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I’ve had some real good learning and enjoyable experiences in the last few days.  

In Mossleigh, Alberta I was working with Shawn Wilson and Zoetis again and we went to a feedlot that had been closed down for a few years and the Schooten’s have purchased and are  putting it back in production.  They were redoing the important things and doing it right.  Very hands on management that really want things to work and to do it right.  Lots of cattle, lots of new people, lots of experienced people, and lots of money invested to try and capture a profit from the resources they have the opportunity to use. 

I really felt exited to be a little part of the rebuilding of something so valuable to our industry and to the consumer.  If the Schooten family didn’t have the guts to step up and take some risk, the feedyard might have never gotten back in operation and shut down for good. It is very important to the whole beef industry to to keep all the spokes of the wheel in good operating condition to keep us rolling forward.  We need to use all the tools and niches available to make it profitable and sustainable for the future, and create employees and management to use them.  They are getting after it.

Next I headed south to Ardmore, Oklahoma.  Heather Buckmaster of Oklahoma Beef Council partnered up with the Noble Foundation and we had a Stockmanship and Stewardship event.  I’ve done lots of demonstrations for Heather and have followed and learned from the Noble foundation for years so I was real glad to do a demo for them, but to add to it my daughter Mesa lives in Ardmore.

It was one of those days. I flew into DFW the night before and headed north to Ardmore early the next morning.  I have driven the route lots of times and have a favorite little place to get breakfast and I stoped and had tacos.  That is one of the real joys of my traveling is good food and most of it is Mexican.  Then I went to Mesa’s and hung out with all the grandkids (4 dogs) while she got ready.

We met the folks from Noble at the arena and made sure everything was ready to go and then off to a good lunch and conversation.

Mesa and I then went out and got horses and headed back to town.  It was fun to think back to when Mesa was first riding.  We had an old horse Willard that I would lead her on checking cattle.  When we would get back to the barn she would hold onto the saddle horn and not let go when I tried to get her off so I would pull the  saddle and her off and set em on the rack and turn the horses out and after a bit she would show up at the house.  

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She is all grown up now and is still all cowgirl.  The tables turned and I got to ride her horse and she helped me with the demo.  I can’t remember a set of cattle that were any better to work in a demo.  They had lots of “feel” and did just about anything we asked of them.  They weren’t wild, but they weren’t gentle either.  When you asked they responded, just like the horse I rode.  It put me right where I needed to be when I needed to be there.  Mesa and I were really on as far as working together and we made a good team.  

 

The crowd was great with lots of people real interested.  We worked horseback out in the open first, then put them in and out of the pens a few times.  Then we broke for a steak supper.

After supper we headed back and I worked afoot in the pens and demonstrated sorting, counting loading and putting cattle through a Bud Box.  They worked real well in the corral on foot too.

Just a real good day of good livestock and good people, that are a part of our good business.  I won’t soon forget it.

I didn’t have to fly out until this morning (Friday) so I got to spend some time with the crew at D and H Cattle.  They have lots of bucking Bulls and know how to get the most out of them.  I had not been there for quite awhile so it was nice to see all the improvements they have made.  They win lots of money and buck lots of bulls, but like the Schooten’s they keep putting it back into the operation.

HD is all about stockmanship as it applies to getting bulls to buck and I really learn so much listening to he and Mesa on what they think needs to happen to get em to bucking and keep em bucking.  The same things are important as with feedlot cattle, but they are applied differently to create what they need for an out come.  Genetics and Nutrition are the base in both.  Next is facility to be able to capitalize on the genetics and Nutrition.  In a feedlot you need a comfortable place and easy access to feed and water.  In the bucking bull world you need that plus the facilities to buck and train and keep the animals and human from getting hurt with some very aggressive and active animals.  I think there are less injury’s to people handling bucking bulls than feedlot cattle because you are always watching and thinking ahead with them.  In a feedlot you get complacent and make mistakes.

