Friday, December 14, 2012

How Ferdinand was Caught

Gathering cattle at the Fourr Ranch was an interesting process. Bob and Donna, the owners, were short on staff the weekend I was there. The only people they had on horseback were themselves, Rodney, Wade, Mikey, and Mercy. Derik handled the cattle on foot in the pens. Janis and I did our own thing racing around in the Purple People Eater taking pictures. Throughout the weekend Janis, Derik and Donna all pitched in with driving me around and teaching me the history of the land and the people who have owned it.

Sometimes the horseback riders rode out from the barn, and other times they loaded up their horses in a stock trailer, drove them down the dirt roads a ways, unloaded them, and then rode out in search of cows and bulls. Once they had a bunch of them, they either herded them on horseback to the corrals around the barn for worming and sorting, or if they had just a few, they herded them onto the stock trailer and drove them in.

On one occasion, Mikey was practically doing a dance because she was so excited that they were heading out specifically to find her favorite bull Ferdinand. Though Mikey loves this bull with all her heart, he has a history of being dangerous. She said he almost killed Bob once. So, it took the whole crew to get out there and work together to wrangle this bull.

The horses were trailered out, and people took off in different directions on horseback and on foot. I started hiking up a dirt road, remembering the advice I had been given that if a bull charges me, I should either climb a tree or run around a bush and always keep the bush between me and the bull. I hadn't gone far when I saw Bob heading back toward me on horseback coming fast, and I guessed that Ferdinand was probably in front of his horse. I couldn't tell if they were going to come up the road or not, so I got up to high ground off the road and stationed myself behind a bush. I could hear a lot of yelling, but couldn't tell what people were saying. I just sensed the urgency of the situation, so I started taking pictures of anything that moved.

Unfortunately, I didn't have my telephoto lens attached, so I had to crop and blow up the photos I took, which lessens their quality. I also was not in the best position to capture the amazing event that took place.

Mikey can tell the story better than I can, and I'm sure she's including it in her book, but I'll tell you what I saw from the top of the hill. I saw Bob and Wade on horseback staying at a distance from the bull. I saw Mercy run through the wash over to Donna, and the two of them stayed close to the car away from the stock trailer. I think they were even sitting on the hood in case Ferdinand got a little bit crazy and started charging people.

Then I saw Mikey walking backwards with a bucket of grain saying, "Come on! Come on, boy!"

And that bull followed her right up into the stock trailer like a loyal dog.

Once Ferdinand was in the trailer, everyone converged on the trailer quickly to shut the gates and get Mikey out of there.

They closed the center divider and loaded the horses into the trailer behind Ferdinand, and drove everyone back to the ranch.

The guys said that was the easiest time they ever had of catching a bull, and figured no one even needed to be on horseback as long as Mikey was there with her magic touch and a bucket of grain.


Crystal said...

She sure is a character and leads an interesting life!

Mikey said...

Aww, I love it :) I love that bull so much. Something about him I connect with.
I think this moment will stand out in my life as one of the great ones. No one really thought he'd come to grain after being out on pasture for so long, much less walk into a trailer and as you said, he can be onery if he doesn't want to go. He's not one to be pushed around.
I harbor no illusions that he loves me. He'd take me out if I lacked the proper respect he deserves. He's a magnificent creature. (and obviously a sucker for grain)
I'm grateful you were there to catch it, because as they say - pics or it didn't happen. It DID happen!!

fernvalley01 said...

How cool is that!

Paint Girl said...

I love it! I can totally see it all happen like I was there! Thanks for being there and for taking pictures! Wish I could see blue sky like that... I will have to wait a few more months! That is the only thing I will miss about my old job, going to Scottsdale every February!

Debby said...

Mikey is really good with bull.


Kathy said...

I wish Mikey would start blogging again. Do you think there's any chance? Would love to see what Mercy is up to. Is she still riding in dresses?

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

Kathy - I'll make sure my next post includes the pictures I took of Mercy. The camera loves her. I didn't see any dresses on this trip, but plenty of pink and leopard skin. I wish Mikey would start blogging again too, but she wants to put her writing energy into her book. She's also still as busy as ever with plenty of flat tires to change.

Reddunappy said...

Great to see that gang! LOL
And Mikey you are one crazy woman!! LOL

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

I saw this story on Mikey's FB wall...and I was so enamored with her bond with that bull.

Mikey has a true gift, that's for sure.


Laura said...

Neat stuff - I would love to spend a few days on a working ranch. I would totally have no clue about what to do and I would be in the way, but it would be an eye opening experience!

achieve1dream said...