Friday Flicks: Crash Course ‘Cattle Rancher’

Film critic Amanda Ronan checks out an especially horsey episode of the new BBC series Crash Course, starring Top Gear host Richard Hammond.

From Amanda:

Popular host of BBC’s Top Gear, Richard Hammond, is now traveling across the USA trying out some of our more iconic jobs. During this episode he is learning to be a cattle rancher at the Haynie Cattle Ranch in Roan’s Prairie, Texas.


Richard immediately starts off on the wrong foot with his new boss, TJ Haynie. “9 o’clock?” TJ asks upon Richard’s arrival. “Shoot, work around here starts at daylight.” His second faux pas
occurs just minutes later when he asks TJ how many acres make up the Haynie Cattle Ranch. Apparently, you just don’t ask that question in Texas.

Next up, roping lessons.


TJ explains that roping isn’t just for rodeos. It’s the easiest and most efficient way of handling cattle in the pen or pasture. Skill at roping, as he explains it, can save a cow’s life.

Next up, horseback riding American cowboy style. After a quick discussion about not “catching your tally in your dally,” (which I won’t explain here) Hammond gets in the saddle. With his prior experience riding English, and a few universally applicable tips from TJ like “keep your heels down and sit up straight,” Hammond quickly bonds with his mount and they head out to work the cattle.


First, they handle a case of foot rot on a steer. TJ single-handedly ropes the steer, and with help from his horse, Johnny, gets him down on the ground to medicate the hoof. I was incredibly
impressed by this horse’s ability to do its job while TJ’s focus was on something else entirely.


Hammond’s second day at the ranch, starting at “Oh Lord O’Clock,” is roundup day, where they’ll give vaccinations, tag and castrate all the calves. Hammond takes on vaccinations only after getting a bit queasy during the castrations.


When in Texas… at the end of a hard day… you go shooting. TJ’s dad, Tom, allows Hammond to shoot his Winchester Model 94 lever action rifle while TJ offers up his “six-shooter” revolver.


Next, Hammond gets elbow deep in the cowboy lifestyle… quite literally.


Moving on…

Hammond’s final test as a cowboy is to help TJ break a filly to saddle. The filly has spent the first two years of her life running wild on the ranch.


Will TJ successfully back the horse in one session? You’ll just have to wait and see!

My husband is a die hard fan of Top Gear, so I’m used to Richard Hammond’s style of TV and this was no exception with its mix of fun trivia, excellent cinematography and witty humor. I also
loved that TJ used a very nonviolent approach when working with the filly. And let’s not forget the most important fact of this TV show… two words, cowboy candy.


I give Crash Course “Cattle Rancher” 3 ½ Golden Horseshoes.

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Download this episode of Crash Course here.

For even more Richard Hammond hilarity watch this clip from Top Gear Season 11, Episode 5. I give this 10-minute segment titled “What a Fox” the full 4 Golden Horseshoes.

Go Riding!

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