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From Carne Asada to Candy Salmon

Quite a different dynamic coming from Baja California, Mexico to British Columbia, Canada.  Language, food, culture and purpose of animals I dealt with we very different.

The veterinarians I worked for were very much the same as the veterinarios I was with in Mexico.  Herman and  Doug (can’t spell either ones last name) both worked hard long hours and were dedicated to the well being of horses and the people that own them.

The main difference was the purpose and the way the animals were handled and the way the animals handled the people.

In Mexico the purpose of the animals was to make a living from. In BC, the animals were a way to spend money from another source of income.

This creates a whole different situation on how the horses are cared for, how the people handle them, and the rewards they receive from them.

From what I observed, for some of the people I met the horse brought a lot of pleasure, and for some lots of fear, frustration and money spending.  It all depended on the attitude and how well they were matched up to the horse and what they were trying to do.

I don’t know if I helped anyone or not.  I gave them things to think about and try.

I don’t really understand that world and probably never will, so I feel I am better off working with the for profit mindset like Mexico, and leave the for emotion mindset to the people that understand it or want to profit from it.

I really enjoyed the horses I got to work with.  At the first Clinic in Abbotsford we rode the first day in a clinic setting, and the second day I did demonstrations all day from working with baby’s to halter break and an older horse that had some problems and trailer loading issues.



The next clinic was at Nanaimo on Vancouver island.  We had a two hour ferry ride to and from.  It was a new adventure and I sure enjoyed the ride. 


The horses were a little different acting than I am used to, but I really had a nice little bay gelding that I got to ride and made some changes that I was real proud of.  Some folks were interested in the change, and some folks didn’t see it.  I love the horsemanship part of it.


We had a nice evening with real nice people and had some good food.  They served some “candied salmon” and strawberries grown on the place.  Real good eating.  The raccoon was good as well.

Gord Collier has been a friend for a long time.  He, just like the hosts in Mexico treated me like a king in food and hotel accommodations.  (He could of been a lot nicer to me, and maybe shared a few more of his opinions on politics and climate change, as I’m still not sure which side of the isle he’s on). We had lots of fun, worked hard promoting good animal husbandry, Zoetis and the Western lifestyle.


I really enjoyed the time.  I really have to work hard on my proper pressure with people.  The animals are easy, but learning how to accept and deliver the best pressure for people is a very important part of my job, and I want to get real good at it.  It’s not always easy.

I am now headed to Alberta, Canada to meet up with Shawn Wilson of Zoetis and we will work in  Alberta in the for profit (hopefully)cattle world for the week. We will see if there is anything interesting to report.

Crossing Borders

After ten days home I am back on the cattle handling trail.  I just finished two days of work in Mexicali, Baja California for Zoetis Mexico at Bona Prime feedyard and slaughter facility.

It was “muy caliente” so we started at 4 in the morning and were pretty well done by noon because of the heat.  I learned lots about Mexican culture and was able to share lots of ideas on improved cattle handling and animal husbandry.  I enjoy Mexico and the great people I get to be around in the cattle feeding business.  

Communication is so important.  Zoetis hires Lulu, an interpreter and she has head sets for everyone and as I speak she translates.  We spoke about it and she said it is a skill she has that is very difficult for many people as it takes to long to change in the mind for most people, but she can just hear it in English and say it in Spanish, so the timing and flow is right.  It really makes the communication effective.  When I present and the translator has to speak and I have to wait, it really messes up the flow and it becomes a very ineffective presentation.  It is the same as communication with animals, the flow and pressure has to be right.


The cattle are so fun to work.  Most had quite a bit of ear on them (Brahman) and are very gentle.  They had a Bud Box at processing on the receiving side of the lot, and it worked very well (it was a little deep for my liking)to process the new arrivals, and they were very effective at around 100/hour and doing a good job.  In Mexico the big advantage they have is cheap labor so they have more people available to keep the flow of cattle coming.

On the other side of the feedyard they have a tub system.  They were re-implanting, so it was going very fast.  These cattle had 90 days more or less and worked differently than the fresh cattle.  It ended up being a real good spot to show how the proper pressure can change an animals state of mind.

