AGAPE FOLLOW UP

 

A few things to add to Agape post.  

I got to wondering what “Agape” meant and I looked it up.  My friend Kevin Devine commented on it as well.

This is what I found:

Agape love is selfless, sacrificial, unconditional love. It is the highest of the four types of love in the Bible.

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Every time I start mentioning names I forget someone or “someone’s”.

There were so many people making the program work and I just mentioned a few that I remembered names, because we all went to supper together.

There we two young fellows that did lots of work and stayed out of the spotlight.  They had been in the program, then interned and then worked.  I’ve forgotten the one boys name, as he never hung around the horses much but was always going to do something.  He was always on a four wheeler or side by side getting something. Another boy that was real helpful was named Jordan, and he took care of things around the barn and was always looking out for the boys and covering Riley’s back.  Those two boys really new how to work and get things done, and stayed out of the spotlight doing it.

I feel terrible I didn’t mention them.  Jordan has a real proud Mom.

There of lots of real thoughtful folks that have given me suggestions on how to improve my writing in the last few years.  I appreciate the feedback.

When I first started the Web-site several years ago I had Jesse Bussard develop it for me and I would write a scoop loop, send it to her and she would fix all my mistakes.  It worked really good as far as spelling and grammar, and Jesse was really good.  The problem was sometimes my bad grammar and cowboy language is what I want to use to get my point across.

It’s my style.  I try to write them on a airplane or in an airport when the thoughts are fresh and I don’t have anything else to do.  Sometimes I get in a hurry and don’t proof them as well as I should.  I’ve always got something else I want to read or do, so I need to really discipline myself to look them over.

You should be very thankful for spellcheck or it would be much harder to savvy!

I was not very interested in school, especially english so I am terrible at putting sentences together.  To tell you how much fun and how bad I was, the third quarter of my senior year, two of my buddies and myself’s grade point average didn’t add up to a 2 point.  That was all three added together.  I had to work and charm pretty hard just to graduate.

Another thing that some people have suggested is that in this day and age you have to make things real short or you can’t hold someone’s attention.  I don’t want to write about stuff that is not interesting enough for folks to stay hooked.  Thats why I try to write the way I do.  Maybe some people will stay with me to see how many mistakes I make, but I hope to have enough “draw” to keep em hooked.

I get to listen to lots of presentations.  Some people are so good at presenting and if they have that “draw” they can keep an audience hooked no matter what the content.  I listen to some and they can have very good info and pretty soon my mind and everyone else’s is wandering.  It seems the ones that do things by the book and use proper language and don’t have a little “wow” factor you lose em.  I feel it may be the same with writing.  One of the best books I’ve ever read is Charlie Russell’s “Trails Plowed Under”.  Read it sometime and I bet you will figure out he wasn’t listening much in English class either.

I watch the wrangler network a lot as they put rodeos on live.  My old friend and mentor in the speaking world, Bob Tallman would not be the great announcer he is without what I call “The Tallman Factor”.  My father and many old school rodeo folks don’t like his style, but he can sure baffle people with the green stuff that comes out of the back end of the bulls he talks about!

So I will work on doing better and I do appreciate the help and suggestions.  My goal is to promote good stockmanship and stewardship, but I want to do it the best way I can.  I’m not going to have someone proof for me as that changes the meaning sometimes, and I have learned how to run WordPress pretty good, and can do it all myself.

It’s really wet here in Ryegate, Montana.  It’s to muddy to do much outside and its still raining, so I watched two colt starting videos I did for the AQHA clear back in 2007.  I enjoyed seeing our old place, the kids when they were younger, and my old dog Lasso.  I really miss him.  Good memories and I am real proud of how I presented things.  There was some fun stuff on the end of one of them and I will try to record it and put it on the website.  Tammy and I got some good laughs.

So here I am again rambling on to long for your short attention span so I’ll quit.

