My Wyoming Cattle Drive Adventure
A couple of weeks ago, I had the chance to do something for the first time that I had always wanted to do: ride on horseback in a real, old-fashioned cattle drive. I had actually taken part in cattle drives before, but this one was roughly twice as large as any I had been in before, so this was an exciting new adventure for me.
It all started when I was out country dancing with my husband, Joe, and ran into my friend Susan Chambless at the club. We were chatting about what fun stuff we each had coming up. Susan knows we raise cattle, and that we board horses. She also knows that I like to have adventures with my trusty Tennessee Walker, Fanny.
When she told me she was riding in this cattle drive in Wyoming, and suggested that I should go with her, I immediately got fired up to go. We had ridden some of the trails near the Ranch together before, and besides being a good friend, she’s a great riding partner.
That’s how Fanny and I found ourselves a couple of weeks later, on a crisp Friday morning riding the range outside Cheyenne, under dramatically overcast skies, coffee in hand (Fanny is so smooth, I never spill a drop!).
We were running about 760 head of Angus steers – as I said, about twice what I had driven before – about 10 miles as the crow flies from the winter pasture to the summer feeding grounds, although by the time we had driven the cattle back and forth, and up and down enough we had probably ridden closer to 20 miles..
While it took me a bit to get my bearings, once we were out for a while, I got a sense of what I was doing. My job was to chase down wanderers, driving them back to the herd while the cowboys pushed them forward. Since this herd was double the size of any previous drive I had been involved with, I felt like I was pushing my comfort zone (and Fanny’s) a bit.
We didn’t really have a lot of time to get in shape for the drive after our long winter, so after about 3 hours, I was kinda out of horse. Truth be told, by the end of the day (about 6 hours altogether) I was a bit worn out myself.
When we got to the summer pasture, the Counter tallied the cattle as they came through the gate, wearing headphones so he could count without being distracted by noise or cowboy chatter. We came up about 96 head short, some of which were probably just lost in the fog, and the rest of which is fairly typical after the long, cold Wyoming winter.
That night we went back to the ranch house and Susan and I relaxed over wine and chatted about the sights, sounds, and smells of our day.
We noted how the cowboys had all been the epitome of helpfulness, politeness, and professionalism – even with a newbie like me working to get my horse legs back after the long winter.
My big-picture takeaway is that I had pushed myself to get out of my comfort zone, and this helped me to gain confidence in myself and in my horse.
I also felt as if I had built on my relationship with Fanny, as we each became more and more confident in ourselves and in each other over the course of the day.
I’ve always felt that if you’re not pushing yourself a little bit, it’s hard to build trust with your horse, and grow your relationship. We grew our relationship that day for sure!
And that brings it all back around to our own horse boarding operation here at Snow Creek Ranch in Larkspur. We feel it’s so important to build a relationship with your horse. That’s why we try to make our surroundings as relaxing and friendly as possible – for both you and your horse – with lots of access to trails and open space, a comfortable, well-maintained barn, an outdoor arena and round pen, plenty of trailer parking and more.
Visit our horse boarding page for more information on what we can offer you and your horse, then click the button below to email us or text 720-232-5669 to get on our waiting list.