The first task at hand after breakfast was to learn how to ride a horse. I had already gone horseback riding both the American cowboy way and the gaucho way so I was good to go. There were some differences however in several things such as riding styles. The one difference that is easily recognizable that the bit (the part the horse is biting down on) is completely different allowing the gaucho to ride just using one hand whereas the American style requires the use of both hands especially to stop. I already understood this part but for everyone else, this was a big step in learning how to ride particularly for first-timers. Once everyone was saddled up, we all started riding around the pastures to get accustomed to the riding which for some would be their first time on a horse.
After getting in riding time and lunch, we made our way back out onto the fields in order to find the sheep flock.
The purpose of finding the sheep was to get them herded up since they were separated in different groups and then they get “drowned” meaning that would get a tube quickly inserted into their mouths and then injected medication so they don’t get worms growing in their bodies particularly their intestines. This vaccination would be a way to protect the animals which the gauchos view them as their investment, source of income, and way of life.
Getting those little buggers into the pens initially took some time but like all herd animals, they tend to think like a group and move like a group. Very seldom as individuals as the group setting gives them protection in numbers especially in the face of predators. Ever heard the term, “sheeple?” Yep, people are the same way. Have to look the same, do things the same all together. Individuality is highly discouraged. Once rounded up, we escorted all of them back to the ranch house where there was a holding pen for them. In order to keep accurate counts of how many sheep they have, we had to push the sheep in one small group at a time instead of trying to do the entire group by using the holding pens and fences and gates to our advantage.
Besides, we were doing the “drowning” as a favor to the animals. Sure, it took what would seem like an eternity for these animals as we had a “factory line” system set up for them – get some in the pens, grab them, inject them, mark them as being vaccinated, release them into another pen, and do it all over again until completion. It was a lot of work. Teamwork was a definite must because several times we failed miserably until we got it right by sending waves of them at a time.
After confirmation of numbers and all were vaccinated, we jumped back on the horses to escort the sheep back to the pastures so they can go back to living the free-roam life.
After all that work, I was hungry! And it was going to be good cooking as the ingredients would be fresh and the food was homemade! And what was for dinner? Beef stew! I not only went up to eat it twice but three servings of it! It was just too good to pass up!