Last Big Run Report

 

What a great Trip on my last big run of work(if you can call it that).

I could not have picked and scripted it any better.  Most everything I have done in the past twenty years was represented in the last ten days.

It started in Tulare, California with the NCBA’s first dairy based stockmanship and Stewardship program.  I have worked with lots of dairy cattle and producers in the past years and enjoy them both, admire the level of professionalism of the dairy industry, and really believe cattlehandling can have a very positive impact on dairy production.

I got to work with my long time friend and presenter Ron Gill, and the California Beef council has always been great to work for.  Jill Scofield lights up the room (maybe the whole state)with her passion for promoting all things Beef.  My very good friend Bill Dale, head of the California Beef Council was there and as a real bonus, his Daughter Kendall came with him and it was so much fun seeing our little girl has grown up to be a very fun and beautiful young lady.

Got on a plane in Fresno and arrived in Springfield, Missouri about midnight.  I’ve been to Ozark fairgrounds before at horse fairs and farm shows.  I’ve been going to and demonstrating at these things for well over twenty years.  I’ve seen lots of things and met lots of people at em.  Purina and Priefert were at lots of them, and in Springfield I was in a Priefert roundpen, and Ernie Rodena of Purina fame was there just like old times.

When I was in the prime of the colt starting demo days there were lots of weeks I’d be demonstrating starting five or more colts a week.  It was a great time in my life.  I love taking a colt and making real nice changes in a couple hours that will effect the horse the rest of his life.  It was so much like riding bucking horses when I was rodeoing. You didn’t know what you might be getting on and what might happen.  I was never scared to throw my leg over anything.  Probably lucky I survived it with no injuries.

I got to start a colt in Springfield.  He was a four year old roan gelding that had been handled just right.  My first demo was in the big arena, and I had Mike Burris help me on his saddle horse.  I got him saddled pretty easy and when I turned him loose he bucked pretty good and moved out pretty fast with the saddle.  

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I got him ready to get on and had Mike go in front and we got him carrying my weight and moving out without getting to bothered.  It was a real good first ride and I’m glad I didn’t have to start him in the round pen.  The next three sessions were in the round pen and then I used him for my last cattle handling session in the arena.  

 

I had so much fun and felt real good about how the colt turned out, and how I used the colt starting to help folks understand horsemanship and cattle handling.  I am so glad I got to do it on the last big run as so much of the past twenty years was spent putting the first ride on a horse.

I was very fortunate to end up right in the middle of the biggest horse “bubble” ever.  It was so amazing for a guy like me that grew up only seeing ranch type horses and rodeo horses, to witness all the different ways people use horses.  

To be a part of all of it and to get to do a book with Western Horseman, videos and demonstrations with the American Quarter Horse association and work for great company’s like Purina and Priefert, was something I never would have imagined.  

In all honesty I don’t think it would have happened if it wasn’t for Buck Brannaman and him getting me involved with the “Horse Whisperer” movie.

I saw so many people thinking they wanted to be in the world of the horse, and I saw a lot of extreme things that maybe didn’t fit the horse or the people.  When the bubble burst no one saw it coming and it really changed things.  I think it is much better as I don’t see all the hype and extremes like it was when there was so much money everyone was out there trying to grab.  Horses and people are better off when common sense and true knowledge is the driver rather than money and ego.

Wife Tammy flew in to Springfield on Sunday afternoon and we got to have supper and spend time with our old friend and partner Michael Richardson.

He was doing demos as well and I watched when I could and he was as amazing to me as ever.  If you get to feeling sorry for your self, go spend a day with Michael and try to stay in his wheel tracks.  He has more try and heart that anyone I know.

Monday morning we went to Agape Boarding School in Stockton, Missouri.  I went last year and rode for the Brothers and with the boys.  Greatest experience ever and we had a day so I wanted to spend some time.  Of course Tammy fell in love with all of these great kids and wanted to take them all home with us.  All I know is horses and cows are much better than drugs and abuse and with the guidance of some great people these boys are getting the chance to be and live cowboy and learn that in the world of horses and cows they don’t lie and they don’t cheat and they don’t judge, but give back what you give them.  I love the place, the boys and the people that are dedicated to helping them.  

They are having a horse sale June 15 that the boys sell the horse they have worked with.  Look it up online.  If you can come see what “Agape” means and is all about.

