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Temple Talk

Here is a trailer of Temple Grandin speaking at the Best Horses Practices Summit.  I’ve seen her speak and present lots of times but I felt she was really “on” at this one and I think it would be worth the money to listen to this.


The video reminds me of a “Ted Talk” so I titled it Temple Talk.



I am headed home.  I was last there the 6th of September.  I sure am ready ready.  My flight from Pasco to Denver is my 90th on United this year and that’s important as it puts me at Platinum status, which means that I can check two bags for free and one can be over fifty pounds.  I can take my saddle for free and that saves a lot of money for the year.  I also get a better chance at good seats.

I had a hard time sleeping last night as I have had so much information in the last weeks go into my brain and I was trying to process it all.  

We just finished the Stockmanship and Stewardship event in Pasco, Washington.  I ended up eating with and sitting with the crew from Beef Northwest, and talked to lots of cowboys in the crowd.  I am drawn to the Hispanics and the horseback culture and We always have things to discuss.

These are the people I have the most in common with.  I don’t have a P.H.D. but I am a good P.H.D. (post hole digger), and most of the folks that are hired to handle and take care of animals are the same.  The ones that are working in all kinds of weather and all kinds of conditions for the lowest pay are the ones I can and want to relate too.  We need to give them the tools and support to get the job we ask them to do done.  

They have to be tough to work the hours and in the conditions the livestock industry requires.  There are certain cultures they follow and are and should be real proud of that culture.  Sometimes the culture gets in the way of how management wants things done and how the culture has got it done.  I feel if I can help bridge this gap, I will serve a real good purpose in the world. 

I also was thinking about how different our culture of the whole industry is from the rest of the world.  Up until 150 years or so ago everyone had to deal with animals in North America.  Horses were used for work and livestock was for meat and milk.  They say less than 2% of the population is involved with production agriculture, but just think how small the percentage is of those involved with animal agriculture.

I wonder what percentage have pets, and now look at animals completely different than their ancestors of 150 years ago.

Wife Tammy has been at “The Home Ranch” for two weeks doing yoga and horsemanship.  The ladies that come want to interact with horses and get more at one with their bodies, mind and spirit.  It’s a real great place and you don’t go there if you don’t have some money to spend.  

It gives me the chance to see just how different the world those of us that produce beef are from those that might eat beef.  One of the big things they were dealing with was the weather and if they would ride in the indoor arena, outside, or not ride at all. (The people that are responsible for the care of livestock don’t have that option)Another big dilemma was praying before the evening supper.  Lots of different faiths and beliefs bringing out “egos” at a yoga retreat.  From my understanding yoga is about letting go of your ego and acceptance of others. Interesting.

I’m pretty sure most of the ladies are very concerned about how the food they eat is raised.  I bet lots of them are willing to pay extra for “cage free” or “free range “ and are concerned about animal welfare. 

Most of them have know idea about animal care and welfare and what it takes to produce good healthy beef.  They have lots of opinions on what is right and wrong, but have know idea of the facts and science, just what someone marketing to them is putting in there mind.

At all the Stockmanship and Stewardship events we have done this year we have been presenting to people that are in the business of raising beef. Hispanic pen riders, cowboys, farmers, feedlot operations, grass fed beef producers, people wanting to get into the beef business, students and all other levels of producers wanting to raise beef in the name of BQA which stands for  beef quality assurance.  Everything is about animal welfare and science to produce better and healthier beef.

It looks to me like we all want the same thing, we just have different opinions of what it is.  Why?  That’s a good question.

I have been thinking about the brain science I heard about last week.  The release of chemicals that make humans and animal feel good and the release of chemicals that make humans and animals feel bad.  

I watched a movie many years ago called “What the Bleep”.  It was all about quantum physics and how people’s thoughts and feelings created their behavior.  I’m going to watch it again.  I feel this is the answer to most of our questions we are trying to answer.  If we want to change the habits and behavior of our workers, our customers, and our animals we must understand how the brain works and look at things from a scientific standpoint to overcome the emotions of fear, greed, and ego and overcome it with facts, common sense and true compassion for humans and animals.

As I look back over the last month, much of the funding for the livestock conferences I have been involved with were from big Pharma.  Zoetis in Canada and Mexico, Boehringer Ingelheim sponsor the Stockmanship and Stewardship tour, and Elanco was a big sponsor of the conference in Monterrey, Mexico.  They are all very dedicated to animals and the people that raise them.  If there was not a need for them they would go away.  

For some reason it seems that they have become the enemy and the negative part of our industry to the consumer.  “All natural, hormone free” is the easiest way to change the brain response for a housewife that cares about her family.

