You know how they say once you know how to ride a bike you never forget? You can take time off, then hop on and off you go.
Roping, not so much...
I spent yesterday at Ken's I was up before six and on the road by seven. I pulled into his yard at nine. By ten we had horses saddled and were out in the pasture. By pasture I mean 160 acres. He wanted some help doctoring a cow and he needed to tag and vaccinate some late calves. I was stoked. This sounded like a ridiculous amount of fun! After all I used to team rope... I could totally do this...
I was riding a horse I'd rode twice before. It was my first time on a horse in close to a year. I haven't picked up a rope in over 8 years. I haven't done any pasture work in over 13 years. And my personal favorite, Ken does not put rubber on his horn (this stops the rope from sliding when you dally).
We started off with Ken roping some calves. He was riding a jittery gorgeous grey gelding. It was a footstep away from being a wreck of epic proportions with the first calf. The horse went up, Ken went to the side, his foot looking like it wanted to hang up in the stirrup, calf jumping around on the end of the rope... He managed to get clear, get his horse working, and get the calf safely treated. There's something so special about watching the little gaffers trotting off with their new ear tags flapping. We settled in to work. Ken roping and I held the herd in one spot.
We worked our way to the section where a lame cow was. My job was to rope the cow. Ken said she was pretty spicy so I should wear her out (lope her around) before roping her. Yeah. She was more than a little spicy. Ken finally stepped in with his horse and ran her to a stop. I looked at him and told him I thought she was ok. She was moving fine on her foot. I couldn't see any swelling or ickies in her hoof. We decided she was on the mend and didn't need any intervention. At this point Ken decided I should start roping calves.
Throw. Miss. Throw. Miss. Trying to get the horse to work for me. Sigh. Finding a calf lying down I threw and caught. Dallied. And couldn't figure out why the calf kept getting further and further away. The dally was sliding with no rubber. I'd like to add the calf was no longer sleeping peacefully... Looking down and realizing my finger was in a very dangerous spot I undallied, and tried to pull the rope. Meanwhile, the horse was not cooperating. When the dust finally settle I had no coils in my hand, and an angry momma cow following as I dragged her calf to higher ground. (It was in a low spot - read wet.) It was ridiculous.
It was also a ridiculous amount of fun. If I'm going to be doing more of this I'm going to be borrowing a friend's rope saddle, complete with rubber on the horn. I'll also spend some time dummy roping.
I had forgot how much work roping was. My entire body hurts. While I was roping my hands hurt (why I was at Neurologists last week), but I didn't get really bad tremors. I don't know if physically I can do this as a hobby, but I think I'll work at it a bit and test the waters.
I'm still smiling.