I am tired of writing and thinking so I would really like to copy and paste to my website, but I will look it over a couple times to see if I have any mistakes.  The trouble is is you have to know a mistake before you can see it.  Sure wish I would have payed more attention in school!

I did pay attention to John Wayne and the Cowboys when he said “Gentleman, this is where school really begins” and the school he was talking about has been my classroom for the last 50 years and I’m proud of that.  I am glad I can “read” a horse and cow better than I can write about it.

Agape Boarding School Horse Sale

I spent the past few days in Stockton, Missouri at the Agape Boys home.  I was asked to come do a clinic for the boys as well as help preview the horses for the sale they were having on Saturday.

The horses were mostly threes and born and raised on the ranch, and started and ridden by the boys on the ranch.  Real nice minded quarter horses with good withers and feet, which are the three things I think are very important things to have in a horse.

THEY RODE TO SONIC FOR BREAKFAST ON THE COLTS TWO DAYS BEFORE SALE

 

The boys were teenagers that lived at the ranch and were in the horse program.

I told them when we started that the hoses didn’t know or care about their past and that I didn’t either, just what they were doing right now.  Some had a little experience before they started at Agape, but most had never been on a horse before.  They tried very hard and did the best they possibly could to please me and their horses.  I never one time saw one of them lose control or get mad at a horse or human while I was around them.

The instructors and staff for the horse program were some of the most caring, genuine, good Christian folks you will ever find.  They were good.  Good to the boys, good to the horses and good to each other, and good to me.  Good.

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I got to ride one the the sale horses named Penny.  I really liked her and got along pretty good with her.  We had a good clinic the first day and I hope I gave the boys and the audience some things to consider with their own horsemanship and life.

Several years ago we went to a sale Ray Hunt had in New Mexico.  I went and watched the ride the day before the preview.  There were lots of folks working with the horses and riding.  They were all really training on the horses to get them ready.  What I found I interesting was Ray Hunt didn’t appear to be training on them.  I watched him ride lots of em those two days and he just rode and looked to me like he was just trying to have a real good last couple of rides and make it fun for him and the horse.  I don’t know if that was what was going on but that’s what I imagined.

I decided that I would try to do the same for the boys and the horses.  I wanted the people that were coming to buy the horses a real true look at the horses.  They weren’t perfectly trained.  As a matter of fact in this situation the horses were providing and doing lots of the  training to the boys.  I also wanted these young fellows that had something that they had been a big part of for the last nine months, be the stars and winners for once.

So we had fun and rode and talked and laughed.  The crew backed me up on everything we were doing and we were all on the same page.  The boys worked hard at the clinic in the heat all day, cleaned the place and got it ready for the sale the next day, and stayed up until two in the morning roping and playing, and were back at it  early the next morning.

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WE ALL LOADED UP IN TRAILER TO GO TO LUNCH AT CAFATERIA

Sale day was great.  No one new what I had planned for the preview of the horses(mainly because I didn’t have a plan).  All I wanted was to show the horses as good as we could and for the boys to learn and have a day they would never forget.

We saddled up at the barn with lots of people around looking at horses.  I had the boys step on(no ground work) and we left the barn at a long trot going to the pasture to gather the steers and bring them in.  They had been taught and understood cowboy etiquette and it is so important to show the boys and tell them why so maybe a rule has meaning and purpose rather than just something to fight or ignore.

We had fun and went pretty fast and it was good for the perspective buyers to see that real life situation and how well the horses acted.

After we got the cattle in the pens we all went to the arena.  I had the boys strip their saddles and bridles and walk away from their colts.  Most of the colts walked with them or just stayed right where they were.  The horses really seemed hooked on to the boys.  We then caught them, re saddled em and got back on.  Then we lined up on one end and had  a walking race to the other end.

If you broke to a trot you were out.  Then we had a trotting race, and if you broke to a lope you were out.

