Rode Hard and Put up Wet

By Patty Wilber

Horse care after hard riding in cold weather. That was the blog plan anyway.

But then I went to the ranch last weekend, and it rained while we rode the horses in.

My slicker worked!

It rained over night.  It rained while we gathered  heifer 48, the sick orphan, and the four mama cows with the littlest calves whom we needed to truck,  rather than walk down the mountain.

Mama Blue 14, in the trailer with a snack of alfalfa

It rained enough that we put chains on all four tires of the 4-Wheel Drive truck we used for hauling the load of bovines off the western side.

Putting chains on in the mud.

It rained enough that we were worried the cattle pot (a semi truck) could not get into the pens down at the bottom of the hill on the eastern side.

It rained on the way out, two riders, and NO COWS.  Left the majority at the ranch and we are heading out this week to try again. I am gone as you read this.

A view on the way down. Still raining

So, maybe the title should’ve been be “Rode Wet”? 

Or maybe it should’ve  been “48”.   48 had brisket (high altitude respiratory edema) and probably pneumonia. She is not out of the woods yet and could still kick off, which would be rather distressing…because…

48 in the trailer. You can see her ear tag and the back of her head.

Well, I’ll tell you. (I guess this is her somewhat less than 15 minutes of fame…)

48 is a twin and and her womb-mate, Little 24 (distinguishable from Big 24 by the relative sizes of the ear tags), was the one mom wanted.  48 was abandoned.  We brought her in from the farm where she was born with in a few days, along with two likely substitute moms.

Both let her nurse some, but neither truly accepted her.  She took to nursing from behind when the “real” calves nursed from the side. She took the opportunities to eat when they were there.

About a week later, she got snake bit.

Her whole head swelled up and her eyes puffed into slits.  She had no Mom to care about her.

I took Penny and went to check the cows one day.  48 was all alone in a field 1/2 a mile or more from the herd, and I kid you not, the coyotes were circling.

Pushed her back to the herd.  She couldn’t really see where she was going but she could hear us and apparently didn’t wish to be caught, so we zigzagged her back to the bunch.  The cows didn’t seem to care, either way.

She was small but she survived.

We moved her to the high country in June with the rest, and she walked the whole way in.  She continued her vagabond sneak nursing.  I do not know how many moms she’s borrowed from, definitely more than three. She grew to be one of the bigger calves!

Then this, just one week before moving off the mountain!

She has received two doses of penicillin and seems to be improving.  Good thing, because if she’d died at the ranch (and I do have the “just died” picture but it was a little gruesome), in less than 10 days, this is all that would be left.

Scavengers waste no time. This is less than 10 days after death.. Cue music for Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom. A time lapse camera would have been cool. Bears? Lions? Foxes? Bobcat?

Hold on 48!

About BlogPatty

Here's the skinny: I have a thing for horses. They make sense to me. I have a small horse training business (it's a "boutique" training business, not because it's super fancy, but because the horses get a lot of personal attention). I also go by Dr. Wilber, and teach biology full-time at a Central New Mexico Community college.
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