Moving Cattle

Wake up before the sun, into the predawn chill. Everyone gets their horse, I ride Big Joe, curried and combed and up into the horse trailer. The saddles are loaded in after. Penny has coffee made. We got her horse ready and all her equipment loaded while she made us coffee, breakfast and lunch. The sun come out as we drive. We eat breakfast and drink coffee as we drive to the range.
The road to the back of the range is bumpy and we need to go all the way to the back. We step out into the early morning, our breath shines red in the rising sun. I get Big Joe out of the trailer and give him a quick once over before I saddled him up. I get up in the saddle and slowly settle in. Lunch is packed into the saddle bags and its time to move the cattle to the holding pens.
We ride up through the range sending people over hills into draws to drive any cattle from them down into the main valley. I ride back keeping them moving steadily down toward the pens. Its time for them to move to summer pasture, the lush green of the north pastures. The sun is overhead and has finally broken the chill from the morning and its time for lunch.
We eat out of our packs not even stopping. There isn't time today. We have to get the cows mothered up and get the ones with calves separated tonight before we go home so that we can do the branding tomorrow. The time passes slowly, like the hills pass as we make our way down the trail to the pens. Its a long day, but its a good one. The jokes and talking as we move keep spirits up as the dust rises and the day drags on into the heat of the afternoon.
By early evening we have made it to the pens and its time to separate the cows. I get off Big Joe for the first time in 8 hours, and loosen up the cinch giving him a long tie to the trailer so he can eat some hay tossed down for him. As he relaxes I join the ground crew separating the cows.
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Aug 7, 2010