They had two bulls that kept refusing and jumped out and were kind of on the fight.  I asked if I could work them.  I got in the alley with them and about five other bulls and would pressure them to turn around.  As soon as they would start one fella would start making noise  and moving and they would turn back and come to me.  I had to get him to stop, and then I got them to go and they went into the snake with the tub gate being open.  It was a real good example for everyone to see that letting the animal move away from pressure without increasing it could really change the way an animal reacts.  


This is the big thing that I think we all need to understand, and especially the people in Mexico.  They work very hard and the climate and lifestyle is very harsh so they have a hard time taking the pressure of sometimes.

The last animals we went to was the Holsteins, or as they call them “Pintos”.

They were steers, and it was hot by this time and they were all in the shade.

They said they were going to challenge me to get them out of the pen.  They also said they were very aggressive to people going in the pen.


I have been around quite a few Holsteins in the past few years and feel I understand how to present my self to them.  If you walk in the pen and draw them to you they will take advantage of that and take control of you.  If you step in with lots of “presence” you will create a whole different working situation.  So I walked in and got the cattle up and looking at me.  Then I simply opened the gate and some had watched me.  They went right to the gate and I went to the middle of the pen and sent cattle to the movement going out the pen, and they pretty much pulled themselves.


Well, I think they thought I got lucky so they asked for another pen, and they went easier than the first because they had more alley space.  It was great because now they got to see what I was trying to explain.  

It is so rewarding when the people and the cattle are so receptive to new ideas.

I got to help move cattle from the pens to the slaughter house.  “Victor” manages the horses and taking the cattle to the slaughter pens.  It was a very enjoyable time as he didn’t speak English and I had to communicate in Spanish and did ok.  He and the fella helping him were very good handlers and horseman.  I commented on a nice bit that had the shape of a heart on the shanks.  When I was getting ready to leave he sent the bit over and gave it to me.  I’ll treasure it and the kindness he and all the Mexican people showed me.


Some interesting things I learned and saw.

They feed all bulls except the Holsteins.  They Mexican consumer doesn’t like fat, so they feed bulls for the Mexican market.  They feed heifers a different ration and target the export market with them with more of a finish and fat cover  like US fed beef.

At the slaughter house holding pens they had three lead steers.  They used them  to take cattle up to they abattoir.  They would step in behind the tub gate, then turn around and do it again.  They were very valuable to the operation and they were all very proud of them.

After conversations with the owner and managers, it seems the cattle feeding system in Mexico is very solid and a good business model.  I don’t think they have the futures market use like we do, so they buy cattle to make a profit on the true market, and they don’t overpay for feeder cattle like I see see happen in the US and Canada.

They spend money on things that make money.  The feed trucks were good and they had lots of them.  Getting feed to the cattle when they can eat is real important and the cattle eat at night because of the heat.

They had shade in all the pens made out of a local tree with leaves and branches weaved on top of wire.  When you went under it it was much cooler than when it was tin.  It allows the air to flow up and creates shade without the heat coming from the tin.

The cattle coming in were real green and had a lot of chance for compensatory gain.  They took real care at getting them on feed and fed real hi quality feed.

I think we sometimes think of Mexico as being very poor and primitive in the way they do things.  I don’t think that way after being there some.  They do things right in the cattle feeding sector and are making money doing it.

I felt very welcome and comfortable with Carlos the owner and all the managers and workers.  The cattle manager, Antonio was so gracious and helpful and really was interested in what we had to offer.  I feel like we will be amigos in the future want to continue the friendship.



Check out the website and you will see what I mean.

A big thank you to Priscila Castro for all her work and driving me to and from airport and her fun humor.  Zoetis has a good one with her.  We had lots of fun trying to learn to speak English and Spanish on the way to the airport.

The Zoetis Mexico group was great to work with and we had lots of fun and did lots of work.  Very good people that work hard for the company.

I met lots of good people and learned lots of good things, and hopefully I helped them with some ideas and techniques to improve what they do.