We sorted and exercised bulls.  I helped HD trim some feet.  They put them in chute, tie em in and tip on their side and go to working on them with a grinder.  They pay attention to every detail and are so good at what they do.

Sweet Pros Bruiser is the big star around there.  He has a fresh sand pen, fans to keep the heat down, and they go and pick manure out of his pen.  When you walk by he sides up to the fence to get scratched.  They exercise him every day. 

HD was out in the pen with him talking to someone and took his pocket knife out and scratched the dry manure off his butt.  I guess when you have a bull that has won the PBR bull of the Year Twice as well as PRCA bull of the year you can spoil him just a little.

Watch this video!

I’ve had some real good learning and enjoyable experiences in the last few days.  

In Mossleigh, Alberta I was working with Shawn Wilson and Zoetis again and we went to a feedlot that had been closed down for a few years and the Schooten’s have purchased and are  putting it back in production.  They were redoing the important things and doing it right.  Very hands on management that really want things to work and to do it right.  Lots of cattle, lots of new people, lots of experienced people, and lots of money invested to try and capture a profit from the resources they have the opportunity to use. 

I really felt exited to be a little part of the rebuilding of something so valuable to our industry and to the consumer.  If the Schooten family didn’t have the guts to step up and take some risk, the feedyard might have never gotten back in operation and shut down for good. It is very important to the whole beef industry to to keep all the spokes of the wheel in good operating condition to keep us rolling forward.  We need to use all the tools and niches available to make it profitable and sustainable for the future, and create employees and management to use them.  They are getting after it.

Next I headed south to Ardmore, Oklahoma.  Heather Buckmaster of Oklahoma Beef Council partnered up with the Noble Foundation and we had a Stockmanship and Stewardship event.  I’ve done lots of demonstrations for Heather and have followed and learned from the Noble foundation for years so I was real glad to do a demo for them, but to add to it my daughter Mesa lives in Ardmore.

It was one of those days. I flew into DFW the night before and headed north to Ardmore early the next morning.  I have driven the route lots of times and have a favorite little place to get breakfast and I stoped and had tacos.  That is one of the real joys of my traveling is good food and most of it is Mexican.  Then I went to Mesa’s and hung out with all the grandkids (4 dogs) while she got ready.

We met the folks from Noble at the arena and made sure everything was ready to go and then off to a good lunch and conversation.

Mesa and I then went out and got horses and headed back to town.  It was fun to think back to when Mesa was first riding.  We had an old horse Willard that I would lead her on checking cattle.  When we would get back to the barn she would hold onto the saddle horn and not let go when I tried to get her off so I would pull the  saddle and her off and set em on the rack and turn the horses out and after a bit she would show up at the house.  

She is all grown up now and is still all cowgirl.  The tables turned and I got to ride her horse and she helped me with the demo.  I can’t remember a set of cattle that were any better to work in a demo.  They had lots of “feel” and did just about anything we asked of them.  They weren’t wild, but they weren’t gentle either.  When you asked they responded, just like the horse I rode.  It put me right where I needed to be when I needed to be there.  Mesa and I were really on as far as working together and we made a good team.  

The crowd was great with lots of people real interested.  We worked horseback out in the open first, then put them in and out of the pens a few times.  Then we broke for a steak supper.

After supper we headed back and I worked afoot in the pens and demonstrated sorting, counting loading and putting cattle through a Bud Box.  They worked real well in the corral on foot too.

Just a real good day of good livestock and good people, that are a part of our good business.  I won’t soon forget it.

I didn’t have to fly out until this morning (Friday) so I got to spend some time with the crew at D and H Cattle.  They have lots of bucking Bulls and know how to get the most out of them.  I had not been there for quite awhile so it was nice to see all the improvements they have made.  They win lots of money and buck lots of bulls, but like the Schooten’s they keep putting it back into the operation.

