Decoding Cowboy Talk

I moved to Montana from California, and even though I had a decent understanding of livestock I was not entirely prepared for life on a large rural ranch in Montana. However, I jumped in head first and picked up a basic understand of “cowboy ranch talk” here is my top 5 lessons learned at Hollenbeck Ranch.

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1. When they say, “It should only take 1 hour” what that actually means is “we are going to attempt something that should only take an hour, but it won’t, it will take at least 3 hours and while doing that chore we will suddenly find another chore that we must finish”

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Lesson learned from this: 1 hour = 4 ranch hours minimum

2. “We only got a couple inches of snow” what that actually means is you have hypothermia and you cannot see the barn from the house because there is at least 3 feet of snow and everything is buried under white.

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Lesson learned from this: couple inches = couple feet

3. “That horse should be fine to ride” what that actually means is “we don’t think that one has bucked anyone off in a few months”

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Lesson learned from this: if you are not an expert horseman, abort mission, DO NOT RIDE THAT HORSE

4. “I should be in by dinner” what that actually means is “I have no idea what time I will be in but I will be hungry”

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Lesson learned from this: don’t wait to eat, save a plate and keep it warm or be prepared to eat dinner at 10pm, AND NEVER put a quality steak on the grill until your sig fig has walked through the door.

5. “you can leave that gate open” what that actually means is “I’ll forget I told you to leave that gate open and then I will yell at you later when livestock gets out through said gate”

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Lesson learned from this: get double confirmation when leaving a gate open and if you’re unsure ALWAYS SHUT THE GATE!


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