Lets get personal


I’ve had a great week of Stockmanship and Stewardship contemplation. Wife Tammy is in Oklahoma with Daughter Mesa,, working with the some of the best bucking bulls in the world at D and H Cattle Company. Working with them is very different than working with beef animals, and I have learned that you must work them right for that industry or you will take some of the potential for performance out of them. I feel Mesa and HD Page really understand this, and are using the right kind of stockmanship and care (husbandry) to get the best performance out of the bulls. From what I see and have learned you must keep the fire in the young bulls, actually keep them wild so when you buck them they have the extra try to give it all they have.

This requires real good working facilities, horses that are handy, and having skilled people that can keep from getting killed when working these snuffy buggers. They use real heavy duty tubs to get them to a squeeze chute, and I don’t think a Bud box would always be safe.

The neat thing about it is after the young bulls make it and are proven buckers they change them and they get real good to work and most of them get gentle and they can rub and scratch them and they learn to load nice, then buck hard, then leave the arena and go back to working good. I really admire people that are good with bucking bulls, and I am glad I have been able to watch and learn this part of the stockmanship world.

There is a operation here in Ryegate that sells blood from sheep, goats, cattle and horses.
They have lots of ewe lambs that they work every 30 days. They have a big crew, and many of them are from Peru and Mexico. They work lots of sheep every day, but the focus for most of the help is to get the job done, and stockmanship is not the priority, but getting the job done.
There are a few that really work good from what is see, but most just use as much force as they can to get them where they need to be. They are doing there job, and everyone seems to be satisfied with it. I never have seen anyone doing anything cruel or abusive.

They are a little short of help so I offered to help move sheep from one feedlot to another about 3 miles away. They do it on 4 wheelers, but I did it horseback and really enjoyed it and got along pretty good. The first move I rode a good horse and had my cowdog Taco, and Umberto helped me get them out of the pen and started. Young sheep don’t know how to drive and end up wanting to circle if you don’t move them kinda right. If you position yourself right you can keep this from happening and I got along real good. They trailed real nice and I made it a lot quicker than they thought. I got to headquarters right at dinner time and they were all headed to town to get lunch. I made a little mistake and was “late” and the sheep al got into the chopped hay pile. I got lots of help and they used lots of pressure to get them off the hay and on the way again. I didn’t have much farther to go and finished up by putting the sheep in the pen just right by myself. Real nice day.

The next day I rode a new horse I’ve been riding that get pretty scared and wants to leave the scene. I unloaded at the destination and trotted him the 3 miles to the sheep. I went through a bunch off sheep out on a pivot to get him used to sheep, and got of and led him to introduce him to them. It was slick and I didn’t really feel like getting in a stampede because of a bunch of sheep. That worked out real good and I got him where I could ride him to the sheep. Then I went in with a bunch that had been bled the day before and rode him around in them and moved them a little to help him get so he could take the pressure.

Umberto showed up and we went to get the sheep I was going to move. It was right in the middle of all the machinery and goings on, and my horse was real scared and I was having plenty to do just to keep him on his feet and not heading to the next county. They got the sheep out of the pen. The guard dogs saw my dog and here they came at a dead run. That didn’t help Tacos day or my horses. They were both pretty scared. We got them out and on the road and away I went with maybe 800 ewe lambs in front of me, with one cowdog right under my horses tail and 6 guard dogs right behind him. I didn’t ride on a loose rein, but I was able to get where I need to get the sheep lined out and moving. There is a bridge to cross and by the time I got to it the dogs had everything worked out, my horse was getting pretty sheepy, and I had the sheep traveling on the side of the road. I was able to move them from the ditch to the road and they were going right to it. Umberto showed up just in time for he and another fellow to keep them from going around the guard rail. They crossed real nice. Umberto was real happy with how the sheep were moving and seemed to appreciate how I was working with them. He is one of the crew that really cares about the handling of the sheep. His job is not to bleed the sheep but to feed and take care of them and make sure they are healthy, so he uses a different kind of pressure than some of the others.

The other thing I have been doing since Tammy is gone is listening to the “Bud Summit”. Every year like minded folks get together to share information on Bud Williams teachings. It’s very good listening and learning and it’s got me to thinking about lots of good ideas they discussed.
The people that go have real strong feelings about how they do things and they are very dedicated to Bud Williams methods. From what I hear from my listening no one else works livestock to the standards they believe in, and they are right in what they believe.

I have also been watching the Ray Hunt videos more, and the kind of horsemanship he is talking about fits the folks that believe it is the best.

My point to all of these examples is that we all have different outcomes we’re interested in. I think you need to figure out where your at, and if that is working the best for you. We all have opinions and think what we are doing is right, or we don’t even know there may be a better way to do things.

It all goes back to pressure. Some folks don’t even know there are any other kind of pressure than what they are using. The “buds” seem to think Bud Williams was the only one that worked stock right. I’m not saying they are wrong, and I will keep trying to learn more of it. (I’m a Bud lite by definition). I have seen lots of good hands in my time that weren’t doing everything wrong and I just feel that through all time there have been a few that got it right.

So why do you work stock or people the way you do? Are you using the best pressure for what you are trying to do? Can you do better than you are doing? Is it worth making the change?

Whatever you are doing, as long as your not being abusive, it’s your deal. I’ve got my own deal that I am ok with but not satisfied. It’s none of my business what you do, but if we can share ideas and help each other get better, that’s a positive.

It’s a very personal thing.

4 thoughts on “Lets get personal

  1. Pat Mallon

    Hi Curt,

    Thanks for keeping my mind on it with these articles. I spend a ton of time focusing on my equipment sales and meat business. It’s been a real joy to get back to what I Love Mentally.

    As far as pressure, I was describing to a Lady looking at buying some Powder River how her pressure is different than mine because to the cattle, I look like a different predator. I am taller and much heavier. I am also more confident and will get them to react to a simple shift of body weight because I recognize a give through experience. But she is also the “Predator” that brings them lots of food, personal care and kind words.

    It kind of struck me as you talked about folks discussing how each persons view at that conference was being explained as the best that this might be a really big part of that. We are all our own predator and present ourselves differently to the prey animal. So, techniques that work really well for a person on foot would be different for a guy on horse or 4 wheeler or even helicopter. I believe a lot of basic to be the same. LOL, and also through in our daily mood and mindset and perhaps even the animals.

    In the same vein, I told another Lady on the internet to work some cattle from the front. She had shared a picture of them in a pen with a stock trailer backed up. She was going to need to load a few of them at weeks end. She didn’t know what that meant and I told her where she might find some videos as a starting point. To go practice them moving cattle from these pens she had in practice of loading them to the trailer. I described pressure and the release of pressure as a reward. She responded that she had done this and actually gotten to load the two calves she needed into the trailer. I congratulated her on doing a great job! I explained to her these videos and clinics are a starting point and that the “continuing education” is with the cattle.

    Felt good to have been able to help and know Her life was better and so was the cattle. I likely would have never responded to her post in the first place had my mind not really been churning the stuff over. So, thanks for churning the butter that is often my brain.

    1. curtpate Post author


      Glad your doing well and helping people. Try to station that Campbell fella out if you see him.

  2. Joel Brown

    Great open-minded perspective Curt. It’s not a black and white religion, wrong or right. Same w/ horsemanship, the sayings are repeated often but implemented at the level and from a perception based on a person’s experience and life. Adjusting to fit the situation has to be the producers/workers/horseman’s job. For me today, I grade the animals as the judge, as you shared; are they learning or reacting, for me I try and try out of trouble when I can and get it done smooth, stay warm Thank you, have a blessed weekend

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