Now I am in British Columbia and Alberta, Canada for the next week and a half to work for Zoetis Canada.  I’ll let you know if I learn of any of interest.

Old Shep

We have lots of dogs on our place right now.  We have one old Hangin Tree named Taco.  Tammy got two pups awhile back from Daughter Mesa.  Son Rial has 7 coyote chasing dogs, and Mesa came to visit from Oklahoma and brought 4 dogs along.  That  is 14 dogs

The amazing thing is they all get along, and they don’t chase our cats.

I forgot to put music on last week.  I was trimming one of my big horses feet this morning and the dogs were hanging around eating hoof trimmings.  I had the radio on KGHL and “Grass Roots Gold” was on and they played a Wilf Carter/Montana Slim song and it reminded me of “Old Shep” that was one of my favorite songs as a kid.

You might laugh at my choice of music, but listen to the words and you will get a lump in your throat if you are a dog lover.


Saturday -Mormon-Barbershop-traveling music

i was headed to Iowa last week and I needed to get to Austin, my barber before I left.

I really like Austin as he always has something fun to talk about, hot shaves my neck and it is still $10 dollars.  I don’t think he wants me to tip as I gave him a twenty and he gave me two fives.  If he gives me ones I slip him a couple. He might think I will give him a five, and I might if it was Christmas!

After I came out Wife Tammy was in the car and when I got in she was on the speaker phone with Corb Lund.  Linda Thurston had put her in touch with him to see if he would MC a big event she is putting together called “The Art Of The Cowgirl” .  (Google it)

He was very polite and very humble.  I had spent some time with him in Brandon, Manitoba and he remembered how long ago it was but didn’t remember my brilliant conversation.


Monday and Tuesday I am going to be working in Utah and I am pretty sure there might be some good folks of the Mormon Faith, so this song fits in every way, except for maybe some of the Mormon Principles, but who knows, it’s all how you interpret it.  I like the song and I like how Corb Lund sings about our Western way of life, so here it is



A few things to add to Agape post.  

I got to wondering what “Agape” meant and I looked it up.  My friend Kevin Devine commented on it as well.

This is what I found:

Agape love is selfless, sacrificial, unconditional love. It is the highest of the four types of love in the Bible.


Every time I start mentioning names I forget someone or “someone’s”.

There were so many people making the program work and I just mentioned a few that I remembered names, because we all went to supper together.

There we two young fellows that did lots of work and stayed out of the spotlight.  They had been in the program, then interned and then worked.  I’ve forgotten the one boys name, as he never hung around the horses much but was always going to do something.  He was always on a four wheeler or side by side getting something. Another boy that was real helpful was named Jordan, and he took care of things around the barn and was always looking out for the boys and covering Riley’s back.  Those two boys really new how to work and get things done, and stayed out of the spotlight doing it.

I feel terrible I didn’t mention them.  Jordan has a real proud Mom.

There of lots of real thoughtful folks that have given me suggestions on how to improve my writing in the last few years.  I appreciate the feedback.

When I first started the Web-site several years ago I had Jesse Bussard develop it for me and I would write a scoop loop, send it to her and she would fix all my mistakes.  It worked really good as far as spelling and grammar, and Jesse was really good.  The problem was sometimes my bad grammar and cowboy language is what I want to use to get my point across.

It’s my style.  I try to write them on a airplane or in an airport when the thoughts are fresh and I don’t have anything else to do.  Sometimes I get in a hurry and don’t proof them as well as I should.  I’ve always got something else I want to read or do, so I need to really discipline myself to look them over.

You should be very thankful for spellcheck or it would be much harder to savvy!

I was not very interested in school, especially english so I am terrible at putting sentences together.  To tell you how much fun and how bad I was, the third quarter of my senior year, two of my buddies and myself’s grade point average didn’t add up to a 2 point.  That was all three added together.  I had to work and charm pretty hard just to graduate.

Another thing that some people have suggested is that in this day and age you have to make things real short or you can’t hold someone’s attention.  I don’t want to write about stuff that is not interesting enough for folks to stay hooked.  Thats why I try to write the way I do.  Maybe some people will stay with me to see how many mistakes I make, but I hope to have enough “draw” to keep em hooked.

