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And We’re Open for Business

June 2, 2009

Wow it’s been a while since I’ve written. I can’t believe it managed to get to July 2nd without me even realizing that May had passed. I definitely owe an entry.

All sorts of things have happened in the past week. A great bonding night at the local honky-tonk. Another campout. My first push out and roundup of the season. Most significant however, is that the ranch is finally open for the season! As of yesterday, guests from all over the country have made their way to Middle of Nowhere, Co to spend a week riding horses, fishing, eating chuckwagon food, and getting dirty. For me it means the end of busy work and alone time and the beginning of long days, schedules, staff shows, grain buckets, riding while turned around the saddle, pack lunches, trail rides, lifting heavy saddles, and 5 am mornings (which means lots of coffee).

Today was one such day. It’s 2:30 pm. I have a half day today. I’ve already been at work for 9.5 hours. It was a roundup morning.

Roundup is what two lucky wranglers get to do each morning before the horses get fed….and the horses get fed before the humans get fed…..which means those lucky wranglers get to witness what the ranch looks like at 5:45 am. It usually involves hitting the alarm clock a few times, fumbling around for jeans and a jacket, blearily making your way to the barn, grumbling while tacking your mount that is equally unimpressed with the early hour, and going on a horse hunt for 104? 102? 115 horses that are hiding on either 100, 125, or 250 acres of land. A roundup is fun if all goes well. You feel like a seasoned cowboy when you’re riding the draw against the backdrop of a rising sun with a herd of horses galloping below you…when that herd consists of every horse in the pasture and they all go back to the barn However, you can feel every inch an incompetent idgit when it doesn’t go well. And there are all sorts of ways it can go wrong. A few days ago I did our Graveyard Pasture roundup. 100 horses went back to the barn smoothly. There were two stragglers on plateau. We had to ride and extra 20 minutes out the plateau to chase them back. They made it to within 5 feet of the gate back to the barn.

Then turned around and galloped the opposite direction.

45 minutes, a lot of screaming, and a big stick later, they too made it back.

Or like what happened today. I did a roundup called the South 40. All the horses left the pasture just fine. But they got stuck between the pasture and the barn. They all usually turn into the barn on their own since that’s where breakfast is waiting. Not this time. Despite the blockades of rakes and wheelbarrows that we had put up as precautionary measures, a number of horses made it to another pasture, some ambled around the ranch, and some decided to turn back around and go back to the pasture we had just driven them out of.

Some days I really really really don’t care for horses.

However, the start of the season doesn’t only mean early mornings and frustrating roundups. It also means I get to go on trails and hang out with guests. The guests this week are great. It’s a small group of all returning guests. I was crazily heartwarmed when the kids remembered who I was . I can’t believe they remembered me! We also have some travel writers this week. Always fun since they ask you a bunch of questions about yourself. And who doesn’t love talking about themselves?

It’s also been a rather rainy start to the season. Did two trail rides yesterday and ended the day soaking wet. My boots might never dry out and my jeans have mud up to the knee. It hailed during the first ride and steadily poured during the second ride and all through our pm chores. Everyone was sufficiently bundled through, so the rain wasn’t unbearable. Rain is usually fine. It’s lightning and thunder that isn’t. We had a few scares on the second ride with close lightning and opted not to ride out to the points. The ride was reminiscent of a lightning riddled ride I took out last season, though much tamer. Last year the lightning was so bad that the only decision I could make was which trail would be better to die on.

The summer storm is clearing up so hopefully we’ll get to actually do tonight’s evening activity….supper ride. We all take trucks up to a vantage point and have a cookout of flank steak and texas cake. Mmmmm.

pre-season 129

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One Comment leave one →
  1. June 3, 2009 3:03 am

    that makes two of us having been a long time checking in. it’s the time of year. short season, intense time, got to make the most of it. strange, the drastic change in seasons. but balancing. enjoy. live a wonderful life. keep sharing. keep dreaming. what could be more important?

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