Latigo Ranch, day two, cattle drive

On our second day at Latigo Ranch we awoke to brilliant blue skies and after a hearty made-to-order breakfast we headed to the barn. This was a big day for the guests of Latigo because our riding skill and mettle would be tested. It was cattle drive day.

I’ll admit that I was shaking in my cowboy boots, but the wranglers assured me that each rider could go at their own pace. We headed out to find the cows, a small herd from a nearby ranch with a stubborn bull that would be a thorn in our side for the rest of the morning.

Before moving the cows back to the barn, we each took turns practicing how to cut a cow from the herd. Ryan was a natural at this, cutting a cow in record time.

Cow Cutting and Cattle Drive at Latigo Ranch.
Ryan picks the cow he wants to cut from the herd.
Latigo Ranch. Cow cutting and cattle drive.
And he’s got one!

I didn’t really want to cut any cows from the herd. After all, they looked perfectly happy where they were, but I’m competitive and there was peer pressure, so I decided I had to give it a try. I managed to cut one cow with her calf, but then another followed and another. Eventually I had cut out a small herd. The wranglers gave me a thumbs up, but I think technically I failed Cow Cutting 101.

Once we’d all attempting cutting, our next goal was to drive the cattle up to the ranch, a process that went rather slowly because the big black bull continually tried to turn his ladies and their calves back towards the pasture.

Of course, this made the adventure all that more exciting for those who wanted to practice their horsemanship skills. While Lady and I hung out of at the back of the herd, Ian and Jo, who’d been at Latigo all week, spent much of the ride in the trees working to keep bring straying cows back to the herd.

Latigo Ranch. Road through the aspens.
I didn’t get a photo during the cattle drive, but this is the road we drove them down.

Back at the ranch, tired and dusty, Ryan and I took a late morning dip in the hot tub and pool while hummingbird jetted over our heads; I’m sure real cowboys would have been jealous of our luxurious break from “working” on the ranch.

After another delicious lunch of sandwiches with all the fixings accompanied by stories about our morning cattle drive, we headed back to the barn for an afternoon of cow penning lessons and competition. I sat this one out since I was super sore from our morning ranch “work.”

Playing cowgirl at Latigo Ranch.
Rooting on the cow penning teams.
Cattle penning at Latigo Ranch.
They got one!

It was fun to be a spectator, however, because ranch guests paired up on teams and competed to see which team could cut and “pen” a cow the fastest. The Latigo Hefers, an all-female team, won, while Ryan’s team, the Riders of Rohan came in second.

Finally it was time for our special cook-out dinner. We all clamored in the ranch’s covered wagon for the quick ride to a glen filled with aspens and the smell of grilled meat. There was steak and swordfish, watermelon, baked beans, a summer salad of tomatoes and strawberries (weird, but it was really good), potato salad and more.

Riding to dinner at Latigo Ranch in a covered wagon.
Riding to dinner at Latigo Ranch in a covered wagon.

dinner in the woods at Latigo Ranch.

Dining under the trees at Latigo Ranch with all of our new friends was an evening I won’t ever forget.

This is the second post in a three-part series about Latigo Ranch located in Kremmling, Colorado.

Read my pre-series post, “Six reasons to love Latigo.”

Read part one, “Latigo Ranch, a Colorado dude ranch, part one.”

 Thank you to Latigo Ranch for hosting us on this trip.

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