After feeding all the bottle calves and baby goats, chickens and my old Paint horse, I spent the morning cutting yesterdays soap so I could start it curing. Both are new scents, which I purchased on customer request and they are luscious!
The Wildrose soap really does smell like fresh cut roses and the White Tea and Ginger tempts me to close my eyes and dream I am on a back porch somewhere, with green lawns and manicured flower beds, smelling the dew and sipping tea with my shortbread cookies. Okay, so I have a great imagination. That’s still what it makes me think of.
I’ve spent so much time trying to catch up and keep up lately, with laundry, with soap, with dinners, with yardwork, I promised myself that today, I would ride and do something for ME. Around about 2:30 I went out and saddled up Mister. I couldn’t get on him because my leg just wouldn’t flex enough to go up that high, but my nephew saw my dilemma and pushed Mister over near a rock so I could step up from there. It’s almost mortifying to be in this kind of shape, but after all, I did break horses for 30 years and used to swing up bareback with no problems at all. It’s just hard to imagine what can happen to a body when it gets an autoimmune disorder. Things just go haywire. If I say anything weird, then that’s my excuse!
Cider came along and we went to the cattle guard heading for the processing corrals. The gate next to it is pretty hard to open, so I rode down the fence line to the next pasture and decided to get off and open that gate. I stepped down only to find I couldn't budge the wire loop off of the gate and there was NO way I was gonna be able to close it again, if I did get it open, so I capitulated and decided I’d just ride back to the barn again.
Not a bad plan, except I was on flat ground and there was no way for me to get back on. I DID get my foot up into the stirrup this time, but my butt wasn’t goin’ anywhere. I couldn’t get off the ground. I led, Mister followed, pushing me forward with his nose, until I found a big telephone pole lying out in the boneyard. I climbed up on that and stepped astride and we ambled back home. My nephew was still in the barn shoeing horses, and after a little chat I found out he and the ladies were going to do a couple of ‘small jobs’ later in the afternoon, so I pried an invite out of him and went home to wait.
I was happy for the chance to ride along because last time I took MIster out with the crew, things didn't go so smoothly. You see, Mister was born when I was training horses at my place in Tehachapi. He spent most of his life as a 'stall potato' working in an arena setting. He was also my best horse for mounting non ambulatory kids from their wheelchairs when I ran the NARHA center, an equine assisted therapy program for handicapped children and adults. Trail riding and cows were not on his resume. We long trotted what seemed like forever (we are both out of shape) to a pasture far, far away, to rodear. Rodear is when a bunch of cowboys spread out and hold all the cattle in a group while one or two at a time ride into the herd and cut out the ones we need to move.
#5 Riding through the herd
That day they were cutting out cow calf pairs that had gotten in the wrong field with some other cows. Mister had a few problems, such as balking when I went to run down and turn back an escapee and he became a regular screaming Mimi when I had to ride away from the other horses. He slowly settled down, but today was an opportunity to bring him along a little further.
Quite a bit of time passed and when I looked up at the clock, I realized I would not be able to ride, because we were going to cover a lot of miles and it was getting too close to feeding time for leppies, bottle kids and milking the goat. I didn’t want Randy to be stuck with that alone. I limped up to the barn and told the ladies to let my nephew know I couldn’t go and unsaddled Mister and turned him out. He happily trotted out to the big pasture with Wimpy.
As I stepped in the back door of the house, my nephew (Logan...I can’t just call him nephew forever, and I don’t think he will mind if I use his name.) was in the kitchen talking to Randy. He assured him that we’d be riding from the North end of the ranch past headquarters, and down towards the South end, so if I wanted to, I could just ride home at that point. Randyman said to go for it and I was really grateful to both Logan for caring enough to work that out, and for Randyman for being such a great guy. Not everyone is lucky enough to have family like ours...and our “ranch’ family is awesome to boot.
I hobbled waaaaaaaaay out into the pasture to collect Mister again, cuz he apparently couldn’t hear me whistle. He usually comes to me from wherever he is. He stuck his head in my halter and back to the milk room we went, to re-saddle. Logan took off to go do what he had to do, and we put Mister in the trailer with the other horses and drove down to the processing corrals, with the two ladies who were kind enough to let me tag along.
It was a beautiful evening...perfect for riding. The colors were muted, various shades of green and grey, purples and blue of lupines and mountains, blending into pink, purple and grey blue sky with puffy clouds scudding along. All we had to do was find 7 cow-calf pairs and move them from one end, to the other. Things went smoothly. Mister behaved himself much better than the last time I rode with someone. He only sulled up on me once, and did a little hollering when I had to ride out of sight of the other horses, but he calmed right back down and after that he was good as gold. We had one old cow break away and we were able to run her down and push her back over. He’s a little guy with a lot of heart.
Some of the gates are a little tight and took teamwork to get them closed again. Mister and I 'stupidvised' while the ladies did the heavy work.
We made it back just after dark at around 9:30. I felt refreshed and revitalized. I've really missed riding everyday.
Mister is just plain tired. Randyman had fed all the animals and milked for me. I repeat myself he is a great guy. To top it off, he made hamburgers and we had a late dinner. It was definitely my kind of a day.