Category Archives: Communication

Reason for a blog

I am not much of a marketer of my stuff.  While in the horse industry it seemed to me that it was more about the marketing than the horsemanship.  I never sold one piece of training equipment. I did write a book and made some videos but I never marketed them; nor did I take any profit from them.  It was always a challenge for me to give folks their money’s worth in a clinic.

My favorite thing to do has always been demonstrations.  Whether it was starting a colt, roping, horsemanship, or cattle handling, it was a short time for someone to hear and see my point of view.  If they did not like it they could leave or criticize it to anyone they wanted to tell.

Hopefully this blog will serve the same purpose.  I have had so many great learning experiences from my childhood and onward – some from mentors, some from paying people to learn from them, and many more from making mistakes and learning from them.

One skill that is a must is the ability to communicate effectively.  I have always felt at ease and confident in live demonstrations. Only time will tell on how I communicate through written words.

So here we go.  My goal is to provoke thought and to hopefully improve quality of life for humans, animals, and the environment.  I will present positive thoughts and ideas that have worked for me, and you can take them or leave them.  If something offends you I apologize, but to be honest it’s on your shoulders. Because in the end, it is simply my opinion, and it will probably change in time anyway. I truly hope you find it worthwhile.

This was what I wrote in my first blog, which I later renamed “Scoop Loop.” I feel like I have kept my word and added even more to it.  I never once tried to sell anything to anyone except ideas to think about.

I added Monday Morning Photos and Friday feel-good music.  It was real fun for me to do and hopefully enjoyable for you.

The reason I started writing was to promote NCBA’s Stockmanship and Stewardship program and the ideas I promote .  I am not sure I did that, but I sure put ideas I believe in out there.

If you have been reading these posts you know I am an avid environmentalist who is passionate about grazing animals being used to improve the environment and consume excess production from farming.  I like animals and people and feel they need to be treated properly.

Honesty is such an important thing in this life.  Most important to yourself and then to others. 

I am going to stop writing on the Scoop Loop for a while.  I thank you for letting me throw my opinion at you.  I hope it got you thinking.  I thank Jesse Bussard for making me look like I paid better attention in school, and for doing more than she was paid for.

~ Curt Pate

Combining Pressure and Spirit

If we combine thoughts on pressure and spirit it may make some things easier to see, or as I have been discussing to “see it.”

I talked about how I like to keep the spirit in the horse while getting them to the highest level I can.  A mustang may have lots of spirit when you first adopt it, but if you are not very careful you kill all the life in them. It may seem like you have a real gentle horse, but really you have killed the life and the spirit of one of the greatest animals in nature.  They give up and quit trying.  To me this is sad.  

I feel the same way when I drive through the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.  We took the life and spirit out of so many of the proud people of the Oglala Sioux Nation much like the wild horse.

It is important to make sure we match the spirit with the pressure we or the environment we create is going to put on the animal.  If we don’t get things matched up this creates stress in the animal that could affect performance, cause sickness, vices, or even death.  Imagine trying to run a normal dairy operation with a herd of buffalo.  If you took a herd of dairy cows and dumped them in Yellowstone National Park that would be great for the wolves, but not so good for cows.

This is the challenge we have in range livestock production.  You must have livestock that can survive and prosper in wilderness conditions with the lowest inputs possible, but after they have “grown out” of the range stage, they must adapt to a much more confined setting.

Life is easier.  A highly nutritious and palatable diet on a regular basis and good fresh water any time they want is like a dream for an animal.

Life may be too easy.  A lack of exercise seems to be one of the real problems for livestock that don’t have to graze and travel to water, or have predators to stay away from.  We may need to take our dogs and our cattle for a walk.

This  becomes the challenge.  In the wilderness livestock want to know they can move away from danger.  In a small pasture or lot they feel like this is not possible.  If human interaction is done in a way that creates fear, the animal will always be hunting a way out and will actually put stress on itself even when there is no real threat.  As an example, picture an animal pacing back and forth in a cage or stall.