I get to listen to lots of presentations.  Some people are so good at presenting and if they have that “draw” they can keep an audience hooked no matter what the content.  I listen to some and they can have very good info and pretty soon my mind and everyone else’s is wandering.  It seems the ones that do things by the book and use proper language and don’t have a little “wow” factor you lose em.  I feel it may be the same with writing.  One of the best books I’ve ever read is Charlie Russell’s “Trails Plowed Under”.  Read it sometime and I bet you will figure out he wasn’t listening much in English class either.

I watch the wrangler network a lot as they put rodeos on live.  My old friend and mentor in the speaking world, Bob Tallman would not be the great announcer he is without what I call “The Tallman Factor”.  My father and many old school rodeo folks don’t like his style, but he can sure baffle people with the green stuff that comes out of the back end of the bulls he talks about!

So I will work on doing better and I do appreciate the help and suggestions.  My goal is to promote good stockmanship and stewardship, but I want to do it the best way I can.  I’m not going to have someone proof for me as that changes the meaning sometimes, and I have learned how to run WordPress pretty good, and can do it all myself.

It’s really wet here in Ryegate, Montana.  It’s to muddy to do much outside and its still raining, so I watched two colt starting videos I did for the AQHA clear back in 2007.  I enjoyed seeing our old place, the kids when they were younger, and my old dog Lasso.  I really miss him.  Good memories and I am real proud of how I presented things.  There was some fun stuff on the end of one of them and I will try to record it and put it on the website.  Tammy and I got some good laughs.

So here I am again rambling on to long for your short attention span so I’ll quit.

I am tired of writing and thinking so I would really like to copy and paste to my website, but I will look it over a couple times to see if I have any mistakes.  The trouble is is you have to know a mistake before you can see it.  Sure wish I would have payed more attention in school!

I did pay attention to John Wayne and the Cowboys when he said “Gentleman, this is where school really begins” and the school he was talking about has been my classroom for the last 50 years and I’m proud of that.  I am glad I can “read” a horse and cow better than I can write about it.

Agape Boarding School Horse Sale

I spent the past few days in Stockton, Missouri at the Agape Boys home.  I was asked to come do a clinic for the boys as well as help preview the horses for the sale they were having on Saturday.

The horses were mostly threes and born and raised on the ranch, and started and ridden by the boys on the ranch.  Real nice minded quarter horses with good withers and feet, which are the three things I think are very important things to have in a horse.



The boys were teenagers that lived at the ranch and were in the horse program.

I told them when we started that the hoses didn’t know or care about their past and that I didn’t either, just what they were doing right now.  Some had a little experience before they started at Agape, but most had never been on a horse before.  They tried very hard and did the best they possibly could to please me and their horses.  I never one time saw one of them lose control or get mad at a horse or human while I was around them.

The instructors and staff for the horse program were some of the most caring, genuine, good Christian folks you will ever find.  They were good.  Good to the boys, good to the horses and good to each other, and good to me.  Good.


I got to ride one the the sale horses named Penny.  I really liked her and got along pretty good with her.  We had a good clinic the first day and I hope I gave the boys and the audience some things to consider with their own horsemanship and life.

Several years ago we went to a sale Ray Hunt had in New Mexico.  I went and watched the ride the day before the preview.  There were lots of folks working with the horses and riding.  They were all really training on the horses to get them ready.  What I found I interesting was Ray Hunt didn’t appear to be training on them.  I watched him ride lots of em those two days and he just rode and looked to me like he was just trying to have a real good last couple of rides and make it fun for him and the horse.  I don’t know if that was what was going on but that’s what I imagined.

I decided that I would try to do the same for the boys and the horses.  I wanted the people that were coming to buy the horses a real true look at the horses.  They weren’t perfectly trained.  As a matter of fact in this situation the horses were providing and doing lots of the  training to the boys.  I also wanted these young fellows that had something that they had been a big part of for the last nine months, be the stars and winners for once.

