Sunday, February 26, 2012

Cattle Ranch Sleigh

Much of the ranch work in the Bear Lake Valley is still done with horse-drawn equipment.

I visited the Hulme Ranch to photograph cows being fed from horse-drawn sleighs.  Chad Hulme drove one of the two sleighs.

The sleighs are used in winter to travel over snow and ice.

A farm dog, Mollie, watches Chad bring in his sleigh for a load of hay bales.

It was a gorgeous morning with no wind and temperatures in the twenties. Perfect for photography.

Jon Peterson drove the second sleigh.

I hitched a ride and was amazed at how well the horses were trained.  Jon could tie the reins to the post in the foreground and control the horses with verbal commands.  Photography was fairly difficult because of the lack of room on the sleigh and a rough ride on the frozen ground.
The big hay bales are sliced into slabs 6 or 8 inches thick by the baler before they are tied into blocks.  When the sleigh gets to the cows the twine is cut and slabs of hay are pushed off to form a long line of feed.

Mollie loves being with John on the sleigh and keeps a really close eye on the cows.  My thanks go to Jim Parker for inviting me on this shoot, Chad Hulme for letting me photograph work on his ranch, and Jon Peterson for putting up with us photographers.

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