Friday, December 12, 2008

What The?!?

Last weekend, we had to move the cows and sort off the calves. Of course, Monkey didn't want caught. It took longer to catch his silly butt than it did to move the cows from the pasture they were at to the corrals.

'Course, all the running he did probably saved me some bruises, when I did get on him. Big boy was pretty wound...

And, as it usually goes, the horse that's supposedly the hardest to catch, that you don't want that day, is the one that's right in your back pocket.

Finally got Monkey in the alley and he gave up, got him saddled and lunged him a bit, and then decided to have Farmdad hold on to him while I got on.

What? I hadn't ridden him in several months, and he was fresh as hell. I figured he was gonna blow and I haven't had much practice with the vertical stuff lately. I wanted a fighting chance, at least a chance to get my butt set in the saddle good before he blew.

The worries were for naught, though, he didn't splode on me. He wasn't being nice, but he didn't blow. And, once we got to the cows, he just got excited to play.

The delay catching his sorry butt was enough to make us late, though, so we just got the herd to the corrals on Saturday.

Got up Sunday morning, went and caught the horses (a much easier prospect considering we just threw em in a small pen Saturday night) and got the calves sorted off. We'd tied the horses to the trailer, which was just sitting on the block. No biggie, except SB's mare went to sleep, and when he walked up to her when it was time to saddle up she woke up rather abruptly, and pulled the trailer off the block.

Got saddled, and I went to warming Monkey up while the other three (Farmmom on Etta, Sparky on mom's new mare, and SB on his mare) pulled the cows out of the corral. He did pretty good on the warm up, and we went to moving cows. Since it was only Etta's second day on cows, and the new mare's second day on cows with us, we let Farmmom and Sparky trail, and Monkey and I and SB and his mare took the wings.

All went pretty well, the cows only halfheartedly trying to turn back, until we got to the fenceline of the pasture we were putting them in. Then, they thought it was a really good idea to take off across the field across the road.

Monkey and I had just gone from about halfway back in the herd to the front to block off one cow that was taking a field trip, and I looked back to see that the rest of the herd had taken it into their heads to go see what exactly was in that field.

Now, right where we were at, the ditches are pretty steep, so every time you have to cross the road, it's sloooowww walk down so that your horse can find his footing, and then run like hell up the other side. So I turned Monkey around, which he didn't really understand, until he saw the cows going the direction we'd been blocking them from. Then he was ready to go. I kicked him up, and he gave me the nice, relaxed lope that I'd spent so long cultivating in the arena. So, I touched him again, and I swear ya'll, you could see the lightbulb come on over his head.

"Oh, we're not in the arena... I can run!"

So my big pretty boy (I think I pretty much inherited him this weekend, at least until he's more finished, cause Farmmom fell in love with Etta) took off like a striped assed ape. The cows saw him coming from one side, and Farmmom and Etta from the other, and decided that they might just want to go back to the road. After that it was pretty much a nice turn into the pasture, but as soon as they got inside they headed back south. No biggie, except that we had to take them to the windmill and show them where water was.

Farmmom and Etta stayed behind while Sparky, SB and I went to get the cows from the south end of the pasture and bring em back north, and Mamaw finally got the chance to ride her girl.

Of course, taking the cows to the windmill was another interesting prospect, since this pasture is the one we've got the last of the old bloodline in, including Dusty, the big as a tank pure white baby blue eyed stud horse. He dropped in a flank, so we don't get babies out of him, but we left him a stud cause he takes good care of the two mares we've got in there with him. Neither one is rideable, Roanie is too old, and Muffin, my buckskin mare, got a tendon cut when she was a foal, and isn't sound.

But, Dusty doesn't like any other males. Even if they're cut. And SB's mare just happened to be in heat. So, I hopped off Monkey as soon as Dusty got curious and started over to say hi, and SB stepped off his mare cause he really didn't feel like having Dusty try to mount while he was on her. When Dusty started pushing the issue, I handed Monkey's rein to SB and chased him off.

Which entertained SB to no end since Dusty is a big baby most days. Even when the mares are cycling he'll come right up to a person on the off chance that they've got grain. Can't halter, lead, or ride him, but he'll follow you around like a puppy dog.

Once I got Dusty deterred, we mounted back up and headed back for the gate. Once the question of whether to ride the horses back or get the trailer and load them was settled (ride, of course!) I discovered a gap in Monkey's education so far.

See... I've never actually ridden him away from the cattle. It's just always worked out that we had the trailer there, and we'd just load him up and haul him home.

He was still saddled, I was still on, by god we were supposed to go push the cows around!

So, he tried to turn around and go back. When I wouldn't let him do that, he figured he was in trouble, so he started backing up. When we bought him, he hated backing. So, when he didn't want to do something in the arena, I'd make him back up, until he figured the thing I'd asked him to do was a lot easier than what I made him do instead. As a result, Monkey can go backwards danged near as fast as he can go forward.

So, back we went. Down one side of the ditch, back up the other side, across the road, back down the ditch.....

Straight into the neighbor's electric fence.

No joke. When his butt hit that fence he kind of stood up a little, just enough to let it slide down to the curve of his stifle, and then he sat on it. Just kind of squatted down and leaned back into that smooth wire.

He was getting shocked, I could feel him twitch every time, but he sat there until I picked up the whuppin tool I'd hung on my saddle horn (just in case... I follow the boy scout motto, and at times, all it takes for Monkey to behave is to see me pick up something in my right hand... Since I had the roping reins on him, I couldn't use the end of my rein, so I brought a tool.)

And that took a few shocks from the fence cause I was holding rein in both hands, short as I could get it, and plumb up by his ears. I didn't want him to back up anymore, so I was trying to urge him forward when he hit the fence, but if he blew like I expected him to when that fence hit him, I definitely wanted both hands to keep his head.

SB kept his mare walking, while he turned around in the saddle to watch Monkey and I have our little discussion. He figured I was going to get my ass canned, and he'd have to go catch the big idiot.

I tell ya folks, I have never had a horse even brush an electric fence and not get fairly upset about it. And, this is the horse that if he catches a toe on a smooth wire that's loose and laying on the ground acts like a snake just reared up and bit him on the nose. But he just sat right down on that damn fence and wasn't moving until I picked up that over & under and waved it where he could see.

*shakes head* He sure didn't try to back his way out of riding away from the cows again, though.