I go back to my young horses I am riding.  I want to get them productive, safe, and content with the world I have created for them and not take the life and spirit out of them in the process.  The more skill I develop to do this the better it is for them and for me.

From what I see it is of the utmost importance that we learn how to acclimate range animals to the good life we can provide them in the finishing stages of animal production.

You can look at it the same way you look at working with a wild horse.  Help them to understand how to take the pressure.  Don’t put the kind of pressure on that takes the life and try out of the animal.

All animals take pressure differently.  A stockman reads this and learns to put the pressure on in a way that controls the life but does not kill the spirit.

I thank Tom Dorrance for really getting me to want to explore the subject of spirit.

~ Curt Pate

Spirit

This is a word that has many meanings and interpretations.  I have been riding a couple of horses lately pretty steady.  I have not gotten to do this much as of late and am certainly enjoying it.

I am working hard on getting them handy, safe, and content with me and the work we will do while not taking the spirit out of them.  This is the spot that does not get talked about much, but I think it may be the difference in horsemanship styles.  The way you go about controlling movement can kill the spirit or keep it there.

Horses with all the horse left in them don’t work for many situations.  Many riders don’t have the skills to ride a horse with lots of life and spirit.  Imagine a dude ranch with a bunch of spirited horses.  Beginning and novice riders need horses that are as sensitive to pressure as the jockey is at giving it.

This has had a big effect on horsemanship.  In the show world we take the life out by loping circles and drilling the horse so they can be shown.  In the world of horsemanship clinics we must get control of the horse physically by bending and disengaging the hind quarters of the horse, to try to keep the rider safe even though he is behind the action of the horse.

It is very important to be safe, so I am not saying it is wrong to match a horse with a rider’s skill level.  But for me I get so much pleasure, pride and performance out of riding the horse for the spirit in them.

To do this you must stay ahead of the horse mentally. If he gets ahead of you, you must be able to ride good enough to get him through it and bring him back to you mentally.  If you overpower him physically by bending him or disengaging the hind end you are able to get control of all the life in him. Then you start over or put the life back in.  If you do this too much you can really take the life or spirit out of the horse.

This to me is important, not only for horses but for all living things.

I have mentioned the book Biology of Belief by Bruce Lipton.  In this book he talks about cellular biology. All living things are made up of billions of cells.  In his study of cells he claims each has three main purposes.  Growth, survival, and to “live.”  Cells need to live it up like the billions of cells that make up the horse that needs to run, buck and play.  If every time the horse shows enthusiasm and we shut it down, we take a little life out of him and some of the spirit.

It seems the same is true in how we deal with people.  Parenting, teaching, being a boss or a preacher can be done in many styles.  The ones I enjoy observing the most are those that get the job done with spirit and not killing the life and enthusiasm in the person.

I hope this gives you something to think about.  If we navigated our way through life trying to create spirit and improve quality of life by matching spirit with the environment the animal or person is in, there may be much less negative pressure and the stress it creates.

~ Curt Pate

My inspiration

The title of the picture in the Monday Morning Photo is “El Vaquero” by Ernie Morris. Ernie is a left-handed roper (everyone knows left-handed ropers are the best) so he and I had something in common, and along with it we have a pretty good roping story. I own a lot of his prints and had a whole series of them in my tack room in Montana.

fiesta poster 4-14-2014

What I see in this picture is a horse that is balanced mentally and physically.  His ears are forward and his mind is right out in front of them to where they are going.  He is not distracted by the other horse leaving him.  The rider and the horse are both looking and headed in the same direction. He is not a very big horse, but looks to have a good frame that would be nice for a circle horse, corral horse, or rope horse.  He is not bad to look at either.

The way the man is setting on the horse, he looks like his is not getting in the way of the athletic ability of the horse at all.  His saddle is set forward to put him closer to the balance point of the horse.  He is sitting with his chest over his saddle horn to keep balance between horse and rider and not create a drag on the horse by the way he is riding, yet is able to use his legs for balance for high level maneuvers, as any athlete would.

