right up to heel the calf and didn't spook at when I headed calves off of her and a couple of them were pretty wild on the end of my rope.
It took me a minute to make the transition from heeling and dragging calves to heeling them on the trot. A couple times I caught myself leaning forward to throw my heel trap and catching my horse with my spur but I'm glad I noticed and was able to make a mental note to not do that anymore.
I only have a couple pictures of Martha at the end of the day... and one is unfocused 😅
You two look excellent! That is the way I like branding. Heel everything unless the last few are too wild. Heading and heeling is fun too, but I just like snag and drag better. I will say Cash and I headed like champs this year though! I just love him.
@Knave They don't have a pocket, but I want to add double fringe to them so when I find a hide for that, I might add a pocket to them. They're pretty simple, no sewing or buckles, just laced together step ins.
I actually have two sets of holes in the legs for when I'm feeling chunky 😅
Husband has a beautiful white pair with brown stitching. They are very pretty. They are a tad tight. I think we might have to sent them to someone to add a panel or something. The lacing is right at the end of the inside leather and I wouldn’t want to add holes to the outside leather I don’t think...
Had a trying day yesterday trying to move the cows in the rain. The weather wasn't the issue so much as how these cows had been handled in the past. Most of them just run for any gate and abandon their calves. The calves don't know what to do, so its a battle to try to keep the calves up to the cows and get the cows stopped for long enough that the calves don't continually keep trying to run back to the last place they were paired up with their mommas.
I rode Penny, and because of the weather, I didn't want to get any of my rawhide gear soaked so rode her in a snaffle. I think it's been 3 or 4 years since she's been in a snaffle and I think it was good for her. We put on a lot of miles at a high lope or a run yesterday, and it was all I could do to just try to stay in the middle and pray that we didn't slip on the wet grass as we went up, down and across hills and cut cows. Three of us plus my dog fought the cows and calves for at least 2 or 3 hours before things got paired up ok or tired enough they just stuck with the herd and laid down.
Days like that are some of the days I think about when folks call their good horse a "war pony". One you can trust to get you to the other side of whatever hellish situation you're in.
Made the trek to the "top" with Martha this morning to see if we could find any remaining cows after the chaotic move the other day, I took this picture from nearly the top, maybe 300 yrds from it.
Put into perspective, it's the top of this hill:
We did a circle from the left, across the top and back down on the right. No cows to be found up there, only a lone elk, so we moved the handful of cows that came back after we moved them the other day.
It was also a good mail day today, my new horsehair get down rope for Penny arrived, all the way from California! It made it up here in 2 weeks and 3 days which is pretty impressive!
It's dyed pale pink, wine and turquoise. I figured if I was going to buy one from this lady who was dying the hair so many different colors, I would be some kind of disappointed if I didn't get a colorful one.
I also recently completed a new set of romal reins for Penny, (pictured) as the other ones I have are at least 8 inches too long to be convenient for roping and such. I found that I had to take my romal off to rope as it would want to hang darn near on the ground. This set of reins are ~ 40 inches long with an extra short romal and I've only rode with them twice, but they feel great.
Lola's first ride went exceptionally well! She was a little fussy to saddle today, and then also fussy about standing still for someone to put weight in a stirrup but otherwise was about perfect. She surprised herself and rubbed the stirrup on the fence while loose in the roundpen and bucked around a little bit, but quickly got over it.
And Willa got another excellent ride under her belt 🤩 I was able to catch her out in the middle of her pasture with the other horses, and trimmed her front feet by myself before the ride. She's got the beginnings of steering figured out now!