After thinking about this addiction thing, it is becoming clear to me I am addicted to handling animals. Just about everything I do in my life has to do with animals or people that work with animals.
I was very lucky growing up the way I did. My Grandfather always had me help him take care of the chickens, feed the sheep and cows, and I went with him as much as I could when he would haul, buy, and sell cattle at the livestock auction. Everything we did evolved around the care of livestock.
When I visited my Grandpa Ed and Granny Alice it was at a huge feedlot. Everything there was about riding horses and working cattle and going to rodeos.
In my youth it was all about the care of animals. My grandfathers, my mother, and stepfather were just incredible at taking care of animals. The animals always came before anything else in our lives. This was a great influence on me. We had a hog operation that I just loved. I could pretty much take care of the sow barn and the finishing pens. Someday I want to have pigs again.
We also had a custom slaughter house and meat cutting business. I did not like it but I sure learned a lot about the meat side of the business. My main jobs were hauling guts and salting hides, and that was just fine with me.
Every one I was around was very much into the care of animals but not really into the handling of animals. They just got it done.
When I started getting real interested in horses and horsemanship the addiction started.
From then on I made all my decisions and work involve working with horses and grazing animals. If I had to irrigate I did it on a colt and learned it is a great way to get a horse real good. I don’t put up hay, but graze intensively. This allows me to work with the animals much more. When I don’t know what to do, I go do something with animals.
I feel I am addicted to working with animals. It is not as good always as I’d like but I keep working at it. For a long time my work with cattle was about cowboy skills with a real emphasis on roping. That was real good, but now my focus has really gone to getting animals to work better, and I am really focusing on getting the animal content mentally.
To me this is real satisfying to my addiction. I still like to rope, but working on getting animals to really trust me and want to be around me is my real goal.
I think this is a healthy addiction and am glad my addiction has turned into my work. It seems to me that many of the people I observe involved with animal agriculture or horsemanship get so involved in the care and performance of the animal that they miss the the mental part. The important thing to realize is that if the animal is not content you may not be getting the performance you are seeking. You may not be as content as you could be with your involvement with animals. I hope you will search for a better deal as long as you are working with animals. I hope you get addicted.
~ Curt Pate