Thursday, August 30, 2012

Starlight’s Cattle Drive

We had a bad feeling about it, when we drove past our neighbors today and saw two cows loose on our property.  

Our neighbor was there, fixing the fence, but those of you who have followed this blog for a while know that we had more loose cows in our yard last year than most people have in a lifetime.   

When we got back from our errands, there were no cows in our neighbors pasture.  

He must have moved them, I said hopefully to my husband, my voice full of doubt.

Starlight gets cowy.
 &@$%! said my husband.  Theyre all down there!

Sure enough, like a recurring nightmare, all of the cows that should have been in my neighbors pathetically fenced pasture were in our yard, or more precisely, surrounding our pond.  

My neighbor, as usual, was no where to be seen.  Our past experience taught us that he is fairly lax in the cow-containing department, and when they are loose, he rarely seems to even notice.  He just drives right by them as they trot all over our hay fields.

I grabbed the best cow-chasing tool we have a golf umbrella   tossed a flappy raincoat to my husband, and we commenced chasing.  Well, this years cows did not go home in an orderly fashion like last years cows did.  In fact, they took an insane route across our creek and up into our field.  I flanked them, trying to get ahead of them to turn them back toward my neighbor's, but to no avail.  They were always one step ahead of me, and into the woods we all went, I and the cows.  My husband, wisely, had remained behind.

I honestly dont know how its possible to lose a herd of cows in the woods, but I did.  In just a few short minutes I could not see them, nor hear them, nor smell them.  They had vanished.  So I went home, with my golf umbrella, but without my neighbors cows.

Don't worry, cow fans.  We live in a very rural, farm community, so they will show up, safe and sound, no doubt destroying someone's corn field.

Looking a tad frazzled after her adventure.
As it was such a beautiful day, I decided to take Starlight out for a ride.  She needed some work, and I thought Id take her up to the top of our property, in case the cows were up there.   They werent, but when we got back, some additional cows, not the ones I chased, but some other loose ones, had wandered from our neighbors to our field. 

This was our chance!  I told my neighbor last year, before Starlight was even going under saddle, that if his cows came on our property, I would chase them with my pony.

Good luck with that, he had said.

Well, hah!  Starlight and I headed up the field toward them, and she had their full attention in no time.  And they had hers.  There were about eight of them. My legs started quivering uncontrollably in outright fear, but I managed to quelch it, not wanting to terrify the pony.   

We headed toward them with make-believe bravado, and it worked!  They all ran back through the neighbors terrible fence.  All but one.  This one, a good-sized, red and white spotted one, ran up the fence line, and then tried to get through one of the few places where the fence was actually standing.

Not wanting to drive it into the road, Starlight and I repositioned ourselves to give it the best chance to get by us, then pressured it a bit.  Sure enough, it ran back down the fence line, toward the others.  It passed us at a dead run, and Starlight didnt know if she should run away from it or chase it, so she did a little of both before I settled her back down, and we quietly watched it as it found a spot in the fence it could cross.  It trotted off to join the others.

The guys building our barn roof and my husband watched this little impromptu cattle-working demonstration, and Starlight and I trotted on our way with a sense of accomplishment.  Her first time working cattle and she did it like the star she is.

Now, we're just waiting for that herd to come back over the hill.  Watch out, cows, I have something even better than a golf umbrella.  I have a cow pony!

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