Of course the boys wanted to have a race at a lope and I new that would turn out bad, so I set it up to trot half way, lope to the fence, stop strait and walk the front end around, trot to the center and lope to the other fence and stop strait.

Well, it didn’t work out quite that way and we had two riders on the ground and things go pretty western in Stockton, Missouri for a little while.  It was just a good old time cowboy wreck and I’m glad I was a part of it and got to laugh with my fellow cowboys.  It wasn’t the horses fault, we just got going a little faster than some of the boys could handle the horses.  The boys got back on and went on like nothing ever happened just like any cowboy crew would.

We then all went out of the arena, and each of the boys came in the arena in the sale order and on the microphone told the audience their name, and all they wanted to about the horse they were showing.  They then did a pattern and pulled a log if they wanted to.  I had a big old lump in my throat several times listening to the boys and how proud they were of what they had done and how much they thought of the horse they had worked with.

They all wanted to work cattle so we did and that was it for the preview.

Kelly Kenney was the auctioneer and he was great to work with and was touched by the boys as well.  Even though he deals with the “Tallman Factor”(rodeo announcer amplification)we had lots of fun messing with each other and doing our best for the program.

The sale was a big success.  Horses sold good, boys showed them good, and I feel buyers got horses that were as honestly shown and presented as good as possible.  What they saw is what they got.

If you have horse plans in the future, I would recommend thinking about the sale next year.

They told me the horse program is the one of many different programs that leads to the greatest positive change for the boys.  They think it is the horse.  I disagree.

I think it is the people in charge of the horse program.  The way they work with the boys is the same way they handle livestock.  The right kind of pressure and the right release of pressure.  Just like the horses learn by thinking their way out of pressure the boys learn the same way.  They want to do what’s right because it’s there decision.  If they had a program of kicking the horse in the belly and throwing them down and torturing them, it would be the worst program.

This is what I see all the time.  You work livestock with the right pressure, it seems you use the same pressure with people.  

Riley Olson leads up the horse program.  He has a very well balanced team surrounding him.  Terry, Justin, Tim, Bill ( the order I met them in) really work together to make things good for the whole program.  This is what makes it so good.  They are all special people.

I never saw one boy jerk or spur on a horse with anger.  I saw several of them pray by themselves before they would eat at concession stands.  I never saw them at odds or throwing a fit with each other or when asked to do something.  

It doesn’t matter why they are doing so good, just that they are.  I learned a lot on how to draw some of them to me that were pretty quiet and stood back.  By the end they were more comfortable with me and started asking a few questions.  It was good for me to learn.

One of the sayings I talked about was one my wife had sent me a while back.

“The closer you get to God the better horseman you become, and the better horseman you become the closer you get to God”.  I think that pretty well sums up the horse program at Agape Boarding School.

Saturday Music

Spent yesterday with 17 boys at Agape Boarding School and the colts they have been riding for the past 8 or so months.  Why they were there, I and their colts didn’t know and didn’t want to know, we just wanted to have them to try to match our pressure.

This song fits with what happens when you get led down the wrong road and the results of wrong decisions.  I truly think the horse is helping these boys get back on the right road and headed in the right direction.

 

Almost 40 Years Gatherin’s

 

There is a real good book titled “40 Years Gatherin’s” written by Spike Van Cleve in the late 1970s, and you would enjoy reading it.

I’m sitting in the Sacramento airport with a delayed flight and reflecting on my weekend at the Western States Horse Expo.  It’s been a long time since I have presented at it, and it, like me has changed some.

You might wonder what this has to do with the book I mentioned above.  It just so happened that an old friend of mine, Rob Leslie that I first met in 1979 when we were both going to college in Casper, Wyoming, was there representing Vetoquinol, a pharmaceutical comparing with equine products.  1979 is getting pretty close to 40 years ago.

