Tag Archives: stewardship

Thoughts and Sights from New Mexico Indian Livestock Days

At the New Mexico Indian Livestock days I presented a stockmanship and stewardship presentation.  We had several pairs with the calves being all different ages and sizes.

This was one of my favorite and in my opinion the best format for a live demonstration.  We actually were able to simulate most of the handling situations that would happen with a cow-calf during an entire year on a western range outfit.

969114_10100186827713051_2014293616_nIn this picture I caught the calf with a long throw that he did not even see coming. I then walked with him on my horse to keep from putting to much pressure on him with the rope.  When I him laid him down nice and easy, he struggled and I applied pressure with my hands and right leg.  As soon as he quit struggling I took most of the pressure off, but not all.  He very quickly learned to relax, and was then ready to be tagged, vaccinated, or whatever else you needed to do.

I feel this is a great first interaction between human and the calf.  The calf will always remember that if he relaxes the pressure will come off.  This will prepare him to be calm in the chute his first time, if he is handled properly.

The next three photos are demonstrating getting control of an older animal, laying it down softly, and having it relaxed enough to accept what you need to do, without having its heart pounding and lungs burning. Click on the photos for a full description of what’s happening.

If you can rope the animal without running it, get it to give to the rope (this is why I rope with a slick horn, to smoothly give a little slack as soon as the animal thinks about not resisting), it will learn to stand.  I then rode a circle around the calf to wrap up his hind legs, laid him down softly and then by keeping his hind feet off the ground, could get off and hold him down.   At this point you secure the calf, and perform whatever procedure that’s needed.  Always remember to practice Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) protocols.

If you can do this type of handling slow and easy it is safe and very effective and can be low stress, however it takes practice and commitment, like all good stockmanship skills.

Hopefully we will have more photos or even some video from our mock branding, sorting, and weaning of these desert cattle.

It was a great day for me.  Horses for Heroes and the Cowboy Up program provided horses and crew.  What an inspiration!

I don’t know if the folks watching learned anything, but I sure learned so much about native traditions, their love of Mother Earth and the horse.

If you ever get a chance, go to New Mexico and learn about the traditions of the Indian.

~ Curt Pate

Mothers Are Stockmanship and Stewardship

Mothers and wives are the real foundation of most family livestock operations. They are instrumental in keeping things organized, from book work to knowing what cow belonged to what calf, and could most likely point out the cow’s mother. Cooking for a crew is no problem.  Serving as a counselor, bookkeeper, bill payer, nurse for man, vet for beast, driving truck, tractor, or riding a horse are just part of the deal.

I feel most women have more compassion for animals, and seem to get along better calving and lambing when it comes to mothering something up, grafting and suckling calves and lambs.

They probably are not willing to pressure animals as much as some of us men folk (I am not aware of any negative undercover video involving females). Most try to figure out a better way to work with animals, and very seldom lose their cool when working with them.

My mother Bobby Wegner kept our outfit together. Three good meals a day for family and crew. She always had a huge garden, canned vegetables (I love her pickled beets.), and got a big supply of groceries every fall. She was very good with horses, would wrap meat all day at the slaughter house, and still manage to do all her other duties at home.

She could drive truck, bale hay, cuss with the best of them when she was mad, get over her mad just as quick as she could get mad, and would take in any stray, animal or human.

She and My Stepfather Ralph Wegner, worked hard, played hard, went broke in the early 80’s, made it all back in the 90’s, and had a great time doing it.

I think my mother is the reason for my passion for animals. She had me horseback before I was born. Shortly after I was born she kept me riding horses, taking my sister and I to ride in parades, drill teams and rodeos. I always had chores to do, and she was real strict about doing them the right way at the right time.

I have many things to thank my Mother for – strong work ethic, compassion for animals, taking care of the land, taking me to bible school, and all the great fun things I got to do growing up on our place in the Helena valley of Montana.

The greatest gift my Mother has is her ability to make people feel good. She never met a stranger, always treated everyone the same when they came to our place, from sheep herders to bankers to movie stars.

I sure hope some of it rubbed off on me.

Take some time to think about what your Mother has really done for you, and take even more time to figure out what you can do for her. I’m not sure flowers will be enough.

 ~ Curt Pate