Our Ranch This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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     Working on our ranch is a full-time job, most of the time you’re on call 24-hours a day, seven days a week. From March until the end of June you don’t know if you’ll sleep through the night or be shaken awake by parents who need your help to save a foal or calf that’s having trouble coming into this world.

The farm comes to life in spring, when we start hourly checks every night of all the mares, and each day mares arrive for breeding with our quarter horse stallions. After school I clean stalls, help my parents handle the mares for breeding, and move the animals out to the pastures. We also spend time working with the foals before they are turned out for the summer with their dams. Foaling is hard work, and a matter of life and death, so you have to stay strong. Breeding season brings challenges and lots of trips by the veterinarian, who gives mares ultrasounds to check for pregnancy. I like to work with the veterinarian and am thinking about this as a career.

Irrigating season begins in May, and each day I spend two hours with a shovel changing the water dams to water each field. When school is finally out we start haying and I spend days driving the swather to cut hay or the tractor to rake it into rows for baling. We also begin training the two- and three-year-old colts. My sister usually puts the first rides on them and then we all pitch in to get them going under saddle.

In the summer I make extra money helping at other ranches doing everything from branding and vaccinating calves to running the cows through the chutes and pregnancy checking.

Fall means we head back to school, which also means football for me. Since practice and games take up time, I get to lay off most of the ranch chores for a bit!

We wean all the foals and calves in October and then halter break the colts, as well as hunt for elk and deer to fill the freezer for winter. Our family loves the wilderness and if we take time from the farm, we head to the mountains for camping, horseback riding, hunting and fishing.

In the winter things slow down, but basketball season keeps me busy. The snow in Idaho means lots of shoveling. Hauling hay for winter feeding is also a weekend job.

Life on the farm is fun. We spend a lot of time outside with our family, and while it is a lot of hard work, I don’t think I would trade it for any other life.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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