Back then all I wanted to do was ride, have fun with my friends, and have a pretty girl. The riding was spurring bucking horses, the friends were young rodeo guys that felt the same way, and the girl at that time was Pam Hernandez, a brown haired girl that worked in the college cafeteria that was so nice and so pretty, and smart enough not to let a young cowboy tell what he thought she wanted to hear.  I would sure like to know what happened in her life.  

She was real special.

As Rob sparked my memory, I got to thinking about the last forty years.   I loved riding Bareback horses(I hated riding bulls).  I was tall and skinny and not built to be a bareback rider, so I had to really have fast feet and stay ahead of a horse, and have lots of try to ride good.  I didn’t always ride good but I always tried to ride good.  I think I really learned to appreciate the life, spirit, and athletic ability of the horse at that time, and have always tried to respect that and not take it out of the horse. I would really like to nod my head and spur another one, and feel like I could, but I think I will leave that alone.

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BACK WHEN THE CHUTES WERE WOOD, THE MEN WERE STEEL, AND THE CHUTE HELP WAS A POET IN THE MAKING (Paul Zarziski helped me get out on this horse in Cascade, Montana)

 

One of the real important things I learned rodeoin after college when I started traveling was your traveling partners and who you hung out with when you were on the rodeo trail.  Winners create winners and losers make excuses and end up  hanging with losers, and in the rodeo world, support the winners and tend to not hang around to long because of injury or finances so you get a new crop of losers coming in quite often.  The winners feed off of this and it allows winners to keep being winners.  

Some winners are seen to be arrogant.  It may just be the confidence you need to be a winner in a very demanding and dangerous sport.  I had lots of good traveling partners, but my two favorite were Buzz Cope and Stanley Johnston.  We had lots of people in the van, but these guys helped me to be a winner more than any others.  When I was at a rodeo I liked to hang out with Colin Murnin.  These three would help me get my try on and if you weakened they would tell you about it.  I hope I did the same for them.  We were a bunch of young guys with the same ambition, to give it our all for eight seconds, and then have lots of fun until the next one.  We fit each other’s pressure.

After I was done riding, I started announcing.  It was lots of pressure, and lots of overhyped talk and it was alright but I didn’t really like it.  It was to much pressure, and I did alright but I didn’t really try like I should have.  I didn’t feel a part of it like I did when I was behind the chutes climbing on one.  I was one of the main parts of the production, but I wasn’t in it, and it wasn’t the same. I didn’t have my traveling partners, and that was a big part of the deal.  Riding bucking horses and then getting to the next one is different than talking about it.  I didn’t really fit with the cowboys anymore.

I saw Dennis Reís on Friday at the expo and we had a visit.  Ive been watching the whole clinic game for the last twenty years or so and Dennis has been right in the middle of it all.  I got caught up in all that and we were all competing with each other, but it wasn’t the same as rodeoin, as there was a different kind of an ego involved.  When you nod your head on a bucking horse, you have to impress two people, and that is the judges.  It doesn’t matter if it’s the Calgary Stampede with 100,000 thousand people in the stands, and you ride a wild horse fit and get a standing ovation or the Wilsal rodeo and you make a 23 point spur ride and they don’t even clap, it only matters on how they mark you and your horse.  Judges are supposed to have knowledge.

SATURDAY AFTERNOON HORSEMANSHIP IN THE MAIN ARENA

 

What I saw happening at the horse expos was the way you win(get the most people to come to your booth, to get the money)was to impress the judges the most.  The judges just happened to be those same folks that would give the standing ovation for a wild horse fit at the rodeo.  They didn’t know so they would be sold on a bunch of hype and not real horsemanship.  If you could get the people to come to your booth and buy equipment or come to a clinic, you could pay all your help and expenses.  The trouble was is there were several other clinicians doing the same thing and you had to do something more impressive than the others to get them to walk by the others booth and come to yours.  It created a extreme horsemanship that didn’t fit the horse, but sure sold lots of halters, sticks and videos.  I didn’t like it.

