When the wind is blowing snow into your face so hard it's impossible to see, I'm grateful to be checking cows from behind the windshield and windshield wiper of the ranger.
When the steps will be many and the work tedious, I'm grateful to be working cows horseback.
We grew up with both. Well back in the day we had 4-wheelers and before that 3-wheelers, that I don't remember much. The horses we rode as kids were pleasure horses. We'd use them occasionally on cows, but they weren't cowy at all. Actually, the paint horse I grew up on is still at the farm, he's retired now, but still there. We spent many summer days learning together.
Today, our main string consists of 5 UTVs with cabs and heat then 4 with no cabs perfect for summer and a couple 4 wheelers. For horses, we've only got a couple ready to work, one in retirement and a resident pony.
We are in them steady through calving, quite literally steady, and it works great for us. The cab keeps us warm, plus we have a warm place for calves if they need to be moved. We can use the box to tag calves safely off the ground and being able to listen to music sure keeps morale up!
When it comes time to gather in pastures, we grab the UTVs too. They are quick, can be driven to each pasture, and keep us out of the wind.
Fixing fence? Use a ranger.
Projects in the yard? Use the rangers.
Doctoring calves? Using a ranger.
Honestly, it's simply been easier and faster to grab a ranger than saddle a horse. Plus when we're done, rangers don't mind being rode hard and put away wet. Not to mention, it's the best option for packing along kids. They have places to put snacks, I can take all three, and it's safer for them. Plus when I have to get out, they can stay in the cab safely.
Horses have yet to be replaced in the mud. There is nothing better than a horse ready to go to work on some cattle. A horse that picks its way through safely and enjoys his job of working.
I'll also sit a horse all day before I run myself for the day. Laugh all you want, the steps get long, and these legs are short. Big days, such as sorting to go to grass or weaning, I am happy to grab a horse. Not to mention, cutting into a group of cows on top a horse works much slicker than on foot. This horse right here, Sorrely, is a beast! He is like sitting on the gas pedal. I've never asked him to go. He is the energizer bunny and ready to work all day, every day. Which has been such a change for me because the paint I grew up on is the complete opposite. He is like sitting on the break and you ask him to get going. All. The. Time. Sorrely is a dream to ride for working cows! My brother, Corey, rode him at the sale barn and I often feel like we aren't giving him his best life now that he isn't working every day like he used to.
Cattle work can be tedious. Grateful to have the tools we need for every situation whether that be horses or rangers.