It's been weeks since I've had a reason to be on a horse - but today was the day.
A two-year-old heifer was the first to calve for the year. Even though it was only 20 degrees, mother and son are doing fine. But there are more calves on the way, and the herd was being wintered a mile from the calving shed.
Two-year-olds are not fully mature, physically or mentally - something like a girl in junior high. They are more likely to have trouble calving, and less likely to take care of their calves, so it is good practice to have them nearby where they can be watched and taken in to shelter if the weather gets bad.
Max started barking when I fired up the 4-wheeler - he knew what was coming next! We ran the horses in, and I saddled Thunder. He was as eager to go to work as was the dog.
We brought the bunch of heifers into the trap-lot next to the corrals and started sorting off those who were showing to be near calving. In the cutting horse competitions there are two other people ahorseback to hold the herd while each cow is cut out. I had only Max and Thunder to help. So the three of us had to work a lot harder to hold the herd at one end of the trap, ride through and cut out the heavies, and keep our sort from mixing back into the herd.
We took those first twelve heavies that we cut out and put them by the calving shed - and now the calving season begins. Last thing before I go to bed I will check those 12 heifers and lock them in the shed for the night, and will return first thing in the morning to check them and let them out.