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Sunday, August 3, 2014

My Short Ranching Career. Part Two.

Blair. Getting animated.
I bought another big growthy (once again, that word) heifer.
She was tall. She was dark red. She had a white face.
But there, her resemblance to a normal Hereford ended.
She was not the typical quiet animal you usually associate with the breed.
Nope.
She was jumpy and would get agitated . . . easily.
I worked with her to quiet her down. Trained her to tie. To lead.
I would bring her into the barn, place a halter on her, tie her to the fence and groom her.
She enjoyed it.
Think of it as getting a good back scratch. But in this case using a comb.
She had lots of hair which meant that I could groom and cut it to make her look like the perfect heifer. This was important because purebred cattle breeders often had cattle shows where they would exhibit their animals and I wanted my heifer there.
I prepared her and got her ready for her first big exhibition.
Now we knew she was a little nervous so my veterinarian/dad told me to give her a tranquilizer to help her calm down.
When I arrived at the cattle show, I backed the trailer to the arena area, then opened the back of the trailer, untied my prize heifer and began to lead her out.
I had worked with her so much that I thought we were friends.
I soon discovered that we . . . weren’t.
When she saw the open door in the back of the trailer, she bolted.
And kicked me in the chest as she flew out.
I was caught completely by surprise.
She really connected as she kicked and my world started spinning.
Now in order to help you understand the force that a heifer or bull can kick with, picture having a 600 pound boxer punch you.
With everything he has.
My breath was gone.
I didn’t want to let go of the halter because some other poor unsuspecting person might get run over. I managed to hang on long enough to slow her down, but finally I had to let go. However, a friend and I finally cornered her and got her tied up at her assigned stall.
Then I called my very capable, very reliable, extremely intelligent veterinarian/dad and asked what I should do.
He said to give her a little more tranquilizer.
Considering that I did not want another repeat of the kicking episode, I complied.
The tranquilizer was just taking effect when I took her into the show ring for her group. She stepped lively and I was able to present her well to the judge.  He placed her in one of the top spots.
Then the tranquilizer really kicked in. So to speak.
My heifer planted her 4 feet squarely and stood there with her belly hanging, causing her back to bow.
She was very hard to move. At one point as I tried, she started to lean on me.
I felt like I was trying to maneuver a drunk around the show ring. 
By this point, the judge had almost all of the animals placed and came back to survey the group.  As he looked at my heifer, he sighed and moved her down 8 places.
8 places!
By this point, however, I didn’t care.
When the heifer category was over, I loaded her up and headed home.
I worked with this heifer for several more months and once again thought she was quiet and cooperative.
Again, ‘thought’ is the important word here.
Dad and I were given the assignment from the young Hereford breeder association to compile a booklet on how to prepare a heifer for a cattle show. This involved taking pictures of clipping and grooming an animal to make them look their best.
My heifer had lots of hair that we could use to demonstrate (only their hair dresser knows for sure).
As I groomed and cut, dad took pictures.
The clippers that I was using where very large and noisy. If you used them for long, your hands would feel numb. I was clipping hair along my heifer’s belly when suddenly I was lying on my back, looking at the ceiling of the barn.
The clippers were in my hand buzzing away.
I looked at dad. “Umm . . . how did I get here?”
Dad told me that my heifer had just kicked me. She had kicked so fast that I didn’t see it coming. 
She was very agitated and dad and I spent some time trying to get her settled down.
This was very difficult considering one of us had just been assaulted.
Finally, she was calm again, and dad and I could finish the pictures. Then I took her back to her pen.
As I walked down the hill to the ranch house I realized that my chest hurt. I lifted up my T-shirt. Let’s just say that she did her work well.
And I began to evaluate how important it was for us to continue our relationship.

5 comments:

  1. that there is what you call an abusive relationship

    ReplyDelete
  2. I know that relationships can be difficult but that one sounds like more pain than it was worth.
    Although I am giggling at some of the pictures in my head right now.

    ReplyDelete
  3. It is becoming quite clear why your ranching career was short-lived AND that it was probably all for the best, as otherwise you might not still be alive to tell about it!

    ReplyDelete
  4. I can definitely understand why you chose to re-evaluate the relationship. Ouch!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Ouch! I glad you changed professions!

    ReplyDelete

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Diane was born and raised on one of the last of the great old Southern Alberta ranches. A way of life that is fast disappearing now. Through her memories and stories, she keeps it alive. And even, at times, accurate . . .

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