 Next stop, a couple hours up the road we met a group at the “Square B” ranch.

Eric Grant is a fellow that I have been working with and learning from for several years.  We worked on video projects for the National Cattleman’s Beef Association, and when he worked for Angus we did several TV episodes.  When Eric quit working for Angus we had supper one night and he said he had ideas and wanted me to be a part of them.  I didn’t ask what they were or what he wanted, I just said I was in for anything he wanted me to be a part of.

[Erics Work]

They have put together a very talented bunch of people and we went and visited with some of them sharing ideas.  I still don’t know and don’t care what he has in mind, but I’m in.  It was a fun day and we might have seen one of the  nicest, well run ranches in the country.  Stay tuned.

We then headed to Olathe, Kansas and had supper with the Trabon Family.  Tim Trabon was one of my real good friends and he left us a few years ago.  I have really enjoyed seeing how they went on and are moving forward and doing things better than Tim ever did.  He would be very proud of all of them.  It was so much fun laughing and telling stories, and to hearing the things they have done and are going to get done.  Patti keeps it all together as she always has.

Tim and I were pulling into his driveway one night and it was a tight fit with his truck and trailer.  Patti had moved the garbage bins to the other side of the road knowing we would be pulling in.  Tim made me aware of how smart and observant his wife was and he really appreciated her.  Great family.

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[Tim Trabon and John Ballweg]

Of course we didn’t want to leave so we ended up not getting to Salina, Kansas until midnight and then I had to work pretty early the next morning.  We were at the  Mid America farm show and I did a horsemanship demo in the morning and a cattlehandling demo in the afternoon.  I’ve been there a few years in a row so I know some and met some knew people.  I was tired and a little off so I didn’t work the cattle as well as I could have, and was a little disappointed in that, but felt good about the way I presented to the folks in attendance.

Headed south for six hours and got to McAlester, Oklahoma about nine that night.  We set up a portable tub system and some panels at 8 AM and was presenting to the crowd by about 9:15.  It was the OSU cow calf producers “Bootcamp”.  We had a fun little bunch of calves to work and I had fun presenting to the real receptive cattle and crowd.  I felt much better about how I worked the cattle than the day before.

I am writing this recap on my flights home to Bozeman, Montana.  We just landed so I am going to wrap this part up.  United Airlines added to my positive experience by giving me an upgrade to first class from Denver to Bozeman!

When I get caught up I’ll tell you about my experience in Fort Worth, Texas and give you some thoughts on the last twenty plus years working in the greatest industry with the very special people and animals I have come in contact with.

I am so exited to get moved and to work on my knew challenge, running a great ranch.

The Last Big Run

 

Over the years it’s always amazed me at how every once in a while a long string of events line up to make a great run.  I am starting one now, and with my new job responsibilities it will be last “big run”.   

It’s going to be great as I have a  very diverse set of demonstrations in front of me and pretty much covers everything I’ve done for the past twenty years.  

First stop, Tulare California today and tomorrow for a dairy based NCBA stockmanship and stewardship program.  Next, fly to Springfield, Missouri tomorrow night late(very late) to Ozark Spring Roundup to do colt starting and cattlehandling demos for three days.  Wife Tammy joins me  Sunday afternoon and we head to Agape Boarding School in Stockton, Missouri (I had a couple days to fill, and this is a great place to spend time).

We are meeting with Eric Grant and company on Tuesday to visit about a new project he is working on that I hope we get to be a part of.  I’ve worked with Eric on lots of great projects and always have had good experiences and created something of value for people.

I have to be in Salina, Kansas on Wednesday for the Mid-American farm show to do horsemanship and cattlehandling demos for the day.  Then we head back south to Mcalester, Oklahoma for a cattle meeting on Thursday morning, and then on to the next one that evening in Fort Worth, Texas for the Texas and Southwest Cattle Raisers Convention.

I fly back home Sunday night and Tammy flys to Yuma, Arizona to help my Mother drive home to Montana.

Now, how could you plan a run like that?  It just kind of lined up and I’ve had it happen lots of times over the years.  The nice thing about this run is that it includes everything all the different disciplines of livestock handling I do.  Colt starting to dairy handling is a pretty big range, and I’m glad I have the opportunity and ability to do them all.

