ouchy ouch its been a long two days. yesterday we headed off to a station 1 hour down the road with around 12 horses to do our first mustering job. it was completely different to how i imagined it to be with so many mountains and trees to dodge and so many places for the cattle to hide... so completely differento to the picture the film Australia paints of cattle mustering in the outback! so the morning was spent rounding up the cattle from one huuuugeeee paddock and walking them up to one of the holding pens ready for the afternoons job of rounding up more cattle before walking them up to another pen where they would stay the night. i was on my trusty little horse called Virtue who seems to be the horse i always end up riding although she is a little sweetheart. there were a few angry cows so i stayed well out of the way because it seemed that the cows werent afraid to stand up to the horses when they had been wound up enough..scary times!!! it was a long day in the saddle and my bum was definately numb by the time we dismounted in the early evening. all that was left to do was to catch a few of the calves and carry them to the truck as they couldnt keep up with the bigger cows. poor little things.. we had to jump on them and then tie a belt around their legs and carry them by their ears and feet to the truck a good 20m away through the undergrowth. and bear in mind some of them look like Dumbo with their massive ears everything in my moral compass was telling me not to do it. poor little things!!! an early night was due and we all callapsed exhausted by about half 8!
this morning we all woke up expecting not to be able to walk after our days ride yesterday but we all felt fine which was fairly amazing considering the aches and pains we have all had the last few mornings. so bursting with energy we set off back to the manumba cattle station to complete the yard work with the cows we mustered yesterday. on arrival we spent the whole morning chasing cows around to seperate off the untagged calves from the rest of the herd and then came the difficult bit. i was given the gate through which they shoved the pregnant cows through wothout letting the rest of the cows and calves pass through. prolem was was that as the cows came out of the holding pen into this small circular area they came straight at me and i had to chase them round to the dipping lane whilst attemptng to seperate off the cows while justin (the trainer guy) was yelling at me to open the gate.. no close the gate.. and open.. close close close. suddenly i had cows surrounding me so i had to escape up the fence as quick as possile. one such occasion didnt go so well and an already angry cow came charging past me swinging at me with her head, i dont have time to get up the fence so had to dodge and ended up receiving a kick in the leg.. it didnt hurt but i was crazy lucky to have got away with it considering the damage they can do.. needless to say i spent as lot of time up the fence after that!!!
finally 200 cows later we were ready to start the more interesting task of sorting out the untagged calves. this involved shoving them through a crush to the waiting cage at the end where they were trapped, flipped straight onto their sides and had numerous painful procedures carried out on them. poor things had phillip working on one end castrating and branding the calves whilst throwing testicles at anyone within a reachable distance, whilst francis dealt with the ear tags, ear notches, injections, and cutting the horns out of the head with a dehorning knife. that was definately one of the most brutal things i have ever seen, maye even worse than the castration!! job done it was time to walk all the cows back miles up the road to the paddock from which they had come, and cows being cows they didnt want to walk straight down the road nicely so we could sit in the ute and watch. no. they were all in the undergrowth at the side of the road so i had to get out and jungle trek through to chase the cows down the road side. at one point a saw a snake skin as well and decided i was happy that the cows had just walked through the grass and hopefully scared any of the snakes well away!! the poor little young calves struggled to keep up so another poor little dumbo had to be caught and have his legs tied up to receive a lift in the back of the ute all the way to the field. jammy w***!!
job done we made our way back to justins to unload the horses and finish off a few jobs before making our way home to enjoy the friday night bbq on the veranda. overall it has been a brilliant week even though it has been constant hard work and we are all exhausted i will be sad to leave springbrook farm and all the people i have met whilst i have been here. thankyou georgie and dan for looking after us all (now i know you can read this blog =) )
so tomorrow we move onto our actual job placements and it should be good fun, i just have a 10 hour train journey to get through first... silly australian travel options!!! better go pack my bag as we leave in the moring! xxx