Free range brings a wonderful feeling to people that don’t know.  The cows that are being predated on by wolves in the Northwest would be much more content in a confinement barn.  They are living in total fear and the conception rates and sickness rate show how stressed these animals are in this “free range “ environment.

So after a month and a little on the road I have become even more passionate about my job and inspired by all the great people I come in contact with that are so dedicated to people and animals.

One last thought.

I’ve been to lots of livestock meetings in the last several years.  At many they pray before the meal (mostly in the south ). At many they don’t. (mostly in the north)I have never heard anyone complain about how or if they prayed.  The only ones I know what religion they are are the Catholics that cross themselves.  I’m sure there have been Jewish, Amish, Protestants, Baptist’s and even some atheists.  They just adjust and do their own thing and let others do their own.  When there is no prayer offered I see lots of folks praying on their own.  I think people of the land become more tolerant because of the life we must live.  Drought and death will make some things seem pretty trivial and puts faith into perspective.  Working with Mother Nature and animals is good for the body and soul.  I feel sorry for people that don’t get to be a part of it. 


We are in Pasco, Washington for the Stockmanship and Stewardship event.  The facility is named “Trac” and I was here several years ago at a horse expo.

I was the first one on the program and I was on a horse we called Sewball, so named because I liked a song by that name by Robert Earl Keen.  They had an arena set up and then a bunch of 12×12 pens to display horses and booths to display merchandise.

I was sitting on Stewball drinking a cup of coffee with my cinch real loose.  They had a lady singing the National Anthem and I had my hat off and my reins over my saddle horn.  Stewball was always messing with me(he had lots of personality) and he started pawing so I put weight in my right stirrup to get him to quit.  My saddle turned  and he whirled around bucked me off and bucked around and through the trade show and horses all while the National Anthem was being sung.  It was really a wreck and it just happened that my friend and good cowboy buddy Pat Beard had walked through the door to see the whole thing.  It was quite a way to start the horse Expo.

It was really funny and only a few of the stallion owners were a little upset to have a horse bucking through their pens.

It is a great song and coming here brought back some great memories.






We finished the third Stockmanship and Stewardship event in Stephenville, Texas last Friday and Saturday.  Many conferences start at 1 in the afternoon so they don’t have to provide a noon meal.  It’s just economics as food is a big expense.  Not in Texas.  They not only fed us lunch, but Catered Heart 8 Bar-b-que which is very good.  We ate very good the whole time, from great cow beef tenderloin to full breakfast and fajitas for lunch.  

Everything was great from the facility, the horses, cattle, staff and speakers and the attendees.  Once again, a great learning experience on lots of thing having to do with Stockmanship, Stewardship, and Beef Quality Assurance.

The theme of the program was how to make the change to better stockmanship. They had three very prominent stockman on a panel discussing how they had seen and made changes in the operations they were involved with.

They all spoke about Bud Williams, a very well known and respected stockmanship expert.  All three on the panel told as to how he kind of offended many of the people that  came to learn or were there to help.  Many were cowboys that got offended.  I watched the crowd as they told the stories and most were very amused and almost seemed to approve.  Bud Williams skills were great and valuable, but many of the folks missed the chance to learn because of their state of mind.

It is always fascinating to me to see how some people get offended and how some are willing to not get offended from the desire to learn.  I’ve seen many horseman and stockman make people feel bad, and I just don’t understand how  anyone really benefits.  

It was daughter Mesa’s Birthday so we met in Fort Worth and ended up going to the snaffle bit futurity to watch.  It was the reining competition when we were there.  Mesa knew lots of folks and introduced me to some.  One fellow had worked for a real well known colt starter several years ago.  He was a little surprised at how he went about it as the boss was a student of Tom Dorrance, a real legend in the horse world for getting people to use the right pressure on horses.  He wasn’t bad mouthing him and didn’t say he thought he was wrong, just that he though it would be different.

I really enjoyed the day with Mesa, and am so proud of the hand she is and that she is searching and working to be the best she can be in her way, not mine or anyone else’s.

I flew to Durango, Colorado next for the “Horseman’s Summit”.  I was asked to come and introduce Temple Grandin as she was the keynote speaker.  She gave a great presentation and the people in attendance ate it up and really got some ideas.  She didn’t tell one thing about how to sit the horse or hold you reins or any of the training things.  It was all about the mind, and right and wrong in the way we care for and handle our animals.


[Temple and I horseback doing a cattlehandling video for NCBA.  Temple suggested I use a GoPro on my horse to get some good video.  She really does think in pictures.]

In the past I didn’t see how valuable her presentations were and I let my and other people’s egos get in the way of my learning from Temple.  Just like her not improving the way I sit on or handle my reins when I am riding,  she might not tell me the proper place to be gathering cattle in the pasture(and she might)what I learn from her enhances what I know from experience and other people.