Last week when I was on my plane I sat with a guy that was going to interview an old highschool buddy and former business partner, Dean Folkvord.  I told him a few things about Dean that he could use that not everyone new about, and I’m pretty sure Dean might of just as soon nobody new about. It got me to thinking.

Dean and his wife Hope have really done great in business and life.  I remember several years ago Dean and Hope invited Tammy and Myself out to Dinner.  It had to be a restaurant that served “Wheat Montana Bread” as that was the company the Folkvord family was so successful in starting.

The conversation got around to the what I was doing, and I was just starting to do some local horse clinics. At that time I was trying to talk myself out of doing them and was coming up with lots of excuses.  I told Dean that I thought there were way to many people doing horse clinics and it would be hard to make a living.  He never even hesitated and said there were lots of people making bread, but he didn’t let that stop him.

[Back when I was getting started and learning so much from horses like this great one we called “Major”.]

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I’m really glad that I sat with the fellow and he sparked some memories.  Thinking of all the great things that have happened since that supper and now I’m sure glad I went on and did what I have done.  I’ve never talked to Tammy about it and don’t know if she even remembers, but she was the one that really got it started with putting together clinics and demos.  I would still be riding colts for the public and trying to pay for a ranch if it wasn’t for her.

So this trip ends the big travel chapter of my life.  It has been a great trip.  Now I get the best of all of it for me.  I get to manage a great ranch, I get to help folks enjoy the ranch, I get to spend more time with my animals, and I still get to do a limited number of days doing what I have been doing.  It couldn’t get any better.

[Our new ranch setting]

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If had lots of people ask me over the years how to get started doing demos and clinics.  I don’t really know what to tell them.  I’ve seen lots of folks come onto the scene and over sell there abilities and they never last very long.

Just like Deans Wheat Montana Bread.  If you are trying to sell yourself or a product you have got to get someone to try it and give them a reason to keep using it.  If you don’t keep improving your product someone else will create a more desirable one.  That’s why we get better, to stay ahead of the competition, and I have found the best person to compete with is yourself.

The funny thing is I never really understood or cared about any of this, is just kind of happened.  As I look back I can see how it shaped up.  I had a real good work ethic, was never satisfied or thought I couldn’t be much better than I was(still feel that way)and always had the freedom to do what I needed and wanted to do, and gave the people that hired me what they and their customers wanted.

So a little reminiscing or reflection never hurts.  Hopefully the bread story will inspire you to go for what you want to do in life. 

I don’t know how many motel rooms and restaurants meals I’ve eaten or how many miles I have flown or driven in the past twenty years, and I don’t even care.  What I do remember is all the great people and animals I’ve gotten to work with And that is what really has made the trip special.

Looking back I realize I’ve been on a twenty year paid vacation!

Drovers

This is an article that came out of the NCBAs Cattleman’s Convention in New Orleans earlier this year.  Portia Stewart did a great job capturing what I think our demos are about.

https://www.drovers.com/article/you-herd-right-8-tips-gather-herd

 

Ron Gill and Myself along with Todd MacCartney and Dean Fish have been presenting demonstrations at National Cattleman’s Beef  Associations national convention trade show for several years at many cities.

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I feel it is important to ask why sometimes.  Why do these remain popular after so many years?  These are some of my thoughts of why.

1. Cattlehandling  has been a focus in the industry for many years and it, like it’s companion BQA are becoming something for everyone to try to improve.  The folks that are in attendance at convention have dedicated themselves to learning and progressing  in the industry and cattlehandling is a big part of it.

2. Livestock people like to watch animals and people preform or work.  Horsemanship demonstrations, rodeos, and people going and sitting at the auction market with no intention of buying are all examples of this.

3. The attendees are foot sore, back sore and they are tired of looking and listening to sales pitches and they want a place to sit down

 

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Since I believe in the Stockmanship and Stewardship program and enjoy the time at the Conventions I feel it is very important to ask “How” to keep it going.

  1.  We as a team have to work together to create what is needed to get people in attendance to come sit in the seats and add value to the convention experience.  I feel it is very important   and  always try to Educate, Entertain, and activate people’s Emotions.  (The three E’s)
  2. Present topics in a way that everyone in attendance can get value from while stimulating the desire to want to get home and work some cattle.
  3. Don’t bore people with to much lecturing and non action.  They want to see cattle work!
  4. Do not offend people.  Keep it positive.
  5. Create the desire to see more.