Dennis explained to me that they would be offered booth space instead of getting paid to preform.  They would get $10000 worth of booths for working the show and make the money selling to the public.  It worked great when the economy of the horse market was booming.  After the Great Recession, that all came crashing down and it really changed things.

I didn’t fit very good in those days.  I didn’t have a booth and had nothing to sell.

My crowds we smaller lots of times, and what I was doing was boring not what people wanted to hear, but there were always some people that were real interested in more horsemanship and not so much hype.  I never let it bother me or change what I was doing, because I thought what I was doing was right for the horse and for people.  I didn’t really fit in at the horse fairs, kind of like rodeo announcing.

Then my focus shifted to the place I had always had my base with and that’s the livestock industry.  I was presenting for Purina at the Red Bluff bull and gelding sale and Darrell Burnett and I were eating breakfast at a restaurant and I looked around at all the cattle people and felt so comfortable and at home and I told Darrell that this is who I wanted to be around, and that’s been my focus every since.  My new traveling partners.

Now I feel like I’m back in my old rodeoin days and my traveling partners fit me again.  We are older and not in as good of shape, but Ron Gill, Todd MacCartney, Dean Fish, Bill Dale and all my partners I work for with Zoetis Canada are winners and help me to present myself in a way that makes my job better.  The people we are presenting to know, and don’t really care about a lot of hype(wild horse fit) but will listen and learn from good stockmanship(23 point spur ride).  If your wrong they know it and if your right they appreciate it.

SECOND DAY ON COLT-NO ROUND PEN-HE MOVED OUT REAL NICE

 

So now we are in the present and I think back on the weekend of horsemanship.  The crowds were much smaller than 15 years ago.  The booth sizes of clinicians was much smaller.  There were many less clinicians.  The one that we’re there were all very supportive of each other and I saw several of them telling people to go see someone else.  The big hype/ego clinicians have gone somewhere else to make the money.  The people in attendance were there to learn, and I found it very interesting the big day was one Friday.  It use to be Saturday was the big day.  I don’t know but I think many people came on all three days, but some came the first day and went and rode on Saturday and Sunday.  I didn’t see near as many young people as I used too.

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LAST RIDE ON THE COLT -I REALLY ENJOYED WORKING WITH HIM-(Bill Dale was the picture taker)

 

I watched some of the clinics.  Really good info and presentation of horsemanship that the attendees can take to the horse and use.  I didn’t see anyone standing on the back of the saddle popping a bullwip or any stuff that was all hype and no horsemanship.  

I watched Jonathan Fields do a trailer loading demo.  It was so good, and he was such a great presenter, and really good at making the horse feel the right pressure and the audience as well.  I really enjoyed watching and learning from a good horseman and a good human.

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JONATHAN FIELD AND I ON THE DELTA RIVER QUEEN AFTER BREAKFAST

IT WAS GREAT FOOD AND CONVERSATION AND JONATHAN BOUGHT SO IT A VERY NICE TIME!

 

I had remembered watching a demo in the same spot 15 years ago by a guy from Australia and I am almost certain the horse had health issues(collided or tied up) when done because of all the exertion in the heat for a long time.  In my mind it was cruelty to animals, and when the horse finally went in he got a standing ovation.  I’m so glad I got to see the change in approach.

The last thing I watched was Amberley Snyder.  You will have to check her out on the internet  to know her story.  The last time I presented at Western States my friend and life mentor Michael Richardson was presenting as well.  Michael, like Amberley is in a chair from an accident.  Fifteen years ago Michael kept us all in balance and would help the audience understand what was important with horses and life.

Amberley just did the same thing in her way and she re- inspired me to live life to its fullest and ride as much as I can, just as Michael did in the past.

I had a great colt to start.  I got to start on Friday and have an hour each day with him.  He was a good draw because of the work that had done with him by the owners.  I really enjoyed working with him, and there was no wild horse fit.  I felt real good about the work I did with him.  I didn’t have many people watching, but some of them were there for each one and I appreciated visiting with them about things.