I don’t think many cowboys want to learn from her, not because she says things that offend them, it’s because she is to different and they can’t make the transition.  Too bad for them.

The next speaker was Dr. Steve Peters, and he spoke on horse brain science. He speaks about working with horses from the scientific side as far as fear based reactions and pressure and release of pressure and what it does to the brain and how different training methods effect the brain activity.  I enjoyed it as I think I might be on the right trac with my thinking.  If it went against what I thought I might not of enjoyed it near as much.  It would depend on my “ego-nomics” for that day.(I just made that word up)

There were lots of good speakers on really interesting and important subjects.  They had live demos in the afternoon to tie in with the lectures in the morning.

The first day was great and I had lots to think about.  I heard several comments about how terrible the “ futurity “ world was.  The people at the conference had a completely different opinion than the people in Fort Worth that hooped and hollered when a snaffle bit horse got in the ground and slid to a stop or turned around really fast.  One interesting thing was that a previous speaker and a very well thought of clinician whose name was mentioned many times in a real positive way at the conference was the same person that the fellow had mentioned had started Colts and thought he did things faster with the young horses than he would have.  This fellow was showing horses at the futurity. So the people that were criticizing the futurity world for too much pressure thought highly and almost worshiped the fellow that the guy showing horses in the futurity world thought put a lot of pressure on when starting colts.  Interesting.

The second day was great for me.  Dr Rebecca Gimenez Husted  gave incredible presentation on horse rescue and preparing for natural disaster and preventing man made disasters.  We need this presentation in the beef industry.

Next up was a speaker from Germany.  His name was Dr. Gerd Heuschmann, a veterinarian and student of classical dressage and “Biomechanics in Riding” was the title of his presentation.  I was very surprised when he mentioned the name of a fellow I have rode and roped with a lot, Rolland Moore, and how impressed he was with his horses and horsemanship.  His talk was on improper riding and training creating lame and bad minded horses.  He was a great speaker and used the science of the anatomy of the horse to prove his thoughts.  

Again it fit with many things I believe so I liked it very much, and proved in my mind I’m on the right track.  I’ve been criticized very much on my stance on overbending of horses by some in the horse world.  If you are interested in the horse mentally and physically, you have to see what effects things have on the horse.  If your ego causes you to only see it from a different point of view, like how you want to see things, you might not be able to see it.

He also challenge my thinking on some of the things I have been saying so I have to rethink some of the things I thought in my study of classical dressage.

We had lunch together and talked a lot and went out and watched the arena demos together.  I learned a lot on how to sit better on a horse.  I really am exited about the new things I am thinking about and bought both of his books and just about have one of them read.

I really didn’t know why in the heck I was there and was thinking I could be home.  I am so glad I was there.  When I looked at the audience the folks (mostly ladies) really enjoyed it.  There were a couple other guys that were soaking up the knowledge and it looked like they would use it.

You see, it seems to me the cowboys of the world, or the upper level English riders were not there but really needed to be. The crowd that was there were just adding to what they already believed.  I’m not sure any one in attendance had a life changing experience.

The same thing happens at cattle events.  The ones that come are not the cowboys that got offended when someone did things different, unless the boss makes them come.  That’s where I think it is important to draw them to better stockmanship and horsemanship rather than driving them away.

I think it has a lot to do with what Dr Peters had to say about the brain and it’s reward and fear systems.  Same thing that goes for horses might go for humans.  We need to look at this to get better “people-man-ship” skills to get people to change.

So the bottom line is everyone has some ego and some opinion.  We all want others to have the same thoughts as we do.  The more you believe the more you want others to believe, and the more you want to be around like minded folks.

We all have the choice to decide what we think is right and wrong.  We have the choice to put pressure on ourselves and create contentment or stress in our lives.  I want to be content and have made decisions to not be around people that create stress and pressure in my life, or at least not accept the negative pressure from them.  I have the ability to do that, and so do you.  You can create your own pressure and contentment level in life.

Animals can’t.  When you put a fence around an animal you just changed his freedom and abilities to make some decisions.  Because of this we are responsible for the pressure and contentment in our animals life.

The big question is are you willing to look at common sense and science to really analyze and see if you need to change, or is your ego in the way.  Can we find ways to get others to do the same?  If you really care about animals and people you will try.


I thought this would be a nice way to end this discussion.  Will your ego allow it?


Grizzly bears and waking up on the wrong side of Mexico

I spent the last four days in Mexico.  The symposium in Monterrey, Nuevo León was really great.  A couple hundred people came to the pre symposium live cattle handling I did and their were six hundred at the main conference.


