Training Bulls

The thing that creates the main source of cash flow for D and H cattle company is not not turning feed into beef, but turning feed into athletes, just like a race horse operation.  At some point the bull will end up as protein, but the longer that take the more profit potential there is, almost the opposite of the beef business.

Here’s a clip of a training session.  

These bulls started out really wild and scared and I have seen them really settle while I have been here.  It’s so important to keep the fire and desire in the but also get them to a thinking frame of mind rather than a reactive to keep them from injuring themselves and last a long time.

When they are going to buck or dry run bulls through the chutes it starts the day before.  The feed is cut back so they are not full and heavy and could injure themselves when they buck so hard.  If they are over full they don’t buck them.

The arena is watered and worked for the best consistency to keep footing and prevent injuries from the incredible athletic move some of these bulls make.

They are gathered and sorted for left and right delivery.  Then they are staged in an alley with two or three in a cut. Now they are set to buck or get gentled or patterned through the chutes.

Nothing is done in a hurry at this point.  The bull might be staged for quite a while before they start just to let them get comfortable and settled in the environment that creates the cash flow for the outfit.

Then you set the back pens to have a place to go with the bulls when they are done in arena.  The bulls can then settle from the stress and excitement of the training.

It’s a lot of work to do it right and takes some excellent stockmanship skills.

Daughter Mesa and HD Page are a good team and have a good crew that really know how to get the most out of these bulls.

HD usually flanks all the bulls. Scott Maines from Australia was putting the dummy on, Bud Whitehead was pulling chute gate, Mesa was filming and taking bulls to back pens, and I was running out gate and loading bulls to chute.

I didn’t enjoy it too much at first as the bulls were pretty scared and wild, but after seeing the change they are making it is very rewarding and I am glad I am learning more about this stockmanship.

Sunday front porch visit from behind the bucking chutes

Still in Dickson, Oklahoma at D and H Cattle company.  I’m really enjoying feeding and learning about the bucking bull industry and riding daughter Mesa’s colts.

HD Page is so good a stockman for the bucking bull business.  Everything that happens here is about getting bulls to handle and buck to the best of their ability.  I am learning a bunch and the colts are coming along great with the work that I can do with them that is also helping get the bulls better to buck.

Everyone works hard and Grandson Haize is learning what it takes to be a stockman at a pretty early age.  He seems to enjoy being a part of the feed crew!

I hope you enjoy the front porch/behind the bucking chute visit.  I totally believe in grazing animals to improve soil and world health.

South Dakota, doing what I love to do!

I have spent the last three days doing what I really like to do in a place I really like to be. Cattle, Colts, kids and family’s in the prairie lands of South Dakota.  

I flew into Rapid City Thursday evening and we did a cattle handling day in the shadow of “Bear Butte” near Sturgis, South Dakota at the Blair Brothers Angus Ranch all day Friday.  A real crowd of cattleman of all ages that really were there to become better stockman.  We worked with some bawling calves that were real good to handle, and we were able to demonstrate getting them out of a pen, working with them to settle them, loaded a straight deck semi out of a “Bud Box” horseback and on foot, sorted in an alley, worked through processing barn and discussed BQA in the chute.  Real good work for everyone to see and discuss.  

I really think the folks that came got to see a lot and left with a lot to think about.   The Blair family were great hosts and we sure all ate good.  The The South Dakota Grazing Land Coalition did a great job hosting the event.

If we go back in time about twenty years or so I started doing horse clinics in the Rapid City area with Deb Black.  Her son Ryan Rypkama and another young fellow by the name of Riley Kammerer were around in those days.  They decided they wanted to start some colts with the next generation of kids, so we did.  Some of their other friends brought kids and colts and away we went.  That makes three generations of Debs family.

Group photo a

It was so enjoyable to watch parents and kids working together and making so much progress learning and teaching.  I just got to orchestrate things and they did all the hands on.  To watch a Dad snub up a colt for his 14 year old daughter, or an uncle help a 12 year old nephew get by a snorty draft cross bronco, and  husband and wife and two kids all starting colts together and having fun doing it was just great to be a part of.

It never ceases to amaze me at how good kids and colts can do and how much change they can make in two days.

Last minutes of clinic relaxing colts and getting them soft before they stepped off.

After we finished up on Sunday, my host needed to move his cows as he is on a rotational grazing program, and it was time to move. He, his wife and myself went out and gathered and moved a few hundred pair in a beautiful South Dakota evening.  I could see Bear Butte in the distance, the cows moved really nice, I was riding a real nice horse and the wind wasn’t blowing, so it was a great way to finish the work of the weekend.  Content cows on grass, riding back to the house with good people knowing the work that you had done the past three days was good work, and knowing you were going to have a good steak in a ranch house kitchen with a good family made it a very special evening, a great way to finish a very special weekend.

Riley Kammerer had put all this together.  He and his wife Jimmy and their three wonderful daughters are living ranch life to its fullest.  They are an old time family in a modern age.  I really appreciate them letting me get to be a part of the family for the weekend. 

From what I observed they have their priorities right and do what matters for their livestock, land, kids and people they care about.

So I am back to thinking I have the best job in the world.  Good people is what makes it, and animals and the land are what gets me there.