As I look back on the last 40 years, I’ve kind of made a big circle.  All I want to do is ride and work with animals, have a few good friends, and hang out with a pretty girl. 

As I wrote about the “Hi-Line” of Montana in the loop I threw last week, I thought it would be good to have a song about the Hi-Line.  Well Wylie has two songs with it in the tittle, and I really enjoy good polka music and a yodel thrown in even better, so this is my choice.

If I was home today, I would head for Harlowtown this evening for dinner and Dance  as they are having a fundraiser for the fairgrounds improvement and Wylie is playing.  You should go if your close, and I sure wish I could.

My Music highlight for the week happened last night.  Went to supper with friends Bill Dale and his companion Lisa in Old Town Sacramento and they had a Mariachi band.  They were good and we enjoyed it.

 

 

Working the Hi-Line

Wife Tammy and I spent the first part of last week in the Northern, and very productive part of Montana( they call it the Hi-Line).  We headed out to Chester, Montana a little after noon by driving on some narrow two lane highways with so bright of a green grass or crop because of all the “white” stuff we had all winter.  It was a beautiful drive.

We stopped in Fort Benton, Montana and looked around.  My Grandmother on my Moms side lived there ( she died before I was born) but I heard quite a bit about it.  One story my Mother always told us was about Shep, the loyal sheepherders dog, and I think my grandmother worked in a restaurant and used to take scraps to Shep.

We stopped and walked up to his gravesite and I sat our dog “Taco” down by the sign to take a picture.  I really enjoyed taking the time to pay tribute to the loyalty of a dog to his human.  That sheep herder must have been a pretty good stockman, or I don’t think the dog would have been so hooked on to him.  There is a movie about it and if you look up Shep-Fort Benton you will be touched by the story.

When you work stock well, you don’t have to put so much pressure on your dog and it creates the kind of bond you read about on the sign.

We stayed in a real nice old hotel in Chester for the duration and traveled back and forth.  We presented in Shelby the first day, Chester on day two, and Havre, Montana the third day.

Rick Caquelin, NRCS Range Management Specialist presented all three days on the effects of grazing.  I learned so much, and am real glad I got to hear his presentation each day as there was a lot of very good knowledge that really helped me to understand grass management, and I got more in my head each time I heard it presented.

The first day we were at Flesh Angus bull facility.  They had purchased the property when the auction market shut down years ago.  Buster Brown, an old mentor from the rodeo world and a darn good horseman and a real character, and his son Jeff that had rodeoed with our daughter Mesa, brought a horse for me to ride.  The 15 or so two year old bulls I worked with had never been handled horseback so that took a little work.  We gathered, sorted and put them all through the tub system with lots of different situations to discuss.  I really enjoy working with bulls.  They were good bulls that had been handled right so they were no problem.  

After we finished we had a little horsemanship clinic for the 4H kids.  It is very interesting to see how kids, parents and horses give and take pressure.  Very good group.  

On Tuesday we stayed in Chester and the Fritz Ranch hosted. They run a diversified operation of cattle/farming/auction business and a portion of the income is from the hog operation.(their son Jake had 10 feeder pigs he was fattening to sell)

The Harman family brought horses, and the cattle were about 15 head of replacement heifers and a bull.  They were out in a small pasture and I went out and got them handling and brought them into the corral.  They were a little hard to get working and past the crowd to go in the gate but it was a good demo of what I thought was good to work cattle outside.  They hadn’t been handled horseback before either.  We then went in and listened to Ricks grazing talk and had lunch, then we came back out and the Harmon boys and I went out and brought the heifers and bull back into corral.  They were good hands and we were all riding real handy horses, so it went well.  

I commented on how we didn’t have to talk or make a plan, and they never asked one time what we were going to do.  They just followed my lead and got to where they needed to be to put the right pressure on.  That is how to be real effective, and it comes from having the confidence to fill in where needed.