The man has nice gear and dresses very traditional for Californio-style.  His horse is in the bridle and if you can do your work with your horse in the spade bit style, and he stays in balance and does not gap his mouth, you have spent the time to learn to keep a horse correct.

His saddle has no back cinch and no breast collar so it must fit fairly well.  He also is packing a reata, so he must have enough feel to be able to rope something and slip rope so as not to break his rope or pull his saddle off.

His get down rope is ornately tied around his horses neck in the way of a fellow that does not have to get off and lead his horse too many times in a day.  The alamar knot on his horse says when he gets to the corral he does not tie or hobble his horse, but uses him to work cattle.

You can’t tell how skilled a person is from a painting or a picture, but you can sure tell his potential.

Everything about this says high skill and stockmanship.  There may be some things I can’t see, but like the story of the natives not being able to see the boat when Columbus first showed up, I have studied a true stockman’s skills, and I feel I am starting to see it.

There are many styles of stockmen around the world, and this is just one example of the different types.  It should not be looked at as a contest to see which is best, but what style or combination of these styles is best applied in every person’s situation using the best type of pressure possible to achieve the goal you are trying to accomplish.  This is probably true in life style as well.

There is also the big picture we need to look at.  The mission in the background says he may be a man of faith.  He has a full head of grey hair, so I would imagine lots of knowledge.  He is in excellent physical condition and looks to be healthy so he has lived a good lifestyle, most likely a beef-eater.  He has leather cuffs on his wrists and a nice scarf and a white shirt with a sleeve garter, and wears his hat like a man that is proud and confident.

I don’t know if my  way of “seeing” this picture is the way it really was.  That does not matter as much as what it does to inspire me to reach a level I would like to get to.

If you ask people to explain why they use certain gear or a type of saddle many times they have no real idea why, it’s just what someone else is using.

When you ask someone  why they work cattle the way they do or ask them to explain it to you, many will not know what to say or do.

Learn to know what and why you are using or doing something.  Don’t do it because everyone else is.  Do it or use it because it’s the best for you. Always try to get better.
Always.

You need to “see it” to get this started.

~ Curt Pate

Nevada “Range War” Seems A Tough Story To Unravel

Image via The Dana Show

Sharing at Curt’s request:

By now most of the nation is aware of the self-proclaimed “range war” brewing on the ranch of Cliven Bundy in Clark County, Nevada. The situation is complex, and like most complex issues it’s hard to pinpoint who’s in the right and who’s in the wrong on this one. Throw in the various spins the talking heads of the media are taking on the story and we will likely never get a straight answer.

If nothing else, the Bundy ranch difficulties show how difficult it is to ranch in the West under the supervision of bureaucrats.

Click here to read more in my latest Beef Producer blog on Fodder for Thought.

~ Jesse Bussard

See it

If pressure is the secret to life, it sure is worth some more time to analyze.

I mentioned quantum physics last week.  There is a movie titled What The Bleep that I watched several years ago which really gave my mind some things to try to figure out.

One part  talked about when Columbus came to the Americas. The natives knew something was there but could not process what they were because their brains could not translate what their eyes were seeing.  The ships were there but they could not see it.  The spiritual leader sat and studied until his mind could process what his eyes were seeing, until it became clear to him. Then he helped the others to “see it.”

This was an extremely difficult thing for me to understand. I am not sure if it happened just that way but it helped me to understand it is important to see things as they are.  To do this you really need to think about it.

This is the thing with pressure. Sometimes you can’t see it or understand its effects until it has created a problem. Then the focus becomes the problem, not the decision which created too much or too little of the wrong kind of pressure.

If you are trying to put cattle in a pen and they keep running back past you the thing you may think you should do is build a wing fence.  Then you can force the cattle to go in the pen.  But when you force them to go in the pen they may get exited, go on the fight, and become dangerous or very difficult to work.  The next time you try to put them in the pen they may anticipate this and you won’t even be able to get them to the wing fence.

If you have only ever put cattle in a pen with a wing fence, that would be all you knew.

But if we would of learned how to put the pressure on the cattle at a different angle and a different amount, the cattle may have went in the pen comfortably and not have had a bad experience at all. They would actually have gotten better to work because of the proper pressure.

