Not much happening this week. We did manage to get up some more cows. Actually, we got up the same cows that we got up last week, the same cows that we always get up. The cows we don’t get up are still out there. Anyway, we branded the two calves that escaped last week and we also branded two cows that have been escaping for quite some time. I have to confess that I had a little trouble throwing one of these calves. I just couldn’t get his front leg up off the ground. Part of it is that I am just not 25 anymore, but I also think I was grabbing him around the neck and just picking his head up. He finally jumped and I threw him with no trouble. The only other real trouble we had was with the horse. Scout is only a marginal cow pony out in the open, but he is getting worse and worse in the pens. He wouldn’t even let Dad get close to the cows. All he was good for was running interference while Jim and I pulled the calf in by hand. A cow pony that is afraid of cows is about as useless as a carpenter that’s allergic to wood. We need a replacement.
This problem is absorbing a fair amount of thought. Silver is relatively gentle, but the whole castration, wounding, and needle episodes have put him behind. I use to always throw a blanket on him to work him, but now he’s scared of it. So, I am starting that process over. I can catch him easier and sacking him is going well, but it’s a step backwards for sure. We have some options. The ranch can go ahead and foot the bill for a decent cow horse (hopefully one that can do cavalry too) is one option. Another option is to work a deal with a local horse trainer and get some of these brumbies broke and work out a trade. Or, I can have a trainer finish off Silver. Also, a combination of these might be best. I hate to give up on Silver, but I’m just really not sure how it’s going to go with me training him. It is possible, since this is my first one, that I could mess him up. I’m a little shy about that. I think that the whole Sarge incident has significantly changed my outlook. Sarge used to be a horse that I could ride until I rode him steady for about a week and then he just wouldn’t stand to be mounted. He only got worse. Of course, that I messed up my knee during that whole thing also shakes me a little. I would hate to take a perfectly gentle horse like Silver and traumatize him. Has it happened already? I used to walk up to him and throw on a blanket and now I can’t. Without the horse training experience I am experimenting and winging it. That could prove to be costly and even dangerous in the long run.
A guy I reenact with told me about a farrier/horse trainer in Tyler that can break a horse without trauma. He’s in his 60’s so he doesn’t put up with the bucking. He is supposed to be very good. I would love the chance to learn from someone like that. The problem there is that kind of training also takes a good deal of money. Anyone that does that down here would be training a potential competitor. These are the downsides to training Silver myself.
On the other hand, if I ship Silver off to get trained by a local, then I take the risk of him being broke out rough. I do not want to do that because ultimately I would have to try to undo the bad lessons. That is part of Scout’s problem. With getting any horse off the place trained is that what is delivered to us is still a young question mark. I will have to train them to the gun, the neck reining, the cows, the rope, the trailer, the riding in formation, and all the myriad other things that a cow horse/cavalry mount will have to endure. In the world of living in the suburbs and riding once or twice a month that takes about a year. Living out here it would be less, but still a lengthy process.
This is a summary of the horse problem. We need ‘em and we don’t have ‘em. I need at least two reliable cow ponies at the bare minimum. Right now I have a half. If I had four cavalry/cow horses I would be able to use them all or be able to put someone on all of them for reenactments or cow work. I would love to have something that Anna could ride. What is the right intermediate step to take to get to this goal?
So, that is it. We could use prayers and advice on this problem. I welcome input. Ultimately, like the whole living on the ranch enterprise, it is in God’s hands. It is His ranch. The problems are His and so must be the solutions. I have faith that He will work them in His good time. In the interim, I want to be faithful to do what I am supposed to. The sermon on Sunday referenced 1 Corinthians 1:27. “But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.” Our lack of skill, experience, and resources are an opportunity for God to show His glory. I look forward to seeing that, but I also rest in that until He does.