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Dreams are Worth Dreaming, part five

Published: 4/25/2010
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By Kim Stone

[Editor's note: When we last read about Kim's travels, her hosts had told her upon arrival to watch out for mountain lions and rattlesnakes...]

I decided staying in my cabin until daylight was the best option.  I woke up the following morning with a scratchy throat and a pounding headache.  I think the traveling, lack of sleep, excitement had finally caught up with me.  Ignoring all the signs of not feeling well, I was up at 6 am and in the kitchen for breakfast to meet the Davis family.  By 7 am, I was on a horse, going to gather bulls, with a horse named Chewey.   We rode through a sea of sage brush.  
The smell was lovely. The color was soft and welcoming.  
I had absolutely NO idea what I was doing.  
My instructions were as follows:

•    Don’t ride in front of the cow boss
•    Make sure you can see all riders and keep in line with them
•    Don’t get close to two fighting bulls
•    Stay away from the wet areas, you will fall in and disappear

Sounded simple enough, little did I know…Riders scattered in all directions at varying speeds.  Some galloped off, others trotted, some just walked.  I just sat there thinking which direction was I supposed to go in?  
That was my introduction to work at the Alvord.  Since I had no idea what I was doing, the cow boss went a little bit easy on me (although he seemed a little frustrated with the fact that I knew nothing).
I spent the afternoon learning my way around the ranch and the cookhouse.  Breakfast was to be served at 6 AM the following morning.

The next morning, we ran bulls through the shoot for the vet.  The process was fascinating.  Cowboys would gather several into a long corral, push them into the shoot, were they would be vaccinated and tested.  
As each bull was turned out of the shoot, it would be determined what pasture he would be taken to. All was quiet, until an occasional bull would come out of the shoot looking to take out the vet, or the tables with all the gear on it. Then it was every man for himself!
With a lot of laughter along and hard work, the morning flew by.  
After lunch I was instructed to catch Indy.  I was so excited.  I would be riding Indy working with the cattle.  I battled with Indy in the barn, she screeched and stomped and flung herself this way and that while I was trying to saddle her.  
Martin was in the adjoining stall keeping very quiet, until I told him that I wasn’t sure I would be able to bridle her without her trying to get away.  He took over. Martin explained to me that I needed to do whatever was necessary to get her attention focused on me.  
Martin and Indy developed a clear understanding in less than 30 seconds.  The bridle was on and she was standing quietly.  
What kind of magic was this?  
Whatever he had, I wanted some of it.

As I put my foot in my stirrup, Indy’s feet were moving in any direction she could possibly go, I knew better than to continue my momentum of swinging up into the saddle until her feet had stopped.  
I was finally in the saddle.  Indy was moving in every direction accept the one I wanted her to go in; I was a nervous wreck and it showed.  The cow boss made it crystal clear that he didn’t want ‘that horse’ sorting cattle, we would cause a wreck.  
Martin asked me if I would be able to handle Indy, I said yes.  He said, will you be able to handle her no matter what happens? Again, I said yes.  Off we went with the cowboys to sort cattle.  
Indy was ready to move out; I knew the one thing that I couldn’t do was pass the cow boss.  I kept turning Indy in big circles and slowing her down.  She settled and seemed to enjoy watching the cows - from a distance.  
Martin soon came over and said that I needed to go with him to move some cattle. It would be a long ride, since they were several pastures over.  It was good.  We needed to move.  Indy was eager to leave, and leave she did.  
We loped and long-trotted for what seemed like miles.  We reached the cattle.  Martin offered me pointers to keep Indy in the best position to move the cattle together down the fence.
It was fast paced. Indy and I loved it!

The afternoon had been bright and  scorching hot.  A cool breeze accompanied by a cloud cover caught my attention.  However, it wasn’t a cloud cover; it was a wall of sand heading our way.
A sand storm!  
I turned to Martin and asked, so do we keep going?  
He replied, well, I am not sure, I have never seen anything like this before.  We kept riding, soon we were in the middle of this massive sand storm - I turned to Martin and said I feel like I am riding in the movie Hildago!  
On the other side of the sand storm was freezing rain and ice pellets.  I think the temperature had dropped 40 degrees.  Indy and I kept traveling with Martin until we met Jennifer who had come to pick us up with truck and trailer.  
We were soaked!  
Just hours before it had been hot, not a cloud in the sky…that’s the desert, unpredictable.  

View Reader Comments:

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4/27/2010 Donna Mori
As I have said may times to you Kim, you are one gutsy woman,and oh so lucky to have had this experience!! Loved your clinic!! Thanks for doing it!! Donna
4/27/2010 Kathy
Having been at the Alvord twice for short week long clinics I just love reading your "memoirs"... it is such an incredible place!

"The ears never lie" - Don Burt