I am lucky in a many ways, but right now what I'm thinking about is how lucky I am that I get to have some of the experiences that I do, especially those on horseback given that I put off my dream of horses until past the age of 40.
Working cattle from horseback is a blast. And I still remember the satisfaction I felt the first time I moved 160 head of cattle from one field to another through one little gate all by myself with no glitches.
(Of course, I also still remember being out in a driving rainstorm trying to round up 10 loose calves while on my racehorse who was acting all racehorse and not at all cowhorse that day, even more so because thunder was crashing and lightening flashing and he was totally freaking out while we got soaked through. We never did get those silly buggers all rounded up and I had to get help. The most I'd get was five, then when I'd go after another one or two, that group would split up. Yes, I still remember that day too! No satisfaction there!)
This Saturday we had an end-of-the-year party for my daughter's 4H group at a friend's where the girls were able to practice ranch sorting after a long trail ride. The girls loved it. There's just something natural about being on a horse and moving a cow around. And in the old days, that's exactly what you would have done. There weren't feedlots or quads or semis full of cattle. Just cowboys and horses and cattle. That's where all natural beef used to come from, and ranch sorting is a sport leftover from those days, days when it was a necessary skill, not a fun Saturday activity.
It got me thinking about how maybe, just maybe we crave that connection to local food. Why else would we take to sorting cattle so well? Why do pumpkin patches draw the crowds they do? Why do farmers markets feel so festive?
Perhaps our longings are telling us something, that we need to be connected, to know where our food comes from and to have some kind of hand in that food getting to our tables.
Maybe I'm reading too much into the weekend, but I don't know. I look at that photo of the girls holding the newest member of the herd and just wonder...
Oh, and the video? Me on my not-all-that-well-trained-yet 4-year-old. We were going after the hardest steer in the bunch, and all went okay until my horse started bucking and we lost him. I edited that part out. But other than his bad behavior, you can see how slow, quiet and, well, natural, it is.
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