Tag Archives: criticism

Monitoring stress levels

I was having lunch with some folks from the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association a while back and was sitting with Dan McCarty.  He told me of a study he had learned about that was done on some Hawaiian cattle that were shipped on boat to the mainland.

Long story short, they inserted a tube into the vagina of the heifers that could monitor the stress level and document the time of the stress.

From what I recall of the conversation, the only time the cattle showed much sign of excessive stress was loading and unloading.  The cattle are in a special made container with feed and water available at all times.  The trip takes several days.

This is great technology.  I feel it will be used in the future for animals and humans to monitor  the stress level from the environment around us.  This will prove many things.

  • Are animals that are confined under more stress than animals that are housed naturally?
  • Do certain levels of training create excess stress on animals?

I believe it will become an incredible technology to help us regulate and monitor proper handling of livestock and in creating a benchmark for proper livestock management.  It will prove the difference between right and wrong.

I can’t wait to learn more on this. To me this is the answer to the question on the ethics of livestock production and all animal-human relations.  It will show us optimal management of stress levels in livestock for profitable livestock production.  It is going to move us from opinion and emotion to ethics and fact.

I don’t know when this technology will get here, but I hope it is soon.  The things we have been discussing here, like different levels of pressure to get things done will be easier to monitor with this technology.  It may change my opinion on what I believe.

I upset quite a few people in the horse and cow world because I may not do things just like they do.  As of late (it has not always been this way) most of the disagreement is me wanting to put less negative pressure on the animal. That does not fit with the high pressure stockmen. As long as I am getting done what I need to get done and always trying to get it done with less chance of stress on humans and animals and more chance of a safe outcome I will take the criticism.

I have been using a method for myself for a long time that may have a similar result of the stress technology we are discussing.  I have always imagined some of the folks that I have looked up to that have died are watching me.  So in my mind I have a whole committee of people that impressed or influenced me in my life, watching me from up on a hill.  It is real important for me to impress these folks because of how they impressed me.  It helps to keep me doing what I feel is the right thing.

Even when this new technology comes around, I will continue with the committee in my mind, then I will be using both science and common sense, and I believe that is the best.

~ Curt Pate

Convenience Store Critcism

I was traveling home from Colorado a while back and we stopped in Sheridan, Wyoming to fuel up at about 11pm.  While in the store a ranch couple came in and I introduced myself. The gentleman had seen me do a demonstration in Florida and was a little critical about how I worked the cattle.

I didn’t really expect to be criticized in the middle of the night in a C-store, but I have been getting pretty used to the criticism. He was not wrong in criticizing me, but I feel he missed the real problem and mistake I made.  He said I had to many cattle in the “Bud Box.”  I am not sure if that really mattered, because the real mistake I made was not preparing the cattle better before I went into the box with them. The Brahman bulls we were working were a stick-together kinda bunch.

I had talked too long and did not take the time to get them ready for working in the box properly. I could not only bring part of them so I just went with what I could in the time I had.  I learned from the first demo and then got along pretty well in the following 5 or 6 that we did.

I learned from my mistakes.  The challenge is when you do things in public everyone sees the mistake, but never see what you learn from the mistake.

It bothers me when people criticize me, as it does a lot of people.  I am doing my best to help folks figure out better ways to work with animals.  I never “pre-prepare” animals to work if I am in control.  I just let ‘er roll and see what happens.  If it works like it says in the books and movies that’s great. If it is a wreck, I feel people learn how to adjust to fit a situation or see how not to do something.  For me this is the only way I will do things or I would not enjoy my work.

If I get criticized by someone who is really good at something that does not bother me much, especially if they tell me to my face.  The ones that really bother me are the ones that don’t have the guts to talk to me about it.

I offended a friend one time by questioning the “one rein stop” in horsemanship and he did not hesitate to give me his opinion.  We are not friends anymore so I guess we really were not that good of friends.  Buster MacLaury read the same article, did not agree with it, wrote his own article explaining his thoughts, and I and many more people learned from his point of view.  I hope we are still friends, because he is a very good person to horses and humans.

One of the reasons I started writing this so called “Scoop Loop” is because of a criticism written about me in the Stockmanship Journal.  I am so thankful to Whit and Lynn, because I am enjoying writing so much, and I feel I am getting better at sharing and learning my ideas on stockmanship and stewardship.

I am guilty of being very critical of some of the folks in the horsemanship world.  I had to learn that not everyone has the same ideas.  I don’t like to sell things to people to make them a better horseman, and actually think it takes away from the actual horsemanship skills. But I now realize if you offer someone a shortcut, or what seems to be a shortcut, they will take it.  That’s just the way it is.  Who am I to judge someone for paying the bills on someone else’s needs?

