1. If you love what you’re doing, it doesn’t matter how early you have to get up on how long you have to work – One articular day this summer, I was up saddling horses in the barn at 5:30 am and I didn’t get back to the bunkhouse until 10:45 pm. It was a long day and I was sure tired but we got done what we needed to!
2. You can learn a lot by asking questions but watching is one of the best ways to pick up on details. – I am lucky enough to have work for an outfit where everyone on the crew is very helpful and willing to answer questions, but not all cowboys are like that. Many of the old-timers you come across won’t say much about what they’re doing although you would be amazed about what you can learn about stockmanship and cowboying from watching them work.
3. NEVER limit the value of creativity. – Being able to use your head to set a trip is the most important skill you can have hen it comes to doctoring a 2000lb bull. You can throw all the fancy buckaroo loops you want but when somehow, due to the unpredictable nature of animals and ropes, you’ve ended up with one front and the opposite hind foot roped, you sometimes have to be a little creative about how to get that bull on the ground!
4. Cowboying or working on a ranch is some of the most humbling work you could ever do. – One day you are a hand in the branding pen, with every heel shot you throw landing right where you want it do, and the next day you can barely keep up with processing crew. For every victory, there is a defeat and that is what keeps cowboys grounded
5. Instructions and tips are very helpful but make sure you find your own way of doing things. – I have received a lot of advice this summer. Some of it has worked for me and some of it has not but filtering through all that information is how you develop your own style and your own craft.
6. Gain the treatment you desire, not what others assume you require- I am the only girl on my crew and that caused a few people to go a little easier on me with some of the physical tasks – a little easier than I wanted. I can drive the truck and trailer when moving panels around but don’t assume I can’t throw panels around too! There were a few times where I had to assure to the rest of the crew that I could pull my own weight!
I have done more roping, more cattle work and more fencing this summer than I have done in a long time. That isn’t due to lack of work at home as much as it is the surplus of work to do around here and I have loved every minute of it. But as one adventure comes to an end (for now), another is about to begin! I am so excited to get back to school this fall! See all of you Aggies in a week!