Once someone demonstrated this to you, you would be able to “see it” and work on your application of pressure to cattle and maybe even take it even farther than you thought possible.

Another place I think pressure comes on the human level is borrowing money.  If you were to decide to go on vacation and borrow the money, you would have lots of fun on the trip for a short time, but then you would spend the next year sacrificing or having a hard time making ends meet because of it. The negative pressure may have made the trip not worth it.

But if you were to decide you wanted to go on a trip, made sacrifices, and saved your money for a year, you would get the satisfaction of saving, have that sense of pride, and you would get the good memory of the trip. Through this way you would not feel the pressure to have to pay for something.

This is why I feel it is so important to really understand the pressure we put on ourselves.  I have read that the subconscious mind can’t tell the difference between real and imagined. Bad news, negative people, negative thoughts all put pressure on us that we may not even be aware of.

The way we care for our animals and handle them put pressure on them and us.  Negative pressure creates stress, positive pressure creates contentment.

There is a book titled The Biology Of Belief by Bruce Lipton.  It helped me to understand what negative pressure or stress really did to our body and immune system.  It is real important to be able to “see it.”

Learn the difference between good pressure and bad pressure.  Don’t be like the sheep following the other sheep into a draw to pile up and suffocate from the pressure, be the sheep that goes through the gate to green pasture.

~ Curt Pate

The secret to life

I have had lots of things happen in my life which have given me ideas to write about on this Scoop Loop deal.  It has helped me to understand and think about why and how I think. Writing this has been one of the most enjoyable things I have done, and hope it has been a benefit to you as well.

When I was young I spent a lot of time with my grandfather, Leonard Frank.  We were talking about steam engines, and he told me the most important part on the steam engine was the pop-off valve.  If the steam pressure got to be too much the pop-off valve popped off before the whole thing blew up.

I have not heard much more about pressure for lots of years, or if I did I don’t remember. When I got interested in learning more about working with horses, I started hearing about pressure and release.  This was very helpful in learning how to work with animals.

As time went on I ended up getting interested in reading and learning a lot about
life from different points of view such as the Dalai Lama, conversations with God, reading the Bible several times, financial gurus, meeting and talking with many very successful people, meeting and talking with very unsuccessful people, learning about quantum physics, and all kinds of other stuff.  I was putting quite a bit of information in my head.

There are so many different ideas and opinions about the so called “secret to life.”

I sat on a airplane with a young lady awhile back.  She was very outgoing and talkative. Somehow we got on the subject of life, happiness, and all the spirituality stuff, and it just kind of popped out that I thought the secret to life was proper pressure.

I really believe this is true.  The pressure we put on ourselves through action or inaction creates quality of life.  The people we choose or are forced to be around creates pressure that increases or decreases quality of life.  The kind of pressure we put on other people and animals creates quality of life.

It is so simple.  The pressure you create in your life, how you learn to accept pressure, and the kind of pressure you create for others is the real key.

So many decisions we make for immediate self satisfaction create excessive pressure in the future.  If we don’t put enough pressure on at times, it can create the need for more pressure than we can or know how to create.

Some of us can take more pressure than others.  Some of us put more pressure on than others.  If you are around situations that create more pressure than you can take, or if the situations you are around don’t create enough pressure to satisfy you, you may not be content or happy.

So from my way of seeing things, we should make all decisions based on the pressure they will create.  This could be looked at to improve things on a world scale to a personal level.

The challenge is that we don’t have a pop-off valve on the world or our personal relationships.  This is why I think it is important to learn how to create, apply and accept pressure in the amount that is proper.  It is also very important to know if you can’t take the pressure you must get it reduced or you will not be satisfied.

I think this is worth a little time thinking about and looking at the pressure in your own life. Are your decisions creating the proper pressure for you and the others around you?

With all the problems with health and happiness in our world, it looks like the next technology should be a human pressure gauge, but we may already have one.  It’s called a brain.  Use it wisely because it is also the pop-off valve.

~ Curt Pate