Calf Wrangling

  G’Day Mob, here’s an old story from the Braeside vault……………………. 

It started out as a routine muster. I was aboard Desley and Brian was riding Cobey, with Jean and Wag tagging along to provide some bark. We were moving a mob of cattle

(photo John Bowden)

when a calf got separated and was left behind.

As I was tailing the mob I saw the calf’s Mum turn back, swim the river, attempt to climb a steep bank, lose her footing, slide down the slope, crash into the water and then walk away to find an easier crossing. We left cow and calf together and thought nothing of it.

 A couple of days later I decided to ride out on Bandit and maybe move the two of them to the rest of the herd.

Much to my dismay I found the cow dead not far from where I had last seen her, and no sign of the calf. Bandit and I walked up and down the river and across the flats until we saw this little white face in the grass – and he moved – he was still alive. Now I knew what to do next as I have been to rodeos and watched movies.

First of all you gallop your horse alongside the calf, spring out of the saddle, wrestle the calf to the ground, take the rope from between your teeth, tie three legs together, bundle the calf onto the saddle and ride home in triumph.

Here’s what I did…………….

I tied Bandit a respectable distance away and crept up on the calf and caught him quite easily. So far so good. Then I turned him over and wondered what to use for a rope. I stripped off all my layers bar one (hoping no-one was watching) and used my thermal shirt to tie two back legs and one front one. Then I took my big coat, lay it over him and went to get Bandit. Next thing I know there is a blue-coated, shirt-dragging apparition racing around the paddock and a big chestnut horse saying – “if you think that thing’s coming anywhere near me, you’re dreaming”.

So here I am chasing the blue-coated, shirt-dragging apparition (and really hoping no-one was watching) until a rugby tackle that would have made George proud, sees me lying in the dirt with a somewhat stressed calf. This time I tied a better shirt knot and put the coat over his eyes.

As Bandit still wanted no part of the calf, I passed on the romantic saddle idea, and cantered (quite quickly on an ex-racehorse) over to the neighbours who helped rescue the calf, which they then put in their yards. Later Brian took our ute, put the calf in a hessian sack up to his neck and placed him in the front seat with Pep, bought him home and put him in the hayshed.

So that is how Robbie, my first poddy, came to be at the house and he now enjoys slurping milk out of his bucket, spreading calf slobber far & wide and bucking around the paddock like Cobey. I come out of the house and yell “Robbieeee” and am answered with an insistent “mehhhh”. He is gorgeous.

(photo Kath Browne)



2 responses to “Calf Wrangling

  1. kylieatcupcake

    What happened to Robbie, Mandy? Do you still have him? (Better not tell me if something “real” eventuated!)

    • We had quite a lot of poddies that year as it was during the drought and a lot of the cows were doing poorly. I think we sold Robbie and a few of his poddy mates to one of the neighbours who treated their farm as a zoo. They had pet sheep, a tamed “feral” goat, rescued birds, and joeys. So Robbie may still be running around the hills of the Mole River.

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