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post #11 of 12 Old 02-26-2013, 11:34 PM
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Higgins, TX. YeeHaw!!
Posts: 22,258
• Horses: 24
Originally Posted by OutOfTheLoop View Post
Get there early and get someone o walk in with you and help push the cows. Once a horse figures out the cows move away, they usually get the drift pretty quick.
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This. I like for any young horse's first experience with cattle to be positive, so I introduce them to cattle that are a bit wary of horses. Cattle that will move away when you go toward them. There isn't much that can turn a young horse off of cattle quicker than to try them on hooky, fighting, soured cattle.

As for when you actually get into the pen with the cattle. I try to do more than just look at the numbers on them. I will study the cattle beforehand and try to remember certain features that go with certain numbers. It's hard to do that if they're using all black cattle, but if they are mixed herds (black, red, gray, mottled, Hereford, etc), then you can look at them and remember "Okay, number 4 is the big Hereford, number 7 is the small black with the longhorn blanket, number 5 is the red and white pinto colored one, number 1 is the black with one horn, etc". That way, you can just look for features that are easier to see from every angle instead of numbers that you can only see if you see it straight on. I've even been known to use poop-marks to identify an otherwise nondescript bovine LOL.

Beyond that, like another poster said. Slow is smooth and smooth is fast. It is much easier to sort cattle if you can walk into the herd, nudge the one you want, and walk them out of the pen. If you start pushing too hard, the cattle get riled and they want to bunch up. Then, you have hell getting them to separate off one at a time. When they're riled, it's all or none.

Most importantly, breathe and relax . I know it can be a bit nerve racking, but most folks in the sorting sport are very welcoming and helpful. If you screw up (and you will, heck I been handling cattle all my life and I still screw up), just learn from it and go on. If you don't know what you did wrong, just ask someone and they should be able to help you see the mistake.


Always remember that feeling of looking at a big, open country over the ears of a good horse, seeing a new trail unwind ahead of you, and that ever-spectacular view from the top of the ridge!!! Follow my training blog:
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post #12 of 12 Old 02-27-2013, 02:40 PM
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: San Angelo, TX
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If your horse is scared or apprehensive about being around the cattle then about the best way to get them used to them is to show them that the cows will move from this by having a single cow in one of the pens or arena, then have someone with an experienced horse help you "push" the cow slowly. Start out beside and slightly behind the experienced horse, as your horse settles down and gains confidence, move him up to the lead, and then eventually have the other rider get out and let you push the cow alone. Keep the cow going as slow as possible at first, that way your horse will settle in quicker. Once he seems to be able to push the cow slowly by himself, then pick up the speed some and continue to track the cow around. After 10-15 minutes of this, your horse should be good enough to then take back into the pen with numerous cows. Just ease him up to them and let him learn that they will move away as he gets closer...once they move from him, stop him for 5-10 seconds to take it all in, then move them again, stop and pause, then repeat until he learns it's no big deal. Once you reach that phase, then go past the cattle and turn them, this will take a little more "force" from you and your horse, so be ready...the first one may take some guidance from you, but after that your horse will get the idea and each turn after that will become easier and easier. After a few good turn backs of the cattle you(and more importantly your horse) should be good.

As was said earlier, take it slow for the first day or two of this(and learn what the correct angles are for getting the cattle to do what you want), and then you can work on picking up your speed.

Have fun!
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