 

Hopefully I and the team in the Stockmanship and Stewardship program are contributing to the cause of improving quality of life for Humans and Animals as much as both are contributing to ours.

 

 

 

At The Bar When I Should Have Been At The Church

If I was the kind of person that wore T shirts or caps I would get one that says “I love New York”.  Every time I’ve been it’s been a great experience, whether I am in the Big City, or out in the country, and there is a lot of out in the country in the state of New York.

I spent the last three days doing Dairy and Beef Stockmanship and Stewardship trainings for the NCBA.  They have partnered with Merc this year and you can see all the great things going in 2019 at Stockmanshipandstewardship.org .  Check it out and come see us.

The weather was not the best and I got to drive on some real tough roads because of the “lake effect” around Syracuse.  I rented a little Chevy Cruze and that thing was terrible in the snow and I got stuck a couple of times.

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The dairy and beef producers are very unique in New York State.  The feel I get is they are very progressive producers, but have real strong moral and social values, and it’s kind of like going back in time about thirty years.  They are kind of a bunch of sophisticated hicks, and I say that as a real compliment.

I did three daytime dairy trainings and went to three very different dairy’s.  The main difference was the milking parlor and number of cows, and the different personalities of the management.  All were very interested in cow comfort and care, and I don’t know if anything I said or demonstrated helped, but they sure were listening and watching to see if I had anything worthwhile.  That’s all I hope for.

Two evening programs were beef focused.  One was at a real nice Farm, the Center Dale Farm, in Black River.  It turned real cold and they had a good supper out in a barn and the only heat was a single propane heater. We all gathered up after supper around the heater and I talked for quite a long time hoping everyone would get cold and want to go home and not want me to work live cattle.  Well that backfired on me as I got cold talking and still had to go outside in an open front shed and work some cattle. Don’t think New Yorkers can’t take a little cold.  It was a fun evening with real good people.

The next night we were at a sale barn, Empire Livestock in Bath, New York, had a good meal and I talked and had some real nice steers to work with in the ring.(heated ring). I just really enjoyed the people at both meetings and felt good about the things I presented to them on behalf of the Stockmanship and Stewardship program.  It seems like a long ways to go and lots of money spent, but they didn’t waste any time with five meetings in three days.

There was another presentation at the dairy meeting that I really enjoyed, think is a very important subject that fit right with what I was doing.

Erica Leubner  of NY Farmnet presented on communication (human)on the farm.  She was a great presenter and it really set the stage for for what I was going to present.  I would like to see her present at cattleman’s college next year.  Good stuff.

I had some fun things happen while I was spending my time in New York.

They were very organized at setting things up and I had a list with addresses and times of my presentations.  The second day I got to town early, drove out and found the dairy, had some time so I went back to town and looked at some skid steers(I’m on the hunt for a new one for the ranch).  I then went to the Route 38 bar and grille, as my instructions instructed, and was wondering where everyone was.  I got a text from the extension person wondering where I was.  They were at a local church for the meeting.  So, it hasn’t happened for quite some time but I was at a bar when I should have been at a church.  

The other funny thing that happened was when outsiders go to dairy, for bio security reasons everyone wears plastic booties over their footwear.  I have rubber overshoes and use disinfecting scrub because the booties always tear and they are slick.

So they handed them out at the parlor, everyone put them on and headed to the barn we were going to work in, which was was quite a ways off.  The guy that was hosting for the dairy took off at a fast walk as the wind was blowing and it was cold.  I was at the back of the pack and I had to stop and lean against the building because I was laughing so hard.  When the group hit the ice and snow no one could walk and about five of them were in a pile on the ground.  They were all young and having fun and they were laughing too.  When Brad got to the barn he turned around to look and about half the people following were on the ground, he had to lean against the building laughing.  We all got a big laugh and were happy to get in out of the wind and on concrete.  I guess confinement isn’t as bad as some people make it out to be.

After I finished up at the “bottoms up dairy”, I decided to drive to Niagara Falls.  If you want to take the back roads in populated areas all you have to do is set your gps for no toll roads.  I always do that as I like to see the country from two lanes instead of four.  It took me twice as long to get there but I really saw some nice farm country.

