When I Ride…

Two Crazy Cows…

Cow mentality. Temple Grandin gets it but I am and will always be learning about cows.

I have never really cared that much about how cattle think. I was raised around Polled Herefords that were culled for disposition. We had a manager that wanted to be able to work my grandfather’s cattle easily in one day with no injury. If they wouldn’t gather and move through the pens easily without freaking out, then they were probably culled.

When I started to learn how to ride a cutting horse I began to want to learn how to read a cow. I’m still not that great at it but with experience, I am getting better. One thing I have learned is that slower…is better.

Take these two “crazy” cows. We gathered the entire herd. All of the pretty brangus mammas came along with their babies except these two. For whatever reason, they threw their tails over their backs, heads in the air and ran into the brush. One even broke through a fence. I wasn’t there for that part so I’m not sure what led to that…

But anyway, after we went back on horses and worked, nice and gentle, we persuaded one of the cows and both calves to come with us. The other cow…well, we knew if we had her calf, she would eventually show up.

So now, both cows have been in the pens for a couple of days. We have carried on as if no big deal and let them watch us…horses being fed, people climbing fences, opening and shutting gates, just trying to desensitize them without them knowing it. Tricky, huh?

A couple of days ago, I moved them horseback, from a big round pen to a smaller pen. They moved pretty well and only looked like they wanted to jump the wire fence. Once I got them where they needed to be, I left them alone.

The next day, I moved them from one pen into another pen, all very slowly and not letting them run past me, thanks to Minnow, my superstar cutter. I did this a few times and then when they seemed calm, I left them alone again. All this to teach them, cows, that we don’t mean them no harm.

I decided to go online and look to Temple Grandin for advice on settling these girls down. I mean, I don’t want to miss an opportunity to learn something and these girls were an opportunity!

I watched a video of her lying down in the dirt to let them walk up and smell her. Okay, I’m not going to do that. I liked watching her video though. It reminds me, just because someone has always done something a certain way doesn’t mean it’s the “best” way.

Well, the cow training is done. They are back out with their cow girl friends. They were well received by the rest of the herd. Probably still talking about the adventure.

This entry was published on September 11, 2011 at 4:39 am. It’s filed under horses and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

4 thoughts on “Two Crazy Cows…

  1. Doctor Shoko on said:

    Difinitely a good family gathering story. you got me reading through it entirely, and that’s something good about your writing 🙂

    Anyway – hope you have a good time handling them in the future. You seem a very clever person regarding what you did with the cows. Good job ^^

  2. This is a great story!! I really enjoyed how you “worked” them without “them even knowing it.” Thank you for being sensitive to their needs; I have seen far too many “wranglers” who use a one size fits all approach and it simply .. doesn’t work. My dad was bit of a Maverick with cows like those; he’d name the flighty ones “bossy” and be extra sweet and patient with them. Eventually “Bossy 1,” “Bossy 2,” and “Bossy 3” would follow him around like puppies.

    Temple Grandin is fascinating isn’t she?

    • Sounds like I could take some lessons from your dad! Yes, I thoroughly enjoy Ms. Grandin. I thank God for people who are not in the mainstream of thinking. Keeps people aware of what is possible outside of the box.

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