HD is all about stockmanship as it applies to getting bulls to buck and I really learn so much listening to he and Mesa on what they think needs to happen to get em to bucking and keep em bucking.  The same things are important as with feedlot cattle, but they are applied differently to create what they need for an out come.  Genetics and Nutrition are the base in both.  Next is facility to be able to capitalize on the genetics and Nutrition.  In a feedlot you need a comfortable place and easy access to feed and water.  In the bucking bull world you need that plus the facilities to buck and train and keep the animals and human from getting hurt with some very aggressive and active animals.  I think there are less injury’s to people handling bucking bulls than feedlot cattle because you are always watching and thinking ahead with them.  In a feedlot you get complacent and make mistakes.

We sorted and exercised bulls.  I helped HD trim some feet.  They put them in chute, tie em in and tip on their side and go to working on them with a grinder.  They pay attention to every detail and are so good at what they do.

Sweet Pros Bruiser is the big star around there.  He has a fresh sand pen, fans to keep the heat down, and they go and pick manure out of his pen.  When you walk by he sides up to the fence to get scratched.  They exercise him every day. 

HD was out in the pen with him talking to someone and took his pocket knife out and scratched the dry manure off his butt.  I guess when you have a bull that has won the PBR bull of the Year Twice as well as PRCA bull of the year you can spoil him just a little.

We finally finished about 4 in the afternoon and headed to town for lunch(Mexican of course).  Another great day of learning and sharing, but even better when you get to do it with people that are family.

As I drove back down to DFW I reflected on things and really the feedlot up in Canada and the bucking bull operation in Texas are both doing the same thing.

Using resources from the sky and soil, then using human labor and knowledge to turn those resources into cash flow.  They are both farming operations that sell the feed through bovines.  One operation high quality protein and one high quality athletes.

I’ve had some real good learning and enjoyable experiences in the last few days.  

 

Life In A Long Trot

 

Just spent four great days at the “Home Ranch” in Clark, Colorado.  Great meals, great people(staff and guests) and great scenery and accommodations make for a very enjoyable time.

I have never missed the morning wrangle of getting the horses in in all the years I have been going there.  It is just a great way to start the day to get horseback and trot out and bring a bunch of horses in.  It is the best thing in the world for a young horse to get them moving out and forward with their mind.

I like to long trot.  When you trot it is real easy to to keep your horse with you mentally and physically.  You can swing them up to a real extended long trot and them shorten it up to slow down and the horse stays with you mentally because of the way his body moves in the diagonal of the trot. It’s easy to keep a horse soft in the trot and not get stiff in the face and through his body. In the trot, the balance point of the horse is right with you or under you, and it is easy to speed up or slow down.

The lope is a gate that three feet are going together.  The horse must push much more from behind and has lots of momentum up and this sends the mind out forward and puts the balance point ahead of the horse and rider.  With a young horse or one that wants to run off, it hard sometimes to bring the balance point back with the reins because it is way out in front.  With a horse that might want to go quite a bit, I feel it is important to take them from the long trot up to the lope and then bring them back to the trot before they get scared and the balance point is so far out there you can’t bring it back.  This is what is so great about jingling horses in.  They draw the horse your on forward and you can bring them back.  If you can do it strait and not circle or bend the horse, it really helps to get the the mind and the feet much better and the horse understands much quicker.  

Most of the guest want to lope.  It is very exiting for them.  They all take off and most of them are behind the action and out of control and that is a big thrill.  When they take off they want to be in the lope as fast as possible, and if they weren’t on good horses, they would be way behind the balance point and the more they bounce and flop the more they would be sending their horse forward.

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If they were riding a colt or less experienced horse they would have a huge wreck.  This is the challenge of having a dude horse.  You need something safe but responsive enough for the guest to enjoy themselves.  Tough to find a horse that fits the bill and harder to keep em good.

I rode two nice young horses while at the Home Ranch, and halter broke a baby.  I really enjoy that part of my time at the ranch.  I get to ride and make changes on horses for the better.  It’s such a great feeling I get working with these horses.  To make positive changes without using excessive or the wrong kind of pressure is what I really am working on and enjoy so much.

