Saturday, October 6, 2012

Ranch Sorting

I took Buddy to a ranch sorting practice last night.  Another woman from the barn was going, and I thought it would be a good change for Bud.  I've never sorted before, but when Connie had Bud she did a lot of it with him.

Ranch sorting is basically taking a group of cows, one at a time, from one pen to another.  There are two round pens set next to each other with the middle panel taken out; the opening is called the hole.  One rider blocks the hole while the other gets the cow and runs it towards the hole.  The riders then switch and go back and forth every other cow.  There are a dozen cows and ten of them are numbered 0-9.  You have to go in numerical order and leave the two unnumbered or "dirty" cows in the first pen.  And you have to do this all in 60secs.

Bud was pretty tired from his workout on Thursday, so we did a light warm up when we got there.  Once they had the cows set up, he perked up a bit but was still pretty laid back.  Which was a good thing since Dar, the mare who came with us, had never been around cows before and was nervous.  Laura, her owner, and I walked around together and let Bud show Dar that the cows were nothing to be afraid of. 

There were about 20 people, and we wanted to watch the others go so we waited awhile till our go.  The man running it was very nice, and gave us about 5 minutes just getting Dar used to sorting the cows out.  We didnt' worry about getting them in the correct order, just moving them from one pen to the other.  Dar did pretty well, but Buddy got a little hot and bit one of the cows when it wouldn't move.  Bad Buddy!

The cows, and part of Dar's head.  You can see the while numbers on their sides
While we waited around for our second attempt, the barn hosting it opened up their kitchen and gave us free dinner!  There was a big pot of spaghetti, salad, and cake.  I held the horses while Laura grabbed a bite then she held when I went to eat.  Apparently they host the ranch sortings about once a month and always serve dinner. The food was good, and I thought it was awesome that they feed everyone who comes.

Our second and third tries were much better.  We were still slow, and didn't always get the correct cow in the correct order.  Dar gained more confidence and only had a couple little spooks.  Buddy didn't try to eat any other cows, and I was able to work on getting him to focus on a particular cow and move it where I wanted.  It was a lot of fun and we'll defiantly go back!

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