My Favorite Thing about Ranching
~ Jennifer Schrock
I love everything about ranching. It is something you just can’t get enough of. It does take some getting used to, but all in all it is fun and rewarding.
I love horses and roping, so my favorite thing about ranching happens to be branding season. Branding season is usually in spring and early summer. You have brandings to put your brand on your calves so that people know who raised those calves.
To get a branding working, everyone who was invited to help get up early, saddle their horses, and ride out to gather the cows and calves. They bring the cattle to the branding trap and then try to separate most of the cows from the calves, to make their job easier.
After that, everyone must help get the branding ready. They get the shots ready, heat up the branding pot, and set up everything so that it is in a helpful spot for everyone.
The ropers are chosen, and everyone else finds themselves a job, such as giving shots, marking the calves, tagging, wrestling, or branding. Then the branding can officially start.
The system of brandings is pretty simple. The ropers rope calves and drag them to the wrestlers, who must keep the calves from running off while they are branded, marked, cut, and many other things.
When I participate in a branding, I usually help bring the cattle in, then I stand back as they separate the calves. Everything in the branding trap is moving fast. So fast that I can’t keep track of everything. As soon as everything is set up, I go into the trap to ask the boss what I can do to help.
I usually am assigned to help with shots. So I go around giving the calves shots in their necks and then marking them afterwards. Sometimes I lose track of which ones I did and didn’t do. To see if I did one or not, I look for the mark. If a calf has a mark, I move on to the next calf. It is pretty simple.
Some people say its hard to do anything in a branding, because there is so much going on. And yes, there is a lot going on. You have to keep track of where the horses are, so you stay out of their way, and you have to make sure you don’t get in the way of anyone else. All while giving calves shots.
Usually, there is break during the branding. Break is when one of the cooks brings food and drink out to everyone for a break. It usually happens in the middle of a branding, or after one bunch of cattle and before the next bunch. Anyways, break is just something to keep everyone going. And it is a good time for everyone just to hang out and talk.
After a branding is over, everyone heads down to headquarters to eat lunch. They all gather at one of the houses and hang out and eat the cooks good food. Afterwards, everyone heads home after a day of our kind of sports.
I hope you have enjoyed my version of my favorite part of brandings. You still may not see why it is my favorite part of living on a ranch, but if you were me, you’d understand. Brandings are to me what sports are to a jock. It is fun, and rewarding.