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Sitting on the plane headed to Calgary I was thinking things over.  I think lots of people are loping through life, on the edge of a runaway.  We try to do to much to fast sometimes and our horse runs off, or we don’t do enough and our horse(life) gets dull and we don’t get very far.  When you are in a long trot you can still see what you need to see, and if you need to lope it’s an easy transition, just as slowing down and enjoying things is. 

This is a pretty good way to think about it.  I want to be at a long trot most of the time when I’m horseback, but able to move up to a lope or run if I need to, or slow down to a walk and enjoy the ride.  I think I will try to live my life the same way.

My Favorite Place on Earth

 

Many times people have asked me my favorite place is.  I’ve been lots of places in the last 25 or so years, and I will have to say one of the places I really enjoy is the Flint Hills of Kansas.  Because of the limestone rocks most of the prairie is not tillable, and it is the same as it has been for thousands of years.

I was asked by my longtime friend Ernie Rodina, whom I have worked for with Purina and Better Horses Radio quite a bit in those 25 years.  We have been through lots of good times and seen lots of horses and horse people together.

I have been on lots of organized trail rides in my life and I can take em or leave em.  If I’m riding a young horse or something that needs a little work I like it a lot better as I get bored otherwise.

The “Dream Ride” as Ernie bills it is very enjoyable to me.  I reunite with lots of my real good friends that I have met in the past in the Midwest.  I met lots of new folks that I really enjoyed this time.

A lot of cowboys are above a trail ride, and that’s ok but they are missing out on alot of  enjoyment and contentment.

We rode  through great country, ate good food(I think I had the best steak I have ever eaten on Saturday night, and I’ve eaten lots of good steaks) was around lots of good friends and like minded people, great entertainment on Saturday night, and we had a great cowboy church service Sunday morning, then finished with a great ride with no big wrecks.

I talked a lot with folks while riding, and I looked across this big old open prairie and I told a young fellow that if you woke up out of a coma you wouldn’t know if you were in the 17th, 18th, or 21rst century.  It was a beautiful site.

I was visiting with another friend and mentioned to ride good country on good horses, eat great food, and go to church and pray along with good friends you pretty much cover all the basic needs for my lifestyle.

So it was a real fulfilling three days.  I also got to spend time with some other good friends before I went to the trail ride that was real special to me.  We may talk about that some other time.

So when people ask me my favorite place is, most of the time it’s right where I am at.  Ryegate, Montana is a great place to live, but so are all the other places I get to live life, as long as you have what you need.

I’m on a big run and will enjoy lots of places in the next month.  I just landed in Denver and will be heading to the “Home Ranch” in Clark, Colorado for 4 days.  Then it’s North to Alberta to work in Feedlots with Shawn Wilson and Zoetis.

From there South to Ardmore, Oklahoma and a demo with Oklahoma Beef Council on the 19th in the Evening.  Then we do the second Stockmanship and Stewardship event in Montrose, Colorado the 21rst and 22nd of September.

Next back North to British Columbia and Thompson River College the 25-27, with Gord Collier and Zoetis,  strait south from their to Visalia with California Beef Council for a presentation at a bull sale Sunday the 30th.

As soon as I finish I will board a plane and head south to Monterrey, for a cattle conference in Old Mexico the 1rst and 2nd of October, then I fly to Cancun to Present at Zoetis feedlot symposium on the 3rd.

I’ll fly back North to be part of the third S and S event in Stephenville, Texas on the 12 and 13th.  From Texas I’ll go back to Colorado to introduce Temple Grandin and participate in the “Horse Summit” in Durango, and that is the 7,8 and 9 of October.  Then I finish up the run in Pasco, Washington for the 4th stop of the Stockmanship and Stewardship tour on the 12th and 13th of October.  Then its back home.

