The Gathering, or Why It Is Good to Be an Early Riser

Photos like this make me wonder what is so great about paying the mortgage and corporate success: a clear, cold morning, your breath steaming in front of you, the saddle leather creaking until it warms up, and the Dreamsicle colors of a Montana sunrise. Timely mortgage payments and good credit scores have nothing on waking up to a morning like this.

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Gathering Cattle in the Wee Hours        photo credit Abbie Skelton

Vet clinics do a lot of cattle work this time of year, mostly preg checking and Bangs vaccinations. And while that work is good work, by the time veterinarians and vet techs alike get to the ranch, the cattle are gathered and ready to go into corrals. They miss the meditative aspects of morning rides, the welcome warmth of the horse beneath you, the quiet joy of getting everyone moving in the right direction. While I have no doubt that they’re glad to be headed back at the end of the day, I hope that they get to see this side of their work, too.

Abbie Skelton took this photo while gathering cows up near her ranch in Stanford, Montana. She and her trusty steed Pinto Bean were smart enough to know a good morning when they saw it. I sure hope they help us to see more of their world through their eyes.

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