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Discussion Starter · #1,661 ·
Cashman, Lucy, Beamer and Zeus (yesterday)

There was a beauty to the day from the beginning. Little pink and purple flowers covered the ground, and the grass was starting to grow green under the sagebrush. The sun rose with its golden glow, and it shined off the distant alkali.

The cows moved out well in the beginning, and continued with the exception of three small calves. Two were just slow, while the third looked around in a lost way missing its mother, trotting different directions which often were not towards where he would eventually find her with the herd.

The couple and their girls were stuck with the three, while the herd made its way alone far ahead of them. The most pitiful of the three required a person to walk behind him, literally pushing most of his steps. They had one shot of loading the calves when they would pass the parked trailer. There the woman’s mother had waited behind to help them, while her father was up with the herd.

Since she was the one walking behind the tired calf, the oldest girl simply handed down her rope for the woman to place on the calf’s neck while she hurried back on to pull her rope down for the other two. The man roped the other slow calf, who came to life quickly. He bucked and bellered, and he ran up the rope so that the man couldn’t get off to load him. The woman, instead of roping the leftover calf, jumped out of the saddle and tied the big horse to the trailer with her reins.

She loaded the fighting calf for the man, and then talked the girl through dragging the tired calf towards the trailer. When the calf pulled against the rope she ran over to add a leg through the loop. It was a struggle for her to load the calf, for his big body constantly tried to slip under the trailer with his refusal to help.

In the meantime many loops were thrown at the trouble making calf with the weird mouth, and luckily for them a younger cow had run back to the trailer when she heard the crying calves. When she realized her calf was back at the herd she took off towards them, taking the last calf with her. The woman realized her favorite reins were hanging by a tread after all of the trouble.

Once at the herd, they were stopped to mother up. Little cowbirds sat on the gatepost, and feeling of contentment washed through the woman. They all watched as a cow reached up to smell the birds on her way through the gate, and they flitted off the post.

A different yellow flower was occasionally peeking through, and the cow birds became many. They were not afraid of the horses stepping next to them, and they made their way along with the herd. It was joyful.

After they made their destination, they had another job ahead of them. The neighbors were having a big branding, and the family owed them the work. Their horses were already tired pulling in, but they drug many calves. The woman, who rarely headed, ended up heading the majority of the time on her big horse. Even the old calves meant nothing to the beast, and he complained not at all.

It was a productive and tiring day, and by the end of it everyone was ready for bed.
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Discussion Starter · #1,662 · (Edited)
Cashman and Queen (a day late again)

The little mare was saddled and ponied alongside the big horse. They were going somewhere new, and the mare wished the big horse would hustle. She pinned her ears and took a lunge towards biting him, only to be insulted when the woman tapped her shoulder with her boot. She only wanted to move faster than the big horse’s plodding trot.

The dust flew up around them on the road cutting through the tall brush. It made the mare want to buck in a joyful way, but the big horse kept plodding and she was stuck keeping next to him.

He took her out in the brush a few times. This was nothing new to her, and she knew how to through it easily. What was new for her was the grease wood. It had sharp points and was painful on her young delicate skin. When she decided to jump a piece she didn’t have the slack to get around, it shouldn’t have surprised the woman. The woman however was awed at the filly’s ability to fly. She expected her to blow up when she hit the ground, because jumping with a saddle was a different feeling for a young horse and often scary. The mare hit the ground wide eyed, but she calmed quickly.

When they came home the woman decided to show the mare the feeling of weight in the saddle. She tied the big horse to the trailer, and she placed her foot in the filly’s stirrup. The mare didn’t react to the saddle pulling, and she stepped back onto the ground. She stepped into the saddle next, and again the filly had no reaction. The filly had been sat on many times, and so saddled she was fine. The woman smiled as she stepped back onto the ground, and she quickly unsaddled the two horses and rinsed them with the hose.

The woman still wondered at what color the mare would turn. Everything about the young Queen held an exciting promise of the future.

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Discussion Starter · #1,664 ·
I haven’t been good at keeping up! We’ve done a couple more brandings, moved some bulls, and went out on the alkali for Mother’s Day. Cash seems to be coming out of his tender footedness, so I’m feeling hopeful that he isn’t stone bruised. Beamer went for most of our days and he seemed very happy about it, although Bones of course is very angry. I mostly left Queen alone, but I did bring her in and brush her out most days.

Although I am unhappy with myself for making hoof changes too close to a rocky day, I am very pleased with the alterations I did to my trim on Cash. He seems (on soft ground of course) to be moving much more freely. He is picking up a lead he often struggles with, and I have felt no indication of tripping. I didn’t realize before how much I was allowing dead sole to effect my visual.
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I love the alkali picture! It's good to have fun while out riding. I know people take pleasure in showing and competing, but it seems some forget to just have fun with horses.

