We gathered up our crew aged from nine to seventy two and all in between. We rode out from the barn on an assortment of horseflesh. There was half Shetland, half Andalusian, part Foxtrotter and some sho-nuff quarter horse cowponies. it was a cool autumn morning and we rode at a walk, “viztin’” and joking with each other. In cow country we call it commutin’, communin’ and communicatin’. We split into three groups to sweep from south to north across the pastures, creek bottoms, and brush thickets. One group met up with a sizable bunch of cows in the big bottom pasture. Then my crew came up out of a deep draw to an encounter with a bunch of probably forty or fifty in Frog Bottom. We set the hounds to them, and slowly began to stroll towards the pens. Some stragglers emerged out of the thicket and one cowboy kept dipping back in for more. Well, after all “the girls” in our bunch turned the wrong way and mixed with the other crew’s herd coming out of the bottom, and a gang of stragglers from the Mexican Hole patch. Next the whole mass went to the west corner. At this point we started all over again and finally as a bunch all hundred twenty two streamed through Elm creek and brush to the four corners gate to head up the hill to the corral.Once we were in the A.I. trap the cattle got “re-cow-citrant” and it took three wearisome tries to get the whole slew into the pens. This included two heifers jumping into the stock tank to evade horses and dogs. The dogs got a good workout reversing bunch-quitters, and the horses were pretty rode down, running and stopping back and forth. Finally the whole herd was penned! It was nearly noon. We were now ready to start the actual work, the reason for penning the cattle. I looked around at horse, dog, and cowboy and thought I’d never seen a more played-out bunch. But an hour later after hamburgers and bellywash the crew dove into sorting like there was no tomorrow. A cowboy, a cow horse, or cow dog may actually be a girl,a little boy, a middle-aged man or old fart like me, but they have all got one thing in common — grit!
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