We put them in the working area horseback then I got off and worked a foot.  The cattle worked good, sorted real nice, and we put them through the working system and had lots of thing to discuss.  Real good group with lots of thoughts and questions.  

An added highlight to the day was my Mother coming and watching.  She and my sister Darcy got to spend a little time together then she came and watched the demo.  I think she enjoyed being around her kind of people, ranchers and farmers.

We finished up about 4 in the afternoon, so Tammy and I took a drive north from Chester and went clear to the Canadian border on gravel road, took a left and drove through the “Sweet Grass” Hills, came down through the little town of Witlash, then back to Chester.  Great day with some real good people in some real good country.  I could sure live there.

Last day was in Havre and the Northern AG Research Center.  They went all out to host the event, brought some yearling cattle in as well as having some pairs to work with.

Another good horse brought by Justin Simonson, and everyone on the staff were very nice and helpful.  They have a very nice facility and good equipment to do all the research that they get to do.

We brought the pairs in from the lot and sorted them in an alley and then worked the calves through the system they have set up for calf table, and discussed different ideas on working calves and cows.

Then a good lunch and Ricks talk and back to working with yearling steers that had been hauled in.  They were worked horseback but I got on foot to work them.  I had a tough time getting them past the crowd and up the alley and wondered why in the world I didn’t stay horseback.  It took quite a bit but I finally got them in the alley.  Then we put them through the very fancy tub system, caught a few in the chute and discussed more processing ideas. 

 

Our old friend Jack Nystrom came and we had a great visit.  I have several friends that were real good bronc riders and I notice their attitudes are a lot alike.  They talk (most of them talk quite a bit)about being around winners make you a winner.  Jack said he wished he had gotten more pictures with his friends, as that is the important memories he has.  The bronc riding pictures are great but friends and memories is what he says matters.  He was always friendly and had a big smile when he was riding broncs and that hasn’t changed.

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It was a great three days of good work with good animals and good people.  We met so many nice folks, and I only had one kinda negative situation that wasn’t a big deal, and I just stepped away from it so it didn’t get to be a big deal.

The folks at the NRCS were great and worked hard on the programs.  We spent a lot of time with Dawn Weinert and her Daughter Libby, and we really think they are special people.

I’ll make some observations from the time.

We used three different facility’s.  I like the ranch setting with no alleys and they had kind of a return box set up to get the cattle in the tub. (Ron Gill has the same kind of a set up on one of his leases in Texas). I felt the cattle worked better and had less stress than the other two facilities.  Alleys were needed in the auction setting as well as for the test centers work.  They are needed but they can create the most stress on cattle.  We need to really be careful to use the right kind of pressure.

I don’t really like to sort pairs in an alley, but if you do it’s very important the alley is wide enough for the cows to go by you comfortably, and that you don’t jump in front of them to get them to stop.  You should  back up until the animal stops, then turn them around.  This way they learn and get better to sort and handle each time, and don’t get so crowded in the back of the alley and get panicked.

I felt real good about my horsemanship and pretty good about my cattlehandling.  I could have set a few situations up differently to make a better learning situation for the folks that came, so I will work on that for the future.

I like these kinds of demos.  You can use lots of different scenarios to show what works and what doesn’t work.  We took small numbers, to many numbers of cattle, and showed what happened when to little pressure was used.  It’s a great way for attendees to be able to watch something and be able to be focused on the cattlehandling, and not on the job they would be doing if they we’re actually working cattle.  They can observe and make there own decisions on how they want to work.

We finished up around 4 in the afternoon and headed home through some country we never were through.  Lotsa grass and lotsa green.  We drove east of Havre to Harlem, headed south through Hays, Montana, ate supper in Grass Range and got home at about 10 pm wore out, but real content.  

I am now writing this on a plane headed for Sacramento and the Western States Horse Expo.  No rest for the wicked!

I haven’t mentioned it in a while, but I am even more sure I have the best job in the world!