This is a great run and I feel real lucky to get to go to all these places and meet lots of people all in the name of improved Stockmanship.  It was a little challenging to get to all the places but it worked out pretty good.  I have one heck of a credit card bill this month with all of these plane tickets I have bought.

So my favorite place is the place I’m at.  The Flint Hills were great, but I am looking forward to the great adventures I have ahead of me.  I’ll let you know how it’s going.

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Trying not to puke

Just heading home from the first of 5 Stockmanship and Stewardship events presented by National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and Boehringer Ingelheim, this one being in Clemson, South Carolina.  Real well thought out event that was way worth the money and  I can’t imagine why anyone would not attend if they wanted to improve knowledge and skills for producing beef in the modern day beef production model.

I have been starving for knowledge in the production side and quality of life side of animals for a long time, and the more I eat the hungrier I get.  I have spent lots of money on schools and seminars on grass management, animal handling and behavior, marketing and ranch management.  If you knew how much money I have spent on books and videos and audio tapes on these same subjects, and how much time I have invested in studying them, you would think I would be a bunch smarter and handier than I am.

If you look at a lot of the seminars that are offered by some of the “Gurus “ in the industry they seem to be very expensive.  I remember when I went to rodeo announcing school and I told a fellow that had been announcing rodeos for a long time how much it cost, he said I was a fool for paying it.  

The thing the school did was give me a few tools and lots of confidence to step out and get rodeos and go to work and it created a good income for us, and the return on investment for the $1200 was pretty good short term and that was the important thing, especially when you are a young family with lots of dreams but no money.  The thing I didn’t realize is how much those skills I learned and the confidence it created was going to help me all through my working like.  Thank you Bob Fiest and Bob Tallman for taking my twelve hun and giving me great value for it.  I’ll trade money for knowledge any day.

I’ve spent lots of money on Ray Hunt. I’ve spent lots of money on Bud Williams.

They have things for sale that I am willing to pay for.  They are both dead.  I wish they weren’t so I could learn some more from them.  Lots of folks are trying to keep adding to it, but Bud and Ray are done and now we are trying to teach in their name and it is not the same.  For me to pay the same money to someone trying to repeat or say they are teaching what these guys had in their head has never been a good investment of time or money for me and I don’t do it anymore.

I also spend lots of time learning from Temple Grandin.  She is a dedicated teacher of animal husbandry. I have not spent near as much money as Temple spreads knowledge in a different way.  I’ve read lots of her books and studied her videos and designs but have never had to pay for a school or clinic.  It’s a whole different dynamic.

With the gurú type thinking it creates a club type atmosphere.  If your not part of the club your wrong and the enemy.  This is very ego driven (by the club members) and I think very dangerous as it keeps you from expanding your knowledge and skills for you own situation.  YOU CANT BE SOMEONE ELSE!

(I am sitting in seat 8C on an flight home and the guy in seat 8D just got sick and blew chow all over the side of the plane.  I’m writing this to keep my mind occupied so I don’t blow chow!  Just thought you would want to know, and I wish I could be someone else that is somewhere else.)

So with all that, back to the program in Clemson.  It was a two day program that was focused of Stockmanship and Stewardship on the production of Beef.  The presenters were successful producers in the industry willing to share knowledge and instill confidence. Extension personal that are paid to research and present the research they or others acquire, and Ron Gill and myself presenting cattle handling and for the first time and to our surprise, (which we actually like)a trailer and transportation safety demo.  I had watched Clyde Lane do one last year, so I had a good template and then we added the live cattle loading and hauling aspect to it so it turned out good.  I would say something and Ron would have the facts and research to back it up in his head.  I don’t understand how he can know so much.  He knows something about everything!

We got along real good with our horses, the cattle did everything we asked or said we would do, even though some of the “club” members think what we do is wrong.  I feel Ron and I did a  good job of presenting ideas for those in attendance to take home and work cattle better and to explain to others how to work their cattle better.  We will keep getting better at presenting.

