The cattle song

IMG_0168So, today Jesse and I moved the cattle by ourselves; the first of a few while we’re on the job alone.  We went out when the herd was coming in for water and once we could see many of them, I started calling.  I learned it from my mentor and it creates such a beautiful experience, I call it “the cattle song”.  What an amazing feeling to give the call myself and watch the herd come running over the hills toward us, ready to follow us to the new pasture.  Now, on to my horse’s perception of this magical experience 🙂  Jesse has been off for a couple months and this was her 4th ride out since we got the Sigafoo glue on shoes on and got her comfortable.  She’s had this experience many times before, but today she was affected by all that energy coming at her.  It does feel like a stampede coming as they come running and calling and bucking toward us.  I’m always ready for her to react in this situation, knowing it’s an intense experience so I was prepared when she started joining the cattle in wanting to run.
I got her backed away as the herd moved on by through the gates and tried my best to help her not get too worked up as we finished the job.  The herd moved into the new pasture and I was able to put my attention on Jesse as we went out on the mountain to look for any cows or calves left behind.  She was really full of energy and got spooky a few times, so I used the energy best I could depending on the terrain (steep hills, unsure footing, etc) and she eventually calmed down.  She kept nice forward motion, though, which I am so happy about.  I’ve seen a big difference in her movement since she’s had the glue on shoes on and today was no different.  We got caught in a downpour; another opportunity to build and test confidence. Also, I discovered my rain jacket is more of a windbreaker than rain protector 🙂  I’ll take my drizabone next time; a great lesson in preparedness.  We identified the calf that had been separated and I’ll keep an eye to ensure it continues to thrive.  My biggest lesson from this part of the journey so far is that if my horse isn’t optimally comfortable and if she has any soreness or lameness, I can’t expect much…emotionally, mentally, or physically.  Once again feeling the difference when her body is comfortable, I am absorbing that lesson.  Her attitude and abilities completely change and it feels like a whole new horse has shown up.  Any time I have a horse with a nasty attitude, I’ll be thoroughly checking for pain and discomfort from now on.  I can’t blame her for being unhappy if she isn’t comfortable, and am determined to look for the input and info she is trying to give me rather than get so focused on the task at hand.
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