Richard previously revealed that the job of a cowboy is the one American occupation that he finds intriguing. And we watched him get a little teaser of one side of the fence when he gave American bullfighting a try earlier this season.
Last night, he got to experience the real deal, as the Hamster was back in Texas to try his hand at becoming a real-life buckaroo. So lots of roping, riding and mucking the stalls, y’all.
In Roan’s Prairie, Texas at the Haynie Cattle Ranch, Richard met up with TJ Haynie, who was in charge of teaching Richard how to wrangle cattle, vaccinate baby calves and break wild horses. But before Richard got his boots properly dusted, TJ provided him some true cowboy duds… but no hat, as that’s something Richard would have to earn. A baseball cap would have to do for now.
His first job of the day was to master the art of roping. Before a cattle rancher can issue any vaccinations to an animal, he must first learn how to safely catch ‘em. So Richard stepped right up to lasso a plastic steer. And after a few tries, a cowboy in the making was starting to emerge.
Next, the Hamster met “Johnny” the horse for a quick riding warm-up, and soon enough he and TJ were off on the range to gather some cattle, with Richard switching over to a calmer horse named “Bill.”
A cattle ranch depends on selling their cattle to stay financially stable, so keeping their herds healthy is a must. Richard and TJ came across a steer with a case of “foot rot” – an infection caused by a cut in the hoof. If it’s not treated quickly and appropriately, it could potentially spread across the herd, thus destroying a ranch hand’s year-long work. So Richard observed a swift TJ work his magic in catching the hefty fella, and from there, the cattle was administered the antibiotic it so desperately needed.
But the darn cowboy hat was still on Richard’s mind… and TJ took the eager Brit to Catalena Hatters to learn a little bit more about the style and history of this iconic piece of American headwear. He was also treated to the shaping of his very own hat, complete with a curved brim thanks to the art of steaming, which softens the hat and waterproofs it. Richard was officially ready to go!
During Day 2, Richard synced up with seven other ranch hands at the Haynie Ranch — including TJ’s father, Tom, and Clint Hopping, who you should recognize from episode 3–for some real cattle ranching a.k.a. vaccinating, tagging and castrating the cows. The latter is a very important and necessary part of the job because it controls aggression, keeps over-breeding in check. Plus, it leads to a better quality meat.
A queasy-looking Richard was responsible for vaccinating some of these calves. He also tried taming or “throwing” a baby calf so that it could be vaccinated and tagged. He wasn’t a fan of this particular portion, but he was a total sport. “It’s hard, isn’t it–this cowboy thing.” Richard exclaimed.
Next, Richard joined Tom and TJ for some good old-fashioned gun slinging … er, target practice. Just a little fun shooting at some bottles.
Richard’s next task was to, um, muck the stall belonging to a baby colt. Not exactly the 4th of July celebration he was expecting, but again, being a cowboy is hard work.
Eventually, he and a handful of ranch hands enjoyed some grilled sirloin and other holiday trimmings like sourdough rolls, cowboy potatoes and homemade peach cobbler. Talk about a tasty reward!
The day’s work was far from over, as it was time to um, palpate some cattle. This little exercise is where one checks a female cow’s reproductive system. From there, the ranch is able to project how many calves they’ll have in the future. Richard handled the task with as much grace as one could when going up a cow with a plastic glove, and Tom and TJ were impressed. For a glimpse of what Richard went through, check out this clip.
For his final lesson, Richard reacquainted himself with “Johnny” so that he and TJ could break some wild horses. The term “breaking” describes putting a “young horse on the path to becoming a high performance work partner.” Once gathered in the corral, Richard and TJ observed the horses’ behavior as these rebellious creatures got used to their presence. These wild horses have never been alone, as they’ve grown up in packs their entire lives. TJ lassoed one tan-colored horse into its own corral to introduce her to a new space, win her trust, and get her accustomed to a saddle. Breaking horses is an art that takes incredible patience and quite some time.
At the end, he and TJ had a bit of a bromance and Hamster reflected on his time spent at Haynie Ranch with much admiration and respect. To reward his efforts, TJ bestowed this British cowboy with his very own shiny belt buckle. Yee-haw!