Wrangle Girls

On most ranches, wrangling the cavvy is a chore. Cowboys can earn more wrangle duties by having a messy stall, being late to the barn in the morning, or losing a game of “Out” on the roping dummy. When I worked for the Van Norman ranch, wrangling could take the better part of an hour; the horse pasture was about six square miles, with hills and draws to hide the cavvy. We weren’t above dropping someone off at the far end of the wrangle pasture on our trailer ride home from the morning circle to wrangle. It was a long dang trip back with the cavvy, might as well save your saddle horse a few steps on the way out to find them, anyway.

Here at the Rancho de Single Rig (aka the Alvord Ranch), the cavvy lives a mere quarter-mile from our house as the crow flies. As the crow walks down the road and through the gates, it’s about a mile-long trip. To get out of the house and mix it up, Grace and I wrangle for the crew whenever they need an afternoon wrangle. If they want ’em in before first light, they’re on their own, but we help them get a second circle started.

Here’s Grace on the wrangle horse. I know it ain’t very punchy to wrangle on a four-wheeler, but come on, you know you’ve done it, too. IMG_4873

Now if only she could reach the clutch, I could go in the house and drink a gin and tonic while she brought in the cavvy. Maybe next year.


Once I hop on behind Grace to steer and shift, we drive through the corral, down the lane, through the gate, turn right, and go past the water trough. The horses are kind enough to share a sip with the wild birds.


I love the wild roses that grow wild out on the desert and in the meadows. They’re wild. And I love them. Did I mention that?


A doe was crossing the dry creek bed right before we did. I love seeing wildlife when I’m wrangling!


I also love seeing horses when I’m wrangling. It’s kinda the whole purpose.


Beyond the lush, irrigated meadows/native swampland is a huge dry lake bed. I think it’s all beautiful.


Enough of this rubber neckin’, back to work. Get to the corrals, you horses! Notice how fast they’re not going? That’s what happens when the wrangler won’t shift out of second gear because she doesn’t want to jostle the baby too much and stops every 50 yards to take a picture.


We made it through the creek to the dry pasture…


…where they stopped to take a drink. And I let them. Because I’m a softie like that. This is the desert, man. Critters gotta drink.


Here they are going up the lane to the barn. Hey, guys, what’s with the lady with the camera? I’m not really sure this is my best side. Am I swishing my tail in an attractive manner? Does this brand make my butt look big? I hope there’s not a burr in my forelock. I hate when there’s a burr in my forelock! Just don’t look back.


The hardest part of wrangling is closing the gate. I think it’s some kind of law, or maybe written into the ranch mortgage or passed down in the predecessor’s will, that the gates in the corrals SHALL NOT SWING ON HINGES. THEY MUST REST ON THE GROUND AND BE PICKED UP ONLY WITH GREAT EFFORT, SWEATING AND HARDSHIP FOR THE PURPOSES OF BEING OPENED OR CLOSED. IF ANY PERSON SHALL CAUSE A GATE TO SWING FREELY BY ITS HINGES IN OR AROUND A WORKING CORRAL AREA, THAT PERSON SHALL BE DECLARED NOT A COWBOY. Clearly, he is a mechanic, possibly an engineer of some kind.


Nothing like an invigorating roll in the dirt pile. The horses love this dirt pile. So does my daughter. I’m neutral on the subject.


Elizabeth Davis was kind enough to get the gate for us wrangle girls. She’s cool like that. We like her.


Well, this ends our wrangling adventure. Once the caballos are in the coralles (that’s technical Mexicowboy for you gringros and gringals), our job is done, and back to the shady yard we go. Have fun in the sun on horseback, Davis kids and honey bunny/Daddy-o!

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