Some days just don’t turn out as expected. We like to plan shorter rides for the younger kids to help out on such as, gathering this field of cows and calves, then moving them down the road to a new field.
The weather was perfect, the kids did great with their horses and moving the cattle. It’s so fun to watch them progress. My oldest son, who is eleven, ended up gathering a few of the stragglers and trailing them for a few miles by himself. He kept the cattle calm and let the calves set the pace. (There is no sense in pushing the cows to go faster; mama cows have a strong maternal instinct and do not travel far without their calf right beside them.) My younger kids don’t quite have the confidence yet to have done that. They still get a little flustered if their horse doesn’t do exactly what they think he should be doing. They are perfectly happy to hang out with Mom, so she can help them pick up ropes that they drop, tighten cinches as needed, lead them around trees, but mostly so they have access to Mom’s supplies: water, food, sunscreen and bandaids. Never leave home without them!
After gathering the field, we turned the pairs out on the road to trail them a half mile to their new field. They hit that road and came to a complete halt. No desire to move another step. The fun part had ended. At this point we were committed, we couldn’t very well leave the cattle in the middle of the road! We summoned our patience, fanned out our cowboy-kids, grabbed a water bottle and kept the pairs trudging down the road.
Eventually we reached the field and pushed the last of the calves through the gate. Before we left for home, we watched to make sure the cows and calves all paired up. We waited until each calf found his mama and the two of them set out to graze in the new field. Then, finally, it was time to go home for our (very late) lunch!