Branding and Gathering

To many horse owners, branding and gathering cattle isn’t what comes to mind when thinking of spending time with their horses. However, in my opinion – that’s as good as it gets. Early morning, making your circle, branding, penning them up, a good horse…Ahh

Here are some tips that are always good to remember when branding and gathering.

  • Always be there on time, ready to ride. If the boss says 3:00 am – he doesn’t mean 3:05. (This is one of the quickest ways not to get invited back)
  • Know your horses and your own limits. Don’t exceed them either. The rest of the crew will frown on it and you might come down a few points in there eyes. Worst case scenario – an old seasoned hand may take you aside and explain some things to you
  • On gathering cattle (riding your circle) always finish your circle! If the boss has to ride his circle and yours too, he’ll figure one of you doesn’t need to be there.
  • If you’re told to hold herd on a certain area. Hold it! Sometimes gathering cattle takes a lot of patience – there can be a lot of just sitting holding the herd.
  • Try not to run your cattle or get them stirred up

In the branding pen

If you’re asked to work on the ground (giving shots, castrating, wrestling calves, etc.) be proud of the fact do a good job and keep your eyes open. You can learn a lot!

If the boss lets you “drag a few to the fire”

  • Keep your horse at a walk (almost all the time)
  • Never drag a calf by his front feet or foot, if you accidentally catch one that way.
  • Always try for good clean doubles (both back legs).
  • Keep your eyes open – it can get pretty crowded in some branding traps.
  • Be as easy as you can on the calves. That is the rancher, boss and the crews paycheck your dragging.
  • If you’re one of several ropers and you miss, make sure your out of the others way while you recoil your rope.
  • Remember – it doesn’t get any better than this!

For questions or other tips on branding and gathering, please contact us.

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