Headed For Shade On The First Ride Available

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It had been pretty dry up in the foothills on the ranch where we were working. To save the grass on the home ranch, the boss leased some pasture about 90 miles away and out on the prairie. He and his wife ran their yearling replacement heifers there, and in an adjoining pasture, their daughter ran her heifers.
We left the ranch at a couple hours before daylight to get there and beat the July heat. We took two outfits as there were our saddle horses and the bulls to haul back. The pasture where the boss’s heifers ran had a little set of pens on the far corner, so we’d load the bulls out there. Where the daughter, Carla’s, heifers ran, there was nothing, but it was too far to trail the one bull to those pens. So, Carla had loaded several portable panels in her trailer and securely wired them to the inside of the trailer, top and bottom, and loaded her horse.
Getting to the gates into the pastures, we went our separate ways. Us to gather the bulls out of the bigger bunch, and Carla to go get her one bull out of hers. He was an older bull and pretty quiet to handle, so she wasn’t too concerned about getting him, what with having the panels to make a little wing into the trailer.
We’d gotten the heifers ridden through and bulls found fairly quickly, and we were trailing our bulls to the pens, when we saw Carla coming across the pasture with the trailer. It was too soon for her to be done finding her bull, setting up her panels and loading him, so we were concerned that she’d found him dead or something.
We had our bulls penned by the time she got to the corrals. In her trailer was her horse and her bull. She told us that when she spotted the heifers and her bull, she parked by the fence to use it to help wing him in with the panels. The cattle were about 300 yards away. She’d unloaded her horse and dropped the halter rope so he could graze while she got the panels set up.
On the journey to the pasture, the panels had bounced and shifted until the wire was so tight that she was having trouble getting it undone. She was down on her knees in the rather dark trailer, fighting with the bottom, center wire, her back to the endgate, when she felt and heard her horse step into the trailer. Not looking up, she stuck her hand up to stop him and encountered a wet, broad muzzle. Startled, she looked over her shoulder, and looming over her, waiting for her to move her hand, was the big Angus bull. He took up most of the width of the trailer with the panels inside, so she didn’t have any room to spare. When she dropped her hand, he walked to the front of the trailer, brushing her with his belly as he passed, and stopped.

Carla hurriedly got out and studied on the situation for a moment. Well, her panels were still mostly wired up, the bull clearly wanted a ride back to the cool, shady, pine clad hills of home, so she loaded her horse and caught up with us.
Once at the corral, the bull was backed out and the panels unloaded and put on the side of the trailer with the help of all of us. Then we loaded all the bulls in the big trailer and the five horses in Carla’s trailer and headed back to the high country.
I guess a hot, dry, fly bitten summer can make a feller, even a bull, long for some relief.

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About Jan Swan Wood

Jan was raised on a ranch in far western South Dakota. She grew up horseback working all descriptions of cattle, plus sheep and horses. After leaving home she pursued a post-graduate study of cowboying and dayworking in Nebraska, New Mexico, Montana, Wyoming and South Dakota....

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