Today was probably the best last day I could have had. Melissa and I got the horses in and were riding by 10:30am. We rode for a half hour and worked on our roping while horseback. I must say, it is a lot different roping from horseback than it is on the ground. But it definitely was a lot of fun.
After having some sandwiches (along with cake and ice cream), we got back on our horses and rode out to the pasture. I was on Banjo while Jenn was on Dino and Melissa was on Gump. We went out to the pasture that had the yearling replacement heifers and worked with them. We herded them up to the flat corner of the pasture and held them there. We cut some of them out of the herd one at a time and worked on keeping them out of the herd. Banjo had some good turns and we were able to keep the cows out for a period of time.
Once we got comfortable with that, we all pulled out our ropes and threw quite a few shots. Melissa and I had breakaway hondas on our ropes, which simply means that once you catch a cow and the rope gets tight, it breaks apart so the cow can get away. After about two hours of several throws, some more careless than others, and a few cows almost caught, I finally caught my first cow. I threw a headshot, dallied, and the cow happened to go the right way for the rope to tighten and the honda to break. I ended on that one.
After returning from our big adventure, we all got ready to go to Bob's Steakhouse one last time during my stay. It was one last hoorah before I leave SD tomorrow.
Now as I sit here, all packed up, I've been reflecting on what a once in a lifetime opportunity and experience I've had here at The DX Ranch. The people and horses I've met in the last six weeks have taught me more things than I had ever thought I would learn in such a short amount of time. Everything I've learned here has changed the way I look at horses, myself, and life as a whole, all for the better. I can't wait until I can use everything I've learned on horses that have not been started this way and see the change within them.
As this is my last blog post for my summer at The DX Ranch, I just want to thank Zach and Jenn, along with everyone else here at the ranch, who have helped me and encouraged me to learn this new way of living with horses. I also want to thank Melissa for putting up with me 24/7 and being an amazing friend these last few weeks. I want to thank my parents, family, and friends for supporting me on this journey and for allowing me to leave their side for so long. And finally, a thank you to all the horses I've ridden and handled in the last six weeks for showing me that the magic of change really is real.
So here's to a bright future filled with the love and knowledge I've gained here at the ranch.