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Cuttting Cows and Training

4-16-18, Valley Falls, OR - Preparations and fun goes on here in sunny Oregon. Yesterday Afternoon, after a short training run with the team, we stopped at the ranch of our good friends Jay and Gloria Counts to watch a practice Horse Cutting and have a bite to eat. After unhitching the team and tying them to the wagon, we went up to the corrals to watch folks demonstrate their skills and the talent of their horse in cutting out and holding yearling heifers from the herd.

At 68 years old, Jay is now “somewhat retired” and enjoying his time pursing his passion - sitting on and occasionally guiding a horse as it ‘dominates’ a cow by holding it in position at it attempts to rejoin a herd.  Jay recently competed at the state level for the first time and took a first and third in two different competitions.

This is Jennifer, wife of good friend Russ demonstrating her skill at cutting a heifer.

Even young Bailey go a chance to work with the cattle. I would have jumped in their with Doc, but I didn’t bother to throw a saddle and a set of reins on the wagon.  It’s too bad as the heifers are soon headed out on the range for summer pasture.

Training and weight reduction for trip number 5 continues as I drive the team at least every other day.  In between times, the lads volunteered to mow the RV park. 

The new supply trailer, complete with overhead flashers and two 55 gallon barrels of water.

All the horses are shod, with the exception of Billy’s hind feet.  Since he’s so kicky in the rear, I’m going to let him wear off most of the old hooves with a few drives before I give it a few licks with a rasp and nail on the new shoes - this is my easy technique for shoeing a difficult horse - ha ha.

Just before we pulled into the Counts’ Ranch the lads provided a bit of a Rodeo when a neighbor went by with a tractor. Ken was pulling a 12 feet wide chisel plow with a tractor with a track drive.  The track drive was a new experience for the horses. Doc thought it was a monster and really started acting up. Him and Bill both ended up in the ditch (fortunately the wagon stayed on the shoulder). Since my neighbor Ken never bothered to even slow down, I’ll have to talk to him about his driving etiquette when I next see him.

It’s a lot easier scooping a little poop than mowing the yard by conventional means - the lad agree.

Other than Bob, the other two horses are in pretty good shape after an easy winter.  Without their collar pads their collars just barely fit them.  This means their neck size is about 3 inches bigger than when their are traveling at their ‘fighting weight’.  They should lose about an 1 1/2” of neck size in the next few weeks of training.  The remaining 1 1/2” they’ll loose in the first couple of weeks of travel on Trip #5.  Like normal, I’ll start the journey without collar pads. After a week, the pads will go back in the collars and they’ll be back to normal.


Take care, Bob

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