Monday, June 12, 2017

I Want To Be A Cowboy

Have you ever thought of working on a ranch with horses and cattle?

A cowboy/cowgirl handles mostly cattle or cows, with similar duties as a wrangler.
A person who works mostly with horses is called a 'wrangler.' Here are some of the responsibilities of a wrangler or a cowgirl/cowboy:
  • Examinations for health purposes
  • Vaccinations
  • Feeding
  • Branding
  • Training
  • Keeping their stalls clean/mucking out
  • Transporting them by horse trailer
  • Grooming
  • Shoeing (horses)
  • Assisting in foaling with horses (birthing), or calving with cows
  • Wranglers sometimes find work in motion pictures and television when horses are needed
  • Machinery repair
  • You may be driving a pickup truck a fair amount of the time as well.

                                                                 Shoeing a horse

                                                           Wranglers often have dogs to help them herd cattle.

                                                    *****History lesson*******

After the Ice Age, horses and their relatives were largely extinct in what is now North America. The Spanish brought horses with them in the 16th century, and the horses thrived and reproduced throughout the country. Spanish 'cowboys' are called Vaqueros.  Cattle were largely wild, and the horses were captured and tamed to help herd the cows in groups for ownership by ranchers.

Cowboys were literally once boys: they started helping with horse and cow management at the age of 12 or 13. We have since learned that a grown adult is much better at handling and managing these large and heavy animals.

Did you know that a saddle weighs between 20 and 30 pounds, and a horse from 1,000 to 2,000 pounds?

This is not a job for someone who knows nothing about horses!

Keep in mind also that being a cowboy, cowgirl, wrangler, or ranch hand is physically demanding work that you will do outside 99% of the time (the other 1% may be taken up bandaging blisters and applying ice packs!)
There is a great deal of heavy lifting, with the possibility of back injuries.
You may fall or be thrown off the horse, be kicked by the horse, or bitten by the horse, as well as sprains and pulled muscles: you are trying to manage an animal that weighs close to a ton.
When you are not on a horse you will be on your feet.

You will not get days off because the weather is bad, and animals need maintenance 24/7, 365 days a year.
You will be dirty most of the time, and tired as well.

You will probably find that other people working at the same ranch aren't terribly social: They prefer the horses' company to humans. If you are also like that, you'll fit right in.

Another way to become involved with horses or other farm/ranch animals is to become a veterinarian or vet tech specializing in equines or farm animals.

If you want to own a ranch instead of only working on one, what skills would you need?

  • Business set-up skills
  • Goal Setting
  • Marketing--how do you let people know about your business?
  • Accounting--managing your money
  • Managing your supplies
  • Managing your animals
  • Managing your employees
  • Meeting any government requirements
  • Maintaining your land and equipment
  • Relationships with other businesses and the local Chamber of Commerce
  • Will you want a website for your ranch? Who will design and maintain it?

Most ranches are in the western or southern states of the U.S. such as Texas, Oklahoma, Wyoming, Colorado, etc. You would probably need to move to one of these states to find work on a ranch.

How can you see if this is a job you would like?

Try visiting a dude ranch:

Attend a cattle auction, here are some in Minnesota:

To get a feel for the way cattle and horses are handled,
Attend rodeo school:

Here are rodeos in Minnesota:


Cowboys at work:

Here's a man who has learned the power of massage for horses: 

And a YouTube video:

Ready to saddle up?

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