Publisher: dwinger Volume No. 2 Issue No 46 Date Nov. 25, 03
“Hurry and get your warm clothes on! I will be there in a few minutes! We’ve got cattle out!” I phoned the boys to tell them I was coming to get them to help me. We had let the cattle out on pasture earlier that day, and the weather was changing. They had broken through the fence, and I needed to get them in before the weather got bad. I went and saddled the horses while the boys got ready. The boys weren’t too old at the time (maybe 9 and 10), but they were pretty good help, and an extra horseback rider is usually helpful with a bunch of cattle.
When we got out to the field, sleet had already started to come down. I knew we needed to hurry. If we didn’t get the cattle back to the pens soon they could be many miles from home by the next morning (cattle can walk many miles during snow storm.) We got on our horses and were galloping off to find the cattle. Ryan’s stirrup breaks on his saddle just as we get started. I t0ld him we didn’t have time to fix it and to go back to the pickup and trailer. I hollered for Reid to follow me and off we went. The wind was much colder now, and the sleet was getting heavier.
We were lucky when we caught up with the cattle just a little more than a half-mile from the pens. We got them turned around, but we had to drive them into the wind, and the sleet was turning into snow. It was starting to get real cold now. There is no place colder than on the back of a horse. You are completely exposed to all the elements and the wind can bite through you and chill you to the bone. As we were driving the cattle back into the wind, Reid started to cry. I encouraged him that everything would be ok and to just keep driving the cattle. The wind and snow were starting to hurt now, and he told me he didn’t know if he could make it. I imagine it was the first time he had experienced any real cold and pain. I could tell he was becoming afraid. I rode my horse up next to his and we both turned away from the wind. I reached over and put my arm around him and started to pray. We prayed for the strength and courage to make it back to the pens and the pickup. We had warmed up a little and turned to finish taking the cattle back to the pens. I don’t know if we had to turn our back to the wind a few more times or not before we got the cattle back to their home, but we did make it.
The boys learned a valuable lesson from that day. When we go to move cattle in the cold they usually go over dressed and prepared for the worst. We were moving cattle last week, and the day was colder than we had been used to. Reid reminded me of that cold day. He hasn’t forgotten and neither have I.
We all can get caught in a storm, and when Reid does I pray that he doesn’t forget where to go for the strength and the courage and faith to ride it out.