Category Archives: Communication

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.

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