Above, you see a picture of Cora, 8-year-old daughter of horse guru Cam Schryver, talking to Duke Beardsley, western artist and auxiliary Duke. I haven’t asked either Beardsley or Cora exactly what wisdom she is sharing here, but I imagine it to be either some sage advice or probing question.
Earlier that day, Cora and I were riding near each other to gather the herd to a corner for branding. At one point, she moseys over. Though her legs are only about halfway down her mare’s belly, the two of them are entirely convinced that she’s capable and in charge. She looks at me and says, “Now let me just tell you one thing. If there’s a cow without her calf, and she doesn’t want to come with us, we shouldn’t push her. We should just leave her there instead of fighting with her.”
She is, of course, completely right. And though I didn’t recall having made such an error, I have a suspicion that I must have. And if I did, she corrected me without being condescending, which I always appreciate.
Reports have reached me that she later asked about our cattle terminology. We have a couple different types of cow on the ranch, the Beefmasters and the commercial herd, which is a conglomeration of different types of cattle that have been picked up over the years and bred with our Beefmaster bulls. That second group is slowly homogenizing into the Beefmasters with each generation, but for now they are generically called “commercial”.
Cora hadn’t encountered this term before, so she came up to Lizzie on our second branding day, brow furrowed, and asked, “Why are they called commercial? Are you going to take them to be on the radio or something?” Great question, Cora. I see your logic there.
Lizzie explained the distinction with a decidedly straight face, and Cora rode off again, a bit closer to possessing a complete understanding of cattle work and horsemanship by the time she reaches double digits