It was cold and miserable and the fog and the mist were heavy and made it hard to see, but it was really great to see.  They said the number of people visiting is usually way higher, but the weather had them backed off.

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I’m glad I went.  The power and beauty is unimaginable until you see it.

So that was my trip. I love New York!

Too cold to De-Ice

It’s cold

We have been having some tough weather.  It was so nice through January.

Then it hit us and we have had lots of snow and this last week bitter cold.  24 below in Ryegate actual temp.  Luckily we didn’t have much wind.  The livestock on our little place are very well protected from the wind with lots of brush and trees, and I bought some cheap small squares that the top of the stack is really good for bedding so I have bedded the heck out of em.  They get all they want to eat and a little more.

My barn cats have been worrying me. So I took a electric dog bed warmer and put a box over it and a saddle blanket and they are warm and cozy.

I really like taking care of animals with no thought to profit when it’s terrible conditions for them.  I get out there with em and make sure they are all right, and actually it makes me feel better when I have to suffer a little from the cold because they do it and can’t get out of it.

If they have lots to eat and their rumen is working, they actually have like a furnace inside their body to create heat from the inside out.  This is why they can take so much cold if they are out of the wind and not wet.

The ones I feel bad for are the baby calves that are being born.  They are coming out of a 100 degree environment into a -zero environment and have not had anytime for acclimation to the difference.  They don’t have a winter hair coat and the same rumen activity so they really suffer.  If you put the bulls in at a certain time to calve in these conditions, I think you need to have the facilities and the manpower to take care of these newborns (all livestock).  If you don’t and calves freeze to death or their ears and lungs freeze, who caused it?  You had the control.  I think it’s something we all need to look at as an animal care issue.  Have you ever heard of the “five Freedoms” for animal welfare?

I’m not saying to not calve or lamb at this time, I’m saying have the infrastructure and help to get it done with the five freedoms in mind.  

I am feeding lots of deer right now, and they are free choice eating my good second cutting alfalfa hay.  I don’t see any new baby’s  with them.

I went to the ranch to check on things and turn the heat up in the main and the guest house.  It was really beautiful just after the sun went over the Bridges Mountains.  When it is real cold like this it seems everything is crisp and it comes right through the pictures.

 

I spent the night in Bozeman/Belgrade near the airport.  It was 32 below this morning.  I was supposed to have a flight at 6:30 to Chicago.  They loaded us up and it was cold on the plane as they had no heat until the engines got going.

Well they couldn’t get the engines going and we sat on plane for about an hour.

People demanded to get off so we unloaded.  

It was to cold to de-ice and nothing was working.  We finally got out of Bozeman at about 10:30.  It was interesting to see how much the equipment was affected by the cold and the people out working in it.  

I missed my flight to Syracuse, but United had me another one booked and I got upgraded to first class where I’m writing this from, so it all worked out for me, just getting in a little later.

It’s going to be cold in  New York as well.  I sure hope it warms up, for the animals.

Surface Work

I started writing this a while ago after Wife Tammy’s production “Art Of The Cowgirl”.  We had a little discussion  on the ranch rodeo and the way cattle were handled.  It got me to thinking about why I do things the way I do.  So here it is, kind of long, but I think it is worth your time if you are interested in improving the way you work livestock.

I’ve been in a whirlwind for the last few of weeks.   From one event to the next with not much time between and also trying to get things done on the new ranch and getting sick in the middle of it all made for a long couple of weeks.

I had one of the best demos ever in New Orleans at NCBA convention.  Ron Gill and I had done it the day before and it didn’t go so good.  Our pressures didn’t match up very good and the cattle didn’t work very good and I didn’t feel good after the demo.

I got to think about it and figure out how to do better.  Ron had a different obligation so Dean Fish and I did the demo together, and it worked out a lot better because I changed the way I pressured and was able to talk about what I was doing better.  The cattle worked great and we were able to present it in a way that folks could really see and understand what we were talking about. I learned and changed and in 24 hours it was a much different demonstration with the same facilities and similar cattle.

I have been working very hard for the last 20 years on getting more done with better pressure and trying to present this to people in the horse and livestock world, and have never backed off what I feel is right for production livestock and  working with animals.