(The guy next to me fell a sleep, so I hope he’s better.  If I think about it I go to gagging so I got to get back to writing.)

So the folks that invested the time and money in the two days got this.  Thousands of hours of experience condensed into presentations from industry leaders in a variety of subjects from using poly wire and a fence reel to manage the yearlings that folks learned to grade for marketing abilities when they sell, to inspiration on starting and maintaining a family operation, and a very enthusiastic presenter on what makes a great steak in a meat cutting demo, plus a whole lot more.  Add to that great meals and fellowship with like minded people and I wonder why someone would not attend.

I don’t know what it cost, but the folks from the southeast that put it all together with the crew from the NCBA should be proud of the value they provided for those in attendance.  It will be a great return on investment.

There are 4 remaining Stockmanship and Stewardship events remaining in 2018.  Check out     https://www.stockmanshipandstewardship.org/ to find out more and sign up.

(My seat mate woke up and is feeling much better, turns out his father has a Hereford operation in East River South Dakota)

Passion

People that excel and do very good work have a passion.  The higher the passion the higher chance of becoming good at something, no matter the intelectual level or the athletic ability without passion it is difficult to stay hooked on anything.

My hay supplier is a doctor turned farmer.  The first year I bought hay it was terrible( because of his passion), last year it was excellent quality, and the hay I just bought was excellent (because of his passion).  I don’t think he does it for the money, but he is a hard working, honest guy with passion.

I listen to the Stockmanship website (Bud Williams)as they have a conference call once a month on stockmanship and marketing.  They are very passionate not about only about stockmanship , but specifically Bud Williams style of Stockmanship and marketing.

When folks have passion, it makes total sense to them, and they are willing to do what it takes to pursue the passion.  Cowboys have the passion of horsemanship, roping and handling cattle.  This is why they will work hard at those things and love it, no matter the conditions, but bitch and moan about sitting in a air conditioned swather.  They don’t have the passion for cutting hay as Mark my supplier does.

Create passion and you create dedication and contentment in work.  This is what we must do to get our labor situation on the right track.  

Daughter Mesa has passion about cattle and horses.  Her boyfriend HD has passion for bucking bulls and I would say they are some of the best at getting the most out of a young bucking bull.  

Things are easy to work at and try to be good, if their is passion.  No passion and it’s just a job that makes you tired and bored.

Mesa sent me a podcast to listen too.  It is Derek Begay, a Navaho team roper that is one of the  best headers in the world.  I have been watching the skills of Native Americans with animals and roping, and they have special talents that I am in awe of.  The problem I see is some of them lack passion.  Maybe it’s to easy and they get bored. I don’t know.  I hope you will start listening to this podcast.  If you don’t like it you can stop listening.  It is a very different take on passion and goal setting.  I guarantee it’s not only about team roping, so don’t think if you don’t know about roping or care about rodeo you won’t benefit from it.

Take a listen:

https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/the-score-from-the-team-roping-journal/id1364586489?mt=2&i=1000417931557

long haul stress and stinking up the United Club

 

 

I’ve been getting to observe, learn, reflect and share lots of different ideas and methods in the last month.  I haven’t really felt like writing much.  Writing to me takes a lot of effort in putting thoughts into words and to be honest I get a little tired of telling people all my ideas (I am sure some of you get tired of my ideas).  But I feel a big part of my responsibility to the animals and the industry is to gather up and share ideas.  You can do what you want with em.

The biggest issue I see in the livestock industry from a production standpoint is labor.  The shortage of and skill level creates challenges that I would like to visit about in the next few writings.  I’ll start off with the sector of our industry that is doing pretty well from what I have seen, and the nice way the crew worked.