The people I have been exposed to in Mexico are really open to learning.  They are such good hosts.  Dennise Garza and her husband Manual picked me up and took care of me the whole time I was there.  I had met a few of the people that were at the conference when I was in Mexico previously, but most were all new.  I ate lots of Mexican carne and enjoyed it.



The demo was very challenging.  I had flown all night and didn’t get much sleep so I was a little more fuzzy minded than normal (75% fuzzy rather than 50%).  They didn’t have enough ear pieces for all the attendees so we hooked my microphone to the translators earpiece and then he would translate over the PA in Spanish.  It really throws my delivery off and it took a while to get comfortable.  The cattle were real nice to work and the facility was good so that part was a big help.

When I spoke at the symposium they had earpieces for everyone and it was much easier.  I don’t do PowerPoint so I just get up there and start talking without really knowing where I’m going to go.  It really makes me nervous before I start as it all has to come to you as your presenting and I am real nervous about going over on time.  There were lots of really good presentations before me and they all used PowerPoint, so the crowd was about “slided”out so I think it’s good to present using a water bottle and my Greeley hat.

It also challenges me to come up with different ways to present stockmanship and helps me not to get stale saying the same presentation over and over.  My mind just doesn’t work that way.  The only problem is that I always miss something that was important to say, and lots of times I say things I shouldn’t.

The interpreter got a big kick out of one thing I said.  They wanted to put a GoPro on one of the heifers to put back through the chute.  I had done it before with a harness deal that comes with the GoPro.  I was trying to get it on and off in the chute and I said I would have been a lot better at this when I was a young man with a lot more “bra”practice.  Sometimes I talk faster than I think, and it’s better to be like my friend Kelly Pollard that thinks faster than he talks.

We had great meals, lots of companionship, and lots of great Mexican hospitality from the sponsors and the hosts.

After the two days in Monterrey, I flew to Cancun to a Feedlot symposium put together for key customers of Zoetis Mexico.  Here I knew many of the attendees and most of the Zoetis people, and had my favorite lady in Mexico, Lulu translating.

I felt very comfortable and my friend and fellow cattlehandling instructor Estaban ? helped me with what they would like to focus on.  I was the opening presenter so they were all fresh and awake.  It was a good afternoon and evening.

We were at an all inclusive resort so we ate good.  I went to bed and was looking forward to getting up early and going for a swim.  I listen to KGHL on the internet in the morning but the programming was not at the correct time.  I got to putting things together, looked at the map and realized I was on the gulf side of Mexico instead of the pacific.  I had always thought Cancun was on the west side and never had looked.

I woke up on the wrong side of Mexico!  It was a good swim in the early morning, then at breakfast I had a nice visit with Guillermo González, the one that coordinates my work for Zoetis in Mexico.  Somehow the conversation got on Grizzly bears.  He shared this photo of the last Grizzly bear killed in Mexico. I think it was in the early 1960’s.


I watched the conference for a bit and then off to the aeropuerto to fly to Texas for the Stockmanship and Stewardship event.  Come see us if you are close Stephenville, Texas.

Tri Tip

If you read much or know me you know I really like to eat.  If you have eaten with me, you know I like meat, and beef is the meat of choice.  I like steak, burger, and all kinds of beef except liver.

Today I got to enjoy one of my favorite cuts and preparation methods of beef.  Californio style tri-tip is soo good.  Add in the facts that it was prepared in the traditional style of an oak fire ten feet from the cattle pens at Visalia Cattle Market with Ian Tyson and Dave Stacey music playing in the background, and I shared a meal with great producers of the very product we were eating, and we ate off the bed of a real nice truck with one of my favorite people, Jill Scofield,  it just doesn’t get any better than that.


I had a real nice set of calves to work with in my demonstration and the ring is good sized.  We had had a conference call a while ago and Randy Baxley and his wife Beth who run the outfit wanted to really focus on producers working their calves better for BQA and industry standards.  California Beef Council agreed and shared in getting me there.  So that was the focus of the demonstration.


The calves they let me use were great and really responded to pressure with a lot of feel. After Dinner I got to visit with Dick Knox who has supported BQA for a long time in California, and Celeste Settrini, who is a big supporter of it now.  It was a real nice day for the guy with the best job in the world.



Seat 3B music

It was Ian Tyson’s 85th birthday last week, heard about it on KGHL radio.

We drove by “Deadman Creek” on the way to Kamloops from Williams lake (if you are not a fan, Tyson sings about went there riding colts when young.

I sat in seat 3B on my flight from Calgary to San Francisco.  The Visalia Stocksaddle Company was famous for the tree by that name.

i am working in Visalia, California tomorrow at the auction market.

With all those reminders how could I not feature this song.

Ian, thank you for all the great music and keeping it traditional.