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Old Buffalo Skull

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Soapweed

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Last Wednesday, I took three bulls and a bad-eyed cow to Sheridan Livestock Auction at Rushville. On the way home, I was driving at a pretty good clip down the highway, and saw a herd of Angus cows and calves along the road. Out of the corner of my eye, I thought it looked like our Spearhead brand on one calf. Slowing down and pulling into the road ditch, I made a U-turn to go back and check out the deal. It turned out the whole bunch of cattle was ours, and they were three miles from the pasture where they should have been. As it turned out, a water gap on Bear Creek was not properly fixed, and they all went under the fence.

As it was entirely too hot to trail cattle any distance, I postponed getting the cattle back where they belonged until the next morning. With an early start, I hauled Saddletramp and my son up to the highway where the cattle were last seen. They unloaded their horses and started riding, and I went around by road to where they would wind up with the cattle. I unloaded my horse there and rode the fence to figure out where it was bad.

This is a pasture belonging to a neighbor, and I pay a dollar per pair per day for grazing privileges. Technically, the fencing is not my responsibility. Anyway, as Saddletramp crossed the creek with the cattle, he noticed what looked to be a couple dead fish laying on the ground. Upon further investigation, he realized that it was the bottom of two horns that were attached to a buffalo skull. He dug it out by hand, and carried the heavy water-logged memento on his horse until reaching the pickup. Here are a couple pictures of his find, and a few pictures of our ranch horses.

OldBuffaloSkull.jpg


SaddletrampsTreasure.jpg


RodeHardandHungUpWet.jpg


FeelsSoGood.jpg


LifeIsGreat.jpg


BackWithTheBoys.jpg

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Soapweed

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Saddletramp gets the skull;after all he found it and packed it uncomfortably quite a ways back to the pickup.

Catching the horses is fairly easy, because most of them just love a cube of cake. The ones that are harder to catch, are run into a smaller pen on the right side of the picture. It is amazing how a little treat such as a piece of cake (protein pellet) can make a horse gentle, and it gives them a desirable reason to get caught. We also put a gallon of sweet feed into each manger of each horse we are saddling. They get to eat while we saddle up, and if there is some grain left when we are done riding, they munch for a little bit as we unsaddle. It all goes back to "making the right thing easy and the wrong thing hard." They are our friends and working partners, not our adversaries.
 

Brad S

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Don't ya just hate seeing your brand on a stray herd of cattle. Seeing your own brand is like hearing your name - you can see it when noone else can. I really hate seeing "grass and care" cattle on the loose.

I was amazed to see a couple nice bison skulls just sitting outside the Raine Motel in Valentine. I told them to anchor them like they were worth about $500 each.

Is that the red roan your boy has been eyeing? THat's a nifty pen of horses, and its sure nice to feed your neighbor's paint. Ol buck looks like alotta horse to hang a wood onto - his pic almost looks like he wears a war bonnet? The Soapweed way: horsemanship begins with training your horse to catch - well done.
 

Soapweed

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Brad S, the red roan is an eight-year-old registered QH that I ride. He is big and tough, and the best distance horse that I've ever owned my whole life. He lacks finesse in other areas, and he absolutely hates hail and long yellow slickers, but it is worth putting up with his idiosyncracies to have plenty of horse under you. When I first bought Conagher, his small front hooves worried me and I wondered if he'd be a stumbler. He never stumbles, and his front hooves have finally grown to catch up with the rest of him.

Rufus is the roan that my son is using to rope on this summer and he is grazing grass in a little eighteen acre pasture next to town, so is not pictured here. The paint horse, named Goose, is cowy as can be, also eight years old and registered with the APHA. He is usually ridden by Mrs. Soapweed, but she loaned him to me a couple weeks ago for the Sod House Sunday team penning, and he is the one I was riding when we won the belt buckles.

The black stocking-legged horse on the right was purchased at the Black Hills Stock Show, as a three-year-old, for $1300. He is now nine years old, and I would make a bet that he has been ridden more miles since that stock show sale, than any other horse that went through the ring that day. Mrs. Soapweed has covered a lot of country on that horse, named "Clavinova" because of his piano-like colors.

Yellowstone, the big buckskin rolling in the dirt is my best horse. He's half Tennessee Walking Horse and half Quarter Horse, and was born near Red Lodge, Montana eight years ago this spring. He is good on his feet, also a great distance horse, and has enough cow sense to get any job done. In his case the cow sense was definitely not bred into him, but practice makes almost perfect.

The other horses left to right are: Wyatt, a dun with dorsal stripe and tiger-striped legs four-year-old APHA purchased this spring; Sundance, my youngest son's good all-around sorrel stocking-legged five-year-old registered QH; and Blackie, a six-year-old gentle anybody-can-ride horse. The bay is Saddletramp's three-year-old great grandson of Three Bars, and the sorrel paint is Saddletramp's high private, Chalk-Eye. Kadoka is the name of the other sorrel that was rolling in the dirt, and he was purchased at Weller's bull and horse sale southwest of Kadoka, as a four-year-old back in 2001.

Not pictured is our big Belgian team, Homer and Jethro, and my old 23-year-old Tom Cat horse. These three are grazing in a tree lot a ways away. All our horses are geldings, as this just keeps life more simple.
 

George

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I really enjoyed the pictures. I took my wife and daughter and one of my daughters girl friends on a one month tour of the west the month of June 2002 and drove thru some of the greatest country out there. I hope to have time to do so again and with out two 12 year old girls possibly spend a few days seeing first hand how things are done there. It is very easy to handle the cattle I have (normally under 50 momma cows) and almost make them all pets but your world seems like it would be so different.
 

Silver

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The horses look great Soapweed. PS. Is it normally as green there as it appears to be in your pics?
 

DOC HARRIS

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George said:
I really enjoyed the pictures. I took my wife and daughter and one of my daughters girl friends on a one month tour of the west the month of June 2002 and drove thru some of the greatest country out there. I hope to have time to do so again and with out two 12 year old girls possibly spend a few days seeing first hand how things are done there. It is very easy to handle the cattle I have (normally under 50 momma cows) and almost make them all pets but your world seems like it would be so different.
:shock: It IS different than Indiana :roll: but there is NO place like theWest - and that means almost any place IN the West. God's Front Yard :D :D

DOC HARRIS
 

Faster horses

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That was very interesting. And ole' Saddletramp was one lucky bugger to find that buffalo skull~

I'd like to see the horses better though. Next time could you get closer and individualize the horses a little better~for us horse lovers :wink:

Looks like some nice ranch horses, for sure. You musta got Yellowstone pretty sweated up. It sure has been hot the last few days. Today was much nicer, ,but the heat is going to build again, it looks like.

Your country looks nice and green. I came home from Sheridan, Wyoming and it looks good the whole way. I go through Decker, Colstrip, Forsyth, Miles City and down hwy 12 to home. Yep, it looks darn good out there. I'm happy for the cattle, horses and sheep. Oh yeah, and the ranchers!

The grain has lodged in places, hope it comes back up. Was pretty windy here last night they tell me.
 

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