Two of these things you would never hesitate to buy or hire, but the third should be left at the dealership!
Our ranch horses have seen it all. They get caught, then jumped on bareback and rode into the yard for saddling. Or, they get caught and are lead in, trotting beside the Gator. Sometimes they are quickly saddled and roar off to work, or they are made to stand, getting dressed up in braiding and paint. They might have the lucky draw of the light, eleven year old girl riding for the day, or the endurance-building ride from the obnoxious rancher who won’t let the cow get away (no matter how steep the ground or thick the willows.) Just when the trail ride comes to an end, that last-lone cow is spotted far off on the horizon: and the chase starts again! After the ride, they get loaded last into the trailer, which is already filled with cows.
We pick our horses for their brains (trainability), kindness, and conformation. The one thing that all ranch horses have in common, and why they are so amazing is because they are used: often and hard. They are expected and trusted to get the job done.
There is nothing cuter than seeing the retired, seasoned Ranch Horse trotting along, babysitting his precious cargo. We put our childrens’ lives in the saddle of these trusted work horses.
Ranch Kids! When we were in college, the ultimate prize for a bank or farm dealership, was to hire a educated ranch kid. Ranch kids are invaluable because they’ve learnt to work at an early age. They have learnt to problem solve. Five years ago, when Douglas crashed our plane, all adult family members were gone, and our eight year old rode around with the neighbor and explained how much feed all the different groups of cows were getting. Ranch kids know whats going on! Sometimes in more detail then you want to know! Like when the kids explain to a stranger on the phone the latest calving disaster in detail. We ask, “Who was that?” They say, “I don’t know.” Our ranch kids are there in the easy times and the tough times and that’s what makes them strong. When a ranch kid hear’s, “LOOK OUT!” Instantly they are perched on the top of the fence like a cat chased by a cow dog. Only the experience of being chased out of the pen can give you this life-preserving reaction.
Ranch Trucks! Need we say more? When you are roaring around a switchback, driving backwards at 80 km/hr over a water-bar, to stop a galloping cow. Or when both of us are blaming each other, questioning why the bumper is hanging like an old man’s pants. Sometimes dings and dints appear and we both honestly do not know how they got there!
One time we were sure we could make it through a washout, but the 10 km walk afterwards, assured us we could not! Thankfully G & G came to rescue the 5 of us so we didn’t have to walk the full 25! Here is a picture of the side of the truck after the dog realized she was still chained in!