A Summer Vacation Without Room Service

Rick Haines and his horse Ed
Rick Haines and his horse, Ed.

Rick Haines (Independent Ag Network, Twin Falls, ID) observed, “Most people vacation with room service, but at my camp, horse and cow work is always a welcome diversion!”  In an email from Rick in late July, he said, “I spent the last five days on the Montana side of the Idaho border outside Yellowstone Park in wolf and grizzly country working cattle with Sitz Angus (prominent producers).

We pregnancy checked 1300 cows and vaccinated their calves.” He described it as “Lots of work – gathering, sorting and processing, but what a great time! I took two horses and my dog. We all came home packing less weight and tired.” After a couple days to recoup, he was back on horseback again. In the photo, Rick is riding his all-around horse, Ed (“Special Ed”) that he also calls his “pay window” because of all the money Rick has earned in Team Sorting competition with Ed. About Ed, Rick said, “He is all business around cattle.” Commenting on wildfires, Rick said, “The nearest fire was 10 miles away, but the bad thing is the majority have been man made.”  He explained that intentionally set fires, runaway camp fires and exploding targets for rifle practice all make for sleepless nights.  “The good news is with local ranchers being proactive – we now have numerous local fire districts certified to fight fire on Federal ground. Their response time is usually faster, and they know the terrain – making their participation very important.” Before certification they had to wait until a fire got to deeded land, and by that time, thousands and thousands of acres went up in smoke, he said. “There are still issues with wildfire management that need to be addressed, but land owners at least can now augment the crews – all done through their vision. I am very proud of the effort locally based teams are putting forth!”