I will be hosting some guest writers on my blog, to give you a peek at other ranch wives’ daily lives. I do not necessarily endorse every view expressed. Welcome to another guest contributor: Alina Frei. You can find her on Instagram at @cowgirlfrei61488
I have always been a country girl. I was born in Kaliningrad, Russia right after the Soviet Union broke up. Kaliningrad is a very small village with different types of farm life such as chickens, lambs, pigs, deer, and other types of animals. I have been exposed to that since I was born which is why I have the greatest passion to work with cattle on horseback.
I came to the U.S. at age 5 and decided that I wanted to be an American. In my eyes, an American was a cowgirl. My family and I got involved with horses quickly after we went to a guest ranch called Paradise Guest Ranch near Sheridan, Wyoming. We immediately fell in love with the horses we rode. There is one particular horse that got us even more involved with horseback riding. Living in a suburb area, we had this horse in our court and we were wondering what the heck will we do with it?
Things started to fall into place quickly as we got help from our friend who was the cow boss at the guest ranch we went to. Kirk Parry got us where we are today with our horses and working with cattle. He taught us how to control our horses using body language and different sets of commands. This helped me greatly understand how a horse thinks and how to connect. The horse I currently ride is the same horse I started 9 years ago. I have always used a hackamore with him and love using the vaquero traditions.
As my dad and I got more involved with our horses, we immediately took an interest in cow work, especially roping. We would practice on and off horse back for hours trying the basic ranch roping loops (head, heals, and hip). Once we had mastered those, so we thought, we finally were able to practice our roping skills on live cows. My dad picked up on the technique quickly since he practiced more than I had. He got very efficient and was able to coach me to get better along with our friend Kirk. My worry was what do I do once I catch the critter? This soon became the least of my worries as I got more comfortable controlling, swinging, catching, and dallying. We started to go to brandings out at Kirk’s place and other friends he knew in Wyoming. Somehow, we were becoming wanted hands at the brandings.
Since these first encounters, we have grown to helping a family that runs a big outfit near Midas, Nevada. They are the ones who have really taught us what it is like to be a rancher and the calm ways of branding. This ranching family has been around for many generations in Oregon. Their family invested in the MC Ranch which is mentioned in a very well known song by Ian Tyson called MC Horses. We got to hear wonderful stories about their relationship with Chuck and Nanny. Once we worked for them for a year, we got to really understand all aspects of running a ranch. We have now known this family for about 7 years and consider ourselves helpful to them.
It is exciting to work with ranchers when you know where the cattle are and where they need to go. I have experienced quite a bit, but I am eager to witness and help with calving. That is one thing I have not seen in person. I am blessed to be able to have been able to experience what I have and know that I will continue to learn each time I’m out day working.