I have been at the ranch for almost 6 weeks now, 5 of them I have been lucky enough to ride winter pasture with the guys. Normally when you ride out somewhere the first impressions you have of a spectacular view or unforgettable experience tend to fade each time. Well, it’s still all new out here for me. With snow drifts during March, excitement for greener pasture at the beginning of April, and coyote happenings I have made plenty of new memories thus far.
Yesterday was no exception. The weather was beautiful, 70 degrees. This was a needed reprieve from the pounding of bad weather and snow we had last week. I took this picture on the drive to Sheridan. If you'll notice how far down the snow is packed on the mountains, you can see how much snow we had last week. Spring time will be a little later for us but we are fortunate for more precipitation.
We had to gather up the horses from two separate fields, around 600 acres of hills, and then push them into another pasture. Before this could happen we had to push out 35 head of cattle out on the new pasture. It's nice to be able to shout "HEY COW" and slap your leg and not be in an enclosed arena. I hope you can imagine the distinct difference between an enclosed rodeo animal and one that wanders free in open pasture. Mommas and their newborn calves trotted right out without much hassle. Let's just say they were way more cooperative than our horses. The horses were certainly feeling their oats, or rather the beautiful tiny shoots of GREEN grass they have been waiting on for months. They ran us all over all three pastures. It wasn't easy but it sure was exciting.
This is the only picture I was able to take. This is the last group of horses running to meet the others. You can see them in the far left corner of the picture. How many horses can see?
I am consistently impressed with our mountain horses. The terrain here is tough, but their life is good. The horses have been living on hundreds and hundreds of acres of land in different pastures. With the exception of Dave the manager of the land and our presence once a week, these horses are really running free. Located at the end of a 20 minute drive down a dirt road this area makes me feel as if I really am in the wild. It makes me feel good that the horses are able to have a great winter break from all the work they do in the summer.
The hearty ponies we rode deserve a lot of credit. Even Travis' silly filly Whiskey showed up and went off to work out of sight from other horses. Being a lone makes a lot of horses uncomfortable. Ace the working horse I ride is a different animal than any of my Mississippi trail horses. He has taught me more about working horses and cows than I would have ever learned anywhere else. Luckily I have enough riding experience to be flexible enough to ride a finished horse as he was trained -- and not how I would have worked mine. When I got here last season I knew I was at the right ranch after my first ride on Ace. I can remember telling the guys that I was going to let Ace teach me how to ride him. And he most certainly has.
When you come out to the ranch this summer ask any one of the wranglers what "Ace in the face" means.
Leah Bright, Wrangler
P.S. If you’re ever looking for a good lunch where you can easily park a trailer in Sheridan try El Rodeo Mexican food. It's legit.