Cattle Drive at Trail’s End

Trail's End Ranch, AlbertaWhen you live in Calgary, chances are you know a rancher. If you’re lucky, you’ll be invited out for a ride. I’m fortunate enough to be friends with Rachel Herbert, who raises grass fed cattle just south of Nanton, AB, for her poetically named premium beef business, Trail’s End Beef. So when she invited me out to ride savvy Suzy, we had some farm chores to do. And since it was hunting season, Rachel sported a safety-chic orange vest…Trails End Beef… and so did I. I also wore a pair of chaps I hadn’t used in a decade, but my style was more Michelin Man than Wild West, thanks to the need to stay warm.Trail's End RanchOn this particular day, we had a mission. These calves were weaned the week before, so now it was time to move them to the farm for the winter, where Rachel and Ty can keep an eye on them.Trail's End RanchRachel’s hubby and quintessential cowboy Tyler mapped out our moves…Trail's End Ranch… while Suzy and Jet always seemed to know exactly where to be to get the job done.Trail's End RanchBeing in the saddle for hours was easy in this custom-made cutting saddle by Vic Bennett.Trail's End BeefFirst we moved the calves out of their pen, over the hills. My job was to stay in the back and encourage stragglers to get moo-ving. Trail's End RanchThen it was time to take this show on the road! Rachel spent years on the hunter-jumper circuit, but being a cowgirl is in her DNA — she’s a fourth-generation Alberta rancher. Those cows better get moving before Jet decides to give their butts a love bite.Trail's End RanchThe grass on the side of the road was looking mighty delicious to the calves, so I had my herding work cut out for me… but I managed to snap one more photo while we were on the move. Way up ahead, on Turbo the roan, Tyler was ready to stop any cars that came along. Trail's End RanchMission accomplished! But Suzy lingered a little longer, just to let those cows know who is boss.Trail's End RanchRachel works the chute, and without that safety vest we finally get an opportunity to see her flawless cowgirl style, complete with vintage scarf. And those fringed chinks! Those are shorter chaps, for y’all who are not up on cowboy lingo. I didn’t know either.Trail's End RanchIt was a novelty to be on a horse with such a lustrous mane, compared to the ponies I usually ride. Besides the cattle we also caught sight of a moose, loping across the ridge. Not pictured here, but emblazoned in my memory forever.Trail's End RanchRide ‘em cowgirls. Thanks so much for an amazing day, Rachel and Suzy! Blue Besos

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