Cattle drives are one of the main reasons guests choose to stay with us here at 1+1 Ranch. While cattle drives are just one of many tasks at our working ranch operation, they’re certainly the most exciting! Come for a working ranch vacation 1+1 Ranch and you’re guaranteed a great day’s horseback riding on one of our cattle drives. While it can mean a pretty early start, getting up at the crack of dawn for a cattle drive is well worth it. There’s nothing quite like saddling your cow horse as the sun rises and heading out to search for cows while the rest of the world is sleeping…
Don’t be fooled – it’s not all glamorous so don’t expect an easy trail ride with the odd bit of hollering and throwing a lasso! First job is to find the cows… not as easy as you might think. Once we’ve found the herd of cattle it’s time to persuade them to quit grazing and move to the next pasture. When you’ve got 200–400 cow/calf pairs to move somewhere they might not yet be familiar with, that’s easier said than done. You’ve gotta be a confident rider to ride your horse up to the cows and direct them where you want to go. Luckily the ranch horses at 1+1 know what they’re doing, so even those who’ve never taken a working ranch vacation or experienced a cattle drive before can get the hang of it pretty quickly.
We can ride for hours at a time, negotiating narrow paths as well as wide open pastures, and even through dense trees and over big sandhills. It takes a lot of concentration and some skilled riding. Should one cow decide to quit he can take the rest of herd with him – so the trick is to keep your eye out for tell-tale signs of a cow that’s about to make a break for it, and make sure you’re ready to ride hard and fast if he does. Luckily, our working cow dogs are pretty dab hands at keeping any strays in check and directing them back toward the herd.
Cattle drives don’t stop for lunch – we’ll normally pack a sandwich and eat while driving the herd. Munching on Tammy’s delicious homemade sandwiches and sipping water from your canteen while manoeuvring your horse and is another cowboy skill you’ll learn on working ranch vacations at 1+1 Ranch!
Riding home from the cattle drive is another great experience. Ride side by side at whatever pace you wish, while taking in the spectacular scenery and recalling the day’s events with the other guests and wranglers.
Tempted by a working ranch vacation? For more information and to book, visit our booking page.