The challenge for me is when I feel horsemen are putting too much or the wrong kind of pressure on an animal and then it has trouble with the pressure.  You must do too much to learn how much is too much, but I feel we should be way farther along in this area.  Many of the horse clinicians I have seen put a lot of pressure on, but talk about how natural or kind they are being to the horse. I hope they are learning from their experiences.

So I have quit being critical of others to others.  I think what I think but mostly keep it to myself. Most people involved in the cattle business are really trying to help cattle handling improve.  We may have different ideas and methods, but pretty much everyone has the animals’ best interest in mind.  This is a very good thing.

I worry when I hear talk of the Bud box being superior to the tub, or curved alleys being better than straight , or what kind of driving aid is the best.  This is the same as which halter or lead rope is best in the horse world.  The main focus needs to be on the skill of handling not what is your choice of equipment.

A problem that I think happens is when we become enamored with an instructor, and try to do everything how they did it.  From what I have observed, it is very hard to be someone else and interpret the way they think.  It would be way better to learn from someone but use their knowledge in your own style, not in a copying manner.  Just because you have the same hat, saddle, or use the same equipment or words, and try to move in the same manner does not mean you will be successful.

Tom Dorrance said many times you should feel like you could ride your horse up a telephone pole or down a gopher hole.  I doubt he told anyone what type of equipment to use to do it, and I am pretty positive he did not try to sell them the equipment if he did suggest something.

So I apologize for any unfounded criticism I have thrown out there.  Also I hope people know that when I voice my opinion it is my opinion, and just because it may be different than there own, I not trying to offend, and if I think your opinion is worth listening to I will try to learn from it.

I still don’t like to be criticized, but it is certainly a good way to fuel my fire to get better.
So thanks to all of you that have criticized me publicly.  I am sure plenty of folks are pretty critical of what I do in private discussions as well.  I know in my heart I am trying to do the right thing for humans and animals, and am willing to make mistakes, but hopefully not the same ones over to many times.

The one person that I get concerned with when she criticizes me is my wife, Tammy. She has stuck with me and supported me through all my mistakes, and had the confidence in me to know I would get it figured out.  When she has criticized, I am really in the wrong and she has not missed on that too many times. Now that is a good wife!

Buck Brannamann gave me a copy of the The Man in the Arena a long time ago.  It is very good and maybe everyone should look at it once in a while.

~ Curt Pate


Scoop loop

It’s time to do a little re-riding. I have been going at this writing business for quite a while now and am really enjoying doing it. I have time when I am traveling by air that I used to fill by reading or trying to watch all the women and keep up on all the latest fashions for my wife.

What it does for me is really makes me think about a topic and try to explain my way of thinking about it. It is real important for me to get my feelings known without offending anyone too much, but also be man enough to stand up for what I believe.

The goal for me in doing this is to promote proper stewardship of our resources, and the proper care and handling of all animals, including humans.

The person that makes all this happen after I finish putting my thoughts on paper is Jesse Bussard. I really wish I had paid attention in school more. I must have been preparing myself for watching women’s fashion later in life to help my wife, because I sure missed a bunch of the things you are supposed to know. Jesse fixes all that and then puts it on the air.

It’s never late and she doesn’t make mistakes. If she wasn’t so dang opinionated and independent she might even be married. She also edits some things she does not think are appropriate. All kidding aside, she does more than I expect and I enjoy paying her for her skills.

Jesse tells me some of my posts are too long. I will try to shorten them up a bit. I renamed this from a blog to a scoop loop. I find the name “blog” silly.

In roping one of the most difficult loops to master is the loop called a scoop loop. You must swing and deliver it at a different angle than any other throw. It is a throw that takes lots of thought and dedication to practice to become effective at it. The thing I like about the loop is it can be thrown a short distance if needed and be effective, or you can cover a long distance with a little more energy in your swing and still get the critter you are roping caught.

So that’s what this deal is, a scoop loop. Most of the time the shorter shot is the most effective and you need to keep short, but sometimes you just have to take a longer throw to get the job done.

Again, my main goal is to promote good stockmanship for animals and good stewardship for our land. Hopefully while doing it have some fun, get some emotions going, and get you to appreciating all the wonderful things this life gives us, especially the agricultural way of life.

I sure want to thank everyone that gives me encouragement. It gives me lots of confidence, and the desire to get better at this.

As far as the folks that criticize, I am going to coil my rope up and build another loop for next week. It will be thrown with lots of enthusiasm.

~ Curt Pate