In a syncopated series of moves danced to the whinnies of horses, the bawling of calves and the bellows of momma cows, the year’s newborns are vaccinated, ear-tagged, castrated - if they need it - and branded before being turned loose to run back to their mothers. It’s all over in less than two minutes and as soon as one calf is hauled over by the wranglers another is being roped.
The scent of burnt hair, wet earth and manure fills the air, blue smoke from both the branding fires and the branding itself tints the scene. Cowboys - men and women - work in shifts roping the calves and manning the irons. In between they rest with the horses, neighbours catching up with each other after a long winter, families making plans to get together in the future.