So we had fun and rode and talked and laughed.  The crew backed me up on everything we were doing and we were all on the same page.  The boys worked hard at the clinic in the heat all day, cleaned the place and got it ready for the sale the next day, and stayed up until two in the morning roping and playing, and were back at it  early the next morning.



Sale day was great.  No one new what I had planned for the preview of the horses(mainly because I didn’t have a plan).  All I wanted was to show the horses as good as we could and for the boys to learn and have a day they would never forget.

We saddled up at the barn with lots of people around looking at horses.  I had the boys step on(no ground work) and we left the barn at a long trot going to the pasture to gather the steers and bring them in.  They had been taught and understood cowboy etiquette and it is so important to show the boys and tell them why so maybe a rule has meaning and purpose rather than just something to fight or ignore.

We had fun and went pretty fast and it was good for the perspective buyers to see that real life situation and how well the horses acted.

After we got the cattle in the pens we all went to the arena.  I had the boys strip their saddles and bridles and walk away from their colts.  Most of the colts walked with them or just stayed right where they were.  The horses really seemed hooked on to the boys.  We then caught them, re saddled em and got back on.  Then we lined up on one end and had  a walking race to the other end.

If you broke to a trot you were out.  Then we had a trotting race, and if you broke to a lope you were out.

Of course the boys wanted to have a race at a lope and I new that would turn out bad, so I set it up to trot half way, lope to the fence, stop strait and walk the front end around, trot to the center and lope to the other fence and stop strait.

Well, it didn’t work out quite that way and we had two riders on the ground and things go pretty western in Stockton, Missouri for a little while.  It was just a good old time cowboy wreck and I’m glad I was a part of it and got to laugh with my fellow cowboys.  It wasn’t the horses fault, we just got going a little faster than some of the boys could handle the horses.  The boys got back on and went on like nothing ever happened just like any cowboy crew would.

We then all went out of the arena, and each of the boys came in the arena in the sale order and on the microphone told the audience their name, and all they wanted to about the horse they were showing.  They then did a pattern and pulled a log if they wanted to.  I had a big old lump in my throat several times listening to the boys and how proud they were of what they had done and how much they thought of the horse they had worked with.

They all wanted to work cattle so we did and that was it for the preview.

Kelly Kenney was the auctioneer and he was great to work with and was touched by the boys as well.  Even though he deals with the “Tallman Factor”(rodeo announcer amplification)we had lots of fun messing with each other and doing our best for the program.

The sale was a big success.  Horses sold good, boys showed them good, and I feel buyers got horses that were as honestly shown and presented as good as possible.  What they saw is what they got.

If you have horse plans in the future, I would recommend thinking about the sale next year.

They told me the horse program is the one of many different programs that leads to the greatest positive change for the boys.  They think it is the horse.  I disagree.

I think it is the people in charge of the horse program.  The way they work with the boys is the same way they handle livestock.  The right kind of pressure and the right release of pressure.  Just like the horses learn by thinking their way out of pressure the boys learn the same way.  They want to do what’s right because it’s there decision.  If they had a program of kicking the horse in the belly and throwing them down and torturing them, it would be the worst program.

This is what I see all the time.  You work livestock with the right pressure, it seems you use the same pressure with people.  

Riley Olson leads up the horse program.  He has a very well balanced team surrounding him.  Terry, Justin, Tim, Bill ( the order I met them in) really work together to make things good for the whole program.  This is what makes it so good.  They are all special people.

I never saw one boy jerk or spur on a horse with anger.  I saw several of them pray by themselves before they would eat at concession stands.  I never saw them at odds or throwing a fit with each other or when asked to do something.  

It doesn’t matter why they are doing so good, just that they are.  I learned a lot on how to draw some of them to me that were pretty quiet and stood back.  By the end they were more comfortable with me and started asking a few questions.  It was good for me to learn.

One of the sayings I talked about was one my wife had sent me a while back.

“The closer you get to God the better horseman you become, and the better horseman you become the closer you get to God”.  I think that pretty well sums up the horse program at Agape Boarding School.