It is very difficult sometimes to put your thoughts and opinions out to the public and not get thoughts and opinions back from folks with their own thoughts and opinions or representing what they feel are thoughts and opinions of the pioneers or “Gurus “, in my case in the horse world Ray Hunt and the cattle world Bud Williams, the two I admire and study the most

I did not know either one on a personal level, but invested a lot of money and time in trying to get what they were offering for money to improve my skills with livestock.  I didn’t really think they were the kind of people I wanted to be friends with, and I’m pretty sure they didn’t really want to be friends with me, but they both took my money and I took their teaching for that money.  I really worked hard studying what they offered, then put it in my own mind and environment to help me with what  I wanted for my horsemanship and stockmanship.

This is very important to realize, and it took me some time to figure this out.  I would go and learn from other folks that claimed to be students of one of the Gurus, but from my observations it was nothing near my interpretation of what I learned from the teacher.  You can’t be someone else no matter how you try. You can wear the same clothes and use the same equipment but it doesn’t make you recreate what the “teacher” did to be the teacher.

Many years ago I spent a little time at Tom and Margaret Dorrance’s place.  One of the talks we had was about “Surface Workers”.  It was a talk that really effected me, and I really worked hard at not being a surface worker, but really understanding what created what I was looking for in working with livestock and horses.  The important word here is what “I” want and think is important.

I am a production agriculture guy.  The way my mind was shaped growing up was raising livestock (horses were livestock, not companion animals) for profit.

My grandfather Leonard was not a cowboy even though he wore a cowboy hat sometimes, and was probably had as many horseback miles as anyone, but he wasn’t a cowboy.

He was a horse trader, cow trader, small rancher, and somewhat of a real estate investor even though I don’t think he knew it.  He bought stuff to make a profit, and was very good at upgrading things to make that profit, or buying things right to not lose money.  He was very frugal and didn’t like spending money on anything if it wouldn’t make him money.  

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He was pretty good at getting animals to do what he wanted, and was really good at getting animals to eat and get fat.  He bought a lot of horses for slaughter, and said the best color for a horse was fat.  He liked horses, but he didn’t fall in love with them.  They were for sale at a profit. He really loved his cows, always made sure they had everything they wanted and more, but when it was time to sell, he sold and didn’t let emotion get in the way.

He bought and sold small numbers of livestock and trucked cattle for people with a truck with a twenty foot bed.  We weighed a lot of small numbers of cattle and when I was around twenty years old I was really good at guessing weight on cattle.  We were always sorting and working cattle and I was good at it.

I spent much of my youth with my Grandpa Len and was really influenced by him more than anybody else.

My other Grandfather, Ed Pate was a cowboy, and worked for other people his whole life.

I didn’t get to spend as much time with him as he lived and worked in Idaho, but really liked spending time working with him.  He made a lot of money for other people taking care of their livestock, and was willing to do whatever it took in human sacrifice to make sure the man paying him had his livestock cared for, and I think he helped a lot of people die with a lot more money, while he died with not having many possessions, he instilled in me the desire to take care of animals and work hard for someone you hire out too.

I put up a lot of hay in my in my younger days but I didn’t have a passion for it.

I like feeding animals and grazing animals, so when I started looking for jobs I was focused on only jobs caring for livestock and was not very interested in farming.  I got a lot of experience and worked around some real good stockman with both sheep and cattle.  The people I learned from were more stockman than cowboy, even though they were horseback outfits.

So even though I like roping and have worked hard at getting good at it, and like riding horses that are real handy, and enjoy using dogs to help handle stock, my mind has always been on the production of livestock first, and using cowboy skills to enhance that production.

So when I started to study stockmanship skills, I had a certain mindset on what I thought was best, because of all the influences in my life.  It might have created a different desired result than you or other folks have.  That’s ok, and just because we may have different desires for the outcome, we can still share and learn ideas.

I am very happy with were I’m at right now, but not satisfied.  I know I’m going to get much better, as I have lots of desire to get better and know I can tweak the things I know and make what I know even better.

I have been riding three horses real consistent for the past couple months.  They are all a little different and none of them are pets but I’ve been getting by them pretty good.

I’ve been busy for about three weeks and it’s been cold and snowy so I haven’t been riding them for a month or so.  We had a fellow come to do some filming for a couple of days, and I saddled all three in that time, led them out of the barn  and stepped on and rode em off and went to work.  No ground work or anything and they just rode like they did when I put them up a month ago.  No surface work there.

