Thursday, September 27, 2012
The Race Across Winter Ridge
Another wild story that you would never believe unless you were there.....Yesterday Roger and I went to gather up 2 pair of cows and calves, now we had seen them every night for a week so we figured that they were just waiting for us to come along and take them home. I was riding Fergie and Roger was riding Grimm, both colts - this means still under construction and not quite a horse yet!!
The cows see us unload from the horse trailer and leave, not just calmly walk off but in an all out run. By the time we get to the top of the hill we could see them rounding the bend at 3 pines and they weren't slowing down, since Grimm is the older of the two colts I tell Roger to get him going - Grimm doesn't like to get going and Fergie has never had to get going yet. I was not sure how she would do running through the brush and rocks in an all out run, but Fergie caught on really quickly!
Just as the cows were about to drop off into the spring and disappear down the canyon, Fergie had caught up with them and we cut them off as they came thundering out of the cedars. Roger and Grimm were just behind us so we thought that we had won the race, but this was just the first round. The cows then split up and ran back into the cedars, so we went in after them. My cow was running around a tree and she would moo to her calf, I could see the calf standing off to the side and then on about lap number 10 the calf was gone - as in disappeared, vanished, no where to be found!! Rogers pair had disappeared also. This was not a good thing, I knew that cow and the calves had to be in the trees so Roger took the one remaining cow out into the open and waited while I rode around and around and around back and forth, then I would stop and listen and not a twig snapping or moving sounds of any kind, so I go out and tell Roger that we will just wait them out. We each took a quick nap while the other kept an eye on the cow, who was waiting us out as well. This game lasted for over an hour.
I finally pushed the cow back into the trees and she went right over to where the other cow and calve were laying as flat as pancakes under the brush, I was quite surprised at how flat they were laying and they were both surprised to see us looking down at them, so they jumped up and tried to run off again but we were prepared this time. Now that I knew that we were not looking for a calf laying like normal cows usually lay, I started looking for another flat black pancake under the brush and after another 40 minutes had passed I found that little butt head. My successful moment didn't even last long enough to pat myself on the back because we were off on round 2 of our race across the country side. This time they took off full speed ahead towards Winter Ridge, and once again I was cheering on Grimm to catch them. I do think that Fergie thought this was rather fun because she really got into rhythm or clearing the brush in an all out run and only stumbled a few times in the race.
Once we got them turned back in the general direction of Whet Rock, we slowed down so they would slow down as well. This usually works with 'normal' cows, but these 2 cows were not normal cows because they didn't even slow down to see if we were still following them or not, no they just kept the pedal to the metal and they missed the Whet Rock sign and were now heading up the burn. Off we went again, this time Fergie had figured this game out and was going to show these cows that she was faster than them by a long shot. She passed the cows and turned them around and didn't let them back past her, now I am not making this up, she was doing it, she was upset and must have been tired of this game because she was biting the cows on their backs and behinds while she was using her body to push them around!! It took a minute for Fergie to calm down but the cows were once again headed back towards Whet Rock, but Roger and Grimm were in front of them and Rusty was on the side and Fergie and I were in the back. We marched them to Whet Rock, turned them down the canyon and off they went in race mode again. Roger and I were lagging behind because the cows could only go down to the ranch now and all we would have to do was shut the gate behind them, yeah right!
The cows and their calves ran through the gate, there is only one right turn that they could take and not one out of the other 200 cows that we have pushed down so far have tried to take this right turn so why would these 2 do it, oh yeah, normal cows and a large snorting bear might make the difference. We had not even made it though the gate and I was watching as the cows were running closer and closer to the canyon on the right, then here comes a bear! A very large black bear comes trotting out of the draw towards our not normal cows and I yell to Roger, 'GO!!! They're heading up the canyon'. Yep here we go again, it is about a mile up to the gate and I had a pretty good idea that Grimm was not going to catch up to the cows, so I figured that I might as well start trusting Fergie to keep us up right so I turned her loose and let her go. Now for the record, that horse can move. She caught and passed Grimm in about the first eighth of a mile and then set her sights on the cows, we passed them and instead of running around them she plowed right through the middle of them and kept right on going. I think I made it to the gate in record time, not sure if there was a record but I know I have never gotten there that quickly before. I jumped off and shut the gate. I could hear the cows coming and I could only hope that Paulino's fence fixing would hold up as the cows hit the fence in an all out run. It stopped them!!!
It took another hour of Rusty chewing on the cows to get them to head back down the canyon again, but we finally did. This time we went back to the one in front, Rusty on the side, and one in the back. What should have been a short ride, about an hour and half, turned into a 5 hour ride that was only 3 miles from the ranch. Like I have said before, there is never a normal day out here. Roger never says much, but he did have a comment about today, 'It's a good thing you didn't ride Donkey'.