Sunday, June 28, 2009
Well, it is official. I am a real cowboy. For several years now I had been claiming to be a real pretend cowboy. But now, thanks in part to my Dad and my Uncle Jim, the “pretend” part of that title can officially be removed. You see, I have actually now moved cattle on horseback. And not just one or two cows, but about 300 head ( “head” is how us real cowboys refer to them, a lot of people don’t know that).
For the past several years, Dad and Jim have had this tradition of going on a ride from the bottom of the mountain by Kanosh, UT, to a cabin that is located about 5 miles up the mountain. Every year Dad comes home raving about how beautiful the terrain is and how much fun he and my uncle had. Fortunately for me, this was the year that I finally got to go too.
Now, I knew that this would be a long ride. What nobody told me until we left was that included in this ride would be some genuine, bonafide cowboyin’. I should take a second and explain why. My Uncle Jim runs the business side to a ranch and farm in Kanosh. The reason he and Dad are able to do this ride every year is because the cowboys that run the cattle up and down the mountain have a cabin up there from which they operate. So, once a year, Jim and Dad borrow that cabin for a nights rest. This year, our ride happened to fall on a Friday on which the cowboys were moving quite a large number of cattle. Since we were there, and had horses, we volunteered to help them move these delicious, but disgusting creatures.
It should be noted at this point that, while I have some horse experience gained over the last two years, I’m not a cowboy. Or at least I didn’t used to be. So the idea of moving 300 head of cattle 3 miles was at first a daunting task. However, once we got moving, I found it to be pretty exciting. Often one of the calves would try to double back behind the herd to try to make its way down the mountain. It then became my job (with the help of others) to cut the calf off and return it to the group. This can be difficult. But also really fun. See, most of the riding I had done previous to this was trail riding, in a line. I enjoy trail riding, and am willing to go pretty much anytime I am invited. However, cutting off stray cattle is much more exciting. You have to dart back and forth, start and stop, and generally wear the horse out to stay in front of the renegade calves. There were a few times that I even had to do so in the middle of thick trees and brush (yup, even got to wear chaps). So, I had me a great time.
There is one thing that I ought to note, however. While I am now a real cowboy, I am definitely not a seasoned cowboy. By that I mean that my endurance for being on a horse is not the same as the cowboys with whom we were working. After 7 hours in the saddle on Friday, I was pretty much done with being on a horse. My legs and bunners were pretty sore. But it was most definitely worth it. Besides, after a good stretch and a nights sleep Friday night, I was ready for more. Which is good, because the only way back down the mountain would have been to use my own hooves.
p.s. Happy Birthday James Logan!