This is a report I sent to the veterinary group that I was working with.  It was a fun day.  As soon as we were done I stepped off my horse and we headed to the airport.  I had quite a bit of green stuff on my wranglers, if you know what I mean.  When I fly internationally I have a high enough status that I can go to the United Airlines club.  I had plenty of room around me as people in 3 piece suits and wealthy old women must not like the smell of recycled grass.  With my “short brim” Greeley hat and manure smell I’m pretty sure they thought I was a real cowboy.

My plane was two hours late leaving Chicago so I got into Atlanta at about 1 in the morning and by the time I got my car rental I got to my room at 3.  It was a long day, and I think I can relate to cattle being shipped on these long hauls and the stress and fatigue they feel.  I was able to do a good demo the next day at Auburn University, but I pretty much crashed for a couple hours after it.

Heres my report on a ranch in Cochrane, Alberta.  They run 1000 Hereford cows and we pregnancy tested the cows that had their first calf, and they were sorted for the calf sex, the bunch I was a part of was the heifers calves.  Hope you can get some good out of it.

 

My Report I sent to Ceanna Tannas, my liaison with the clinic and my horseback partner for the day.  Great young lady and a good hand.

It was a real organized day of work, from the instructions we got before we arrived, and the whole time working I never wondered what I should be doing.  I liked the way Ron (the boss) followed etiquette and standards of a traditional cowboy crew, but was very easy going and made sure everyone new what there job was and kept everyone safe and organized.

The pressure could have been way to much with the amount of people we had, and the fact that they needed to get two different groups gathered and penned before the veterinarians arrived, but everyone stayed calm and didn’t over pressure the pairs when we started them, moved them and put them in the gate to the corral.  Not one critter ran back and that is fairly unusual with that many riders pushing pairs into a corral.

The sorting got a little unorganized as we were sorting from two different directions and sometimes we were sending cows we sorted right into the other pen that Ron was sorting.  It might have worked better to sort on one bunch, then let the other group sort while the other pushed calves to the back of the bunch.

The nice thing about the sorting is no one rammed and jammed on the cattle so they all got better as they thought their way to freedom rather than being forced out the gate.

On many places I observe to much pressure from to many directions and the cows are confused and scared and the learn bad habits rather than how to move away from pressure and end up worse every time, and before long it is very stressful on the cow and the cowboy.  This was not the case here.  I feel they were learning while being worked.

The actual pregnancy checking seemed to go smooth except for the chute malfunction.  We would put 24 cows into the staging pen, and then feed 4 at a time into the alley leading up to the tub.  This was a real nice number as it was a small tub with a fairly short alley to the chute.  When we had 8 left we would put them all in the alley to have time to go back and get 24 more.  When we did that they would take all 8 rather than 4 and they always had trouble getting them in the tub and up the alley.  I observed much more need for the use of the stick, more safety issues with the closing of the gate, and cattle getting back before the gate was closed.  4 head is a much better, safer number, and I feel the cows will load much easier next time as they had a positive flow going in and out of the tub.

As mentioned before, the only real negative was the head catch on the chute not working properly.  The thing I observed from a distance was no one panicked, they made sure and got the cow released in a quick safe way.

It was nice to have such a good mix of people and the “boss” set up the different people very well to have the more experienced help pair up with the less experienced help to make things run smooth and safe.

We had two young people(Ron’s son and daughter)and they fit very well with the work.  When sorting they were asked to stay out of the corral and they sat on their horses and watched.  When we began working the cows through they were as much help as anyone.  They interacted with everyone, were real polite and seemed to really enjoy what they were doing.  I feel it is so important to involve these kids in a safe, positive way that they learn to work livestock properly and also how to work and interact with a working crew.  They did great.

It was a very well planned, organized morning and a pleasure to be a part of the age old tradition of a crew working livestock combined with the technology of modern science with ultra-sound pregnancy checking and electronic identification for record keeping.  Everyone involved from the owners, working crew and veterinary staff should be proud of the job, but strive to do even better next time.

I feel real fortunate that Zoetis and Veterinary Agri-Health services gave me the chance to work on this nice ranch with a real good crew.