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We have had bucking bull stock around here for the last several years and they have been real good at teaching me to work with and handle lively animals.  I feel I am pretty good at working these cattle.  We moved all those animals to Oklahoma for a better climate and daughter Mesa has them.

I wanted something different to work with last winter so I found a small heard of Mini cows for sale.  They are a real ranchy looking bunch.  I am not sure if I can ever get them sold as there is not much demand for them, but I sure have had fun with them.

When I went to get them the fellow that had them used feed to move them.  They would not drive.  He used feed in a yellow bucket to get them in the corral to load them and then had to put the bucket in the trailer.  The ones that wouldn’t go on Son Rial and I had to physically put them on.  They were gentle but you couldn’t move them.

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Well it’s been a year since I got them and boy they are nice to handle.  They really respond well to pressure and make real nice turns and you can park them at a gate, open the gate and they will file right through.  They are not gentle and a couple are kind of on the wild side, after they got their freedom.  They are fat and healthy and I feel like I could “put em down a gopher hole or up a telephone pole (a Tom Dorrance saying).  They are fun for me to work with and I feel like they are very well taken care of and content.

So what I am saying is not every one has the same idea of how to and what’s right with working livestock.  I think it is how you were influenced and what your goals are.  I have really taken the things that I used starting Colts for the past thirty years and put those same techniques and philosophies to use handling livestock.  I am real satisfied with that style of handling.

Bud Williams had talked about his methods of starting Colts and his thoughts on it a little, but I couldn’t get much out of him.  I finally got hold of a video he had made of his method for starting one.  It was nothing like I thought it would be and it didn’t fit what I wanted.  It fit him and I’m sure a lot of people like it but I didn’t.  It’s no problem and I still am watching his stuff trying to get better with cattle and sheep, but I am not interested in the horse stuff.

I never got to see Ray Hunt working cattle in a ranch situation, but watched him work a bunch of colts in an arena and get control of them as a herd and he could really control the movement and turns of the horses.  I have used what I learned from observing that when working with herds of cattle.  If you can get a bunch of colts ready and handling for people that maybe shouldn’t be riding colts, you can surely handle cattle and put em where you want.  His horses were incredible for that kind of work.

I’ve also been studying Temple Grandin for the past several years.  She is a sponge of all knowledge.  She learns things to add to her way of seeing things in pictures and shares them with others.  Some people don’t agree with what she is saying, but if you don’t listen to her you are missing some very good things to improve stockmanship.

So what I am trying to say is be yourself but create yourself with the help of others that create what you like.  Then really ask yourself if you are just working without really understanding, like doing and saying what someone else is doing and saying without understanding why.  

Don’t be a surface worker, even if it causes a little disagreement.

King of Heartsof a good cowboy crew

I am at the NCBA National convention this week doing demos at the trade show,then fly to Saskatchewan tomorrow to do a demo, then back home for a few days, then on to the next one, Wife Tammy’s production in Phoenix, Arizona “The Art Of The Cowgirl “.  Check it out on the inter web and come buy a horse or see the show.  It’s going to be great.

I just feel so fortunate to get to saddle a horse and work cattle in front of lots of Cattleman and right in the middle of New Orleans.  Not much different than my day at home, but a little, like 500 people watching.

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HAVING FUN WITH A CAJUN GAL AT DINNER

I just had breakfast with my good friends Todd McCartney and Dean Fish.  We discussed our jobs and how great it is.  It is so good to be part of a good cowboy crew.

Today is a real special day for us.  The King of Hearts ranch is located near Bozeman, Montana and is getting a new owner today.  I have agreed to hire on to manage the ranch for him.

I am so excited to get to really implement the skills I have been working on and apply them to the every day and overall operations of a good ranch operation.

I still get to do some work off the ranch, and we will explore doing some training and schools at the ranch.

So Tammy and I are entering another stage of our great life in agriculture.  I am very serious about profit and sustainability of the ranch and am proud to work for an owner that appreciates the land.

It’s going to change my lifestyle a lot and I will have to make decisions on the limited events I can do in the future.

I have always had the goal of running a place and am glad I get this chance.  I will keep writing and sharing ideas.

Life is great!