Years ago, in a discussion about how CRITICAL it was to keep a shoulder-hip-heel vertical alignment, I posted these pictures:


I was lectured on how terrible that was and how NO ONE ever rode that way because we're soooo much smarter than the cowboys of 1910 and 1888 were. I tried to point out I had tried it and often found it a good thing. I got hammered on that, too. Mind you, it isn't ALWAYS the right approach, but it has worked well enough for me that I modified my Abetta to make it easier to slide my feet forward when I want. I've concluded your feet, like your balance, need to adjust with what you are doing at the time rather than follow some idealized image of riding. There are times my legs seem to just curl under me of their own accord, and others where long and forward just feels good.

I couldn't help noticing these pictures:


I get the feeling your family would look very natural in a photo of an 1800s cattle drive!
 

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Discussion Starter · #1,667 ·
Lol @bsms, those discussions of what absolutely has to happen for correctness kill me! It is in the way over education seems to forget the basics and the ability to flex with the situation.

Our legs forward, like your cowboy pictures, tend to slow a horse down. If we put pressure on them (the way we’ve started them) they will stop and back up. A simple forwardness asks for one to slow down a bit and hold themselves back. It works really well, and becomes completely natural for anyone riding horses started like that.

ETA: I over state the “started that way” because a horse not started that way will panic if you add pressure to their shoulder.
 

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Discussion Starter · #1,668 ·
Zeus, Cashman and Queen

The small girl from the neighboring ranch was a spitfire. She was beautiful, headstrong and fearless, and full of big ideas. The woman was doing yard work when she started getting texts about the girl coming over to trick ride. She had asked the woman at their branding if she could come and learn tricks.

The woman pulled Zeus and Cashman out of the corral, and added Queen for a learning experience. She saddled Cash and was starting Zeus when the wild child and her mother pulled into the yard. The girl was tiny, maybe five-years-old, but she jumped in to brushing off the little yellow horse and listened while the woman explained the trick saddle.

She took them all into the semi tall dark green grass. It was a good place to learn tricks, and made for happy horses willing to mostly stand around. The little girl had no hesitation on the yellow horse. She tried every trick the woman taught to her, and Zeus willingly obliged. The girl knew intuitively how to preform, adding a bit of spice to every trick.

The little white dog came running to lick to yellow horse’s nose. The women discussed the two animals, and their similar personalities. They were both a bit stubborn, happy, and both truly kindhearted and tolerant. All of the animals of the youngest daughter’s showed those traits. They laughed, because the attitudes of the younger daughter’s animals and her own were very similar.

They discussed the possibility of selling the little yellow horse, and the conflicting emotions and ideas surrounding that. He had been purchased with an intent to bring the girl college money, but he had become impossible to replace. He was the horse who could teach anyone anything, and never with an irritated bone.

Later, when Queen acted nasty and Junie kept threatening to bite the child and her mother, they laughed again at the matching cranky personalities of the dog and the mare. “Maybe that is who I am meant to be,” the woman giggled.

After they drove away she got back onto the big horse and ponied the young mare away. At the round corral she decided to give the mare a bit of exercise. The mare took off easily, but she hopped her hind end up as a threat to the woman. The woman knew it was an empty threat, but she asked the mare to move out more quickly for a couple circles for each threat.

She had never put any pressure on the mare before, and the mare responded exactly as she expected. She was truly a sensitive kind, and she was watching the woman intently. After she overcame her attitude, when the woman would say “whoa,” the mare would slide to a stop. She had know the mare was capable of spinning, as she was developing that skill on the ground, but she was surprised at the fancy stops.

When they came home she bathed both the big horse and the young fancy mare. It wasn’t until she was brushing them off to put them away that she recognized the mare was horsing. Her attitude made sense then, and into the corral she walked threatening all of the other horses. The woman hoped she would always be so quite about cycling, and was excited about the future with the fancy animal.
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Discussion Starter · #1,670 ·
Me too @egrogan! I am starting to like a few of the littles around. There are four very small girls I know that I truly enjoy. I seem to be developing more patience as I age.
 

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Discussion Starter · #1,672 ·
Oh man, that does look perfect @egrogan! Little girl and I could trick ride and big girl could sing!!! It would make me question my life choices, but the pay wasn’t as appealing as I would hope to make me take a leap. ;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #1,674 ·
@lb27312 maybe I should consider it more seriously. I forget about cost of living. Here it is extremely high, and that wouldn’t cover a family of four by any means. Now, if we could all get a position there it might be pretty great, but the girls are under the age requirement. Then I wonder what future would be in it... for my big girl I could see a big future. We know she can sing and she is very pretty, but the rest of us might be outta luck in the long run. Here we look to owning the ranch someday, and there is the obvious long term future.

Water and legal issues do make our future look bleak, but having faith that they will work out is all we can stand on.
 

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Discussion Starter · #1,680 ·
I don’t have a story to tell, well, I could I guess, but I do have news in any case! Lucy made her trip north to meet her new beau! He was better than I expected in real life. He is very expressive and kind, and he is handsome to boot. I am looking forward to seeing if she gets bred. She didn’t seem responsive today (they made an effort to hand breed today and will continue to), although she was very tail swatty.

I think she is at the beginning or the ending of her cycle. I’m afraid it is the end, as I thought she was in heat on Friday. We had obligations to tend and couldn’t take her until today. They will bring her back into heat medically if she doesn’t show improved signs tomorrow.
 
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