Moving cattle is an art. Moving cattle easily, with minimal stress to the handler and the cattle is an art that can only be found in an expensive art gallery somewhere in New York City. It takes practice, patients, a good knowledge of the surroundings and landscape, a keen sense of being able to think like a cow (a prey animal) not a human (a predator by nature), patients, a little luck, the right weather, patients, having all handlers on the same page in the same book, and oh did I mention patients. Because cattle are prey animals to move them and handle them effectively we have to be able to think like a prey animal. They have 2 responses to my presence flight o fight (both of which we worked through last night). We use a technique called "pressure and release". Cattle have an imaginary circle or bubble around them and when I get to close to that line they will move away from me, as soon as I am no longer in their bubble they will stop moving away from me. Kind of like standing in line at the grocery check out, there is always the person behind you that has to stand inside my comfort zone and I want to get through the line and away from the pressure FAST! The speed and amount of pressure that I put on the bubble will dictate how fast or slow they will move away from me. The bubble for each animal is different. Some cows I have to get within a few feet before they respond to the pressure (they do not see me as a threat and are comfortable with me being close) others if I am 30 feet from them that is too close. So a handler has to be able to read the cows mind and they don't tell ya what they are thinking. Cattle also have a balance point, this is another imaginary line that runs through both their shoulders and out to the side of them. If I position myself in front of their shoulder they will back away from me, if I move to behind the shoulder they will move forward. So I can move a cow forwards, backwards , left and right just by where I position myself or in last nights case Me and Coal or Mark and the 4-Wheeler. Our goal is to always handle the cattle as calmly and smoothly as possible my applying light pressure to their bubble and then immediately releasing the pressure when they move the way we want them to. It is like rewarding a child for being good at the grocery store with a piece of candy at the check out, but not allowing them any reward if they did not behave properly.
|Excellent Diagram of the Flight/Fight Zone and Point of Balance!!|
|I Know Stick Figures!! But here we are in the stand off, guns locked and loaded!! haha|
|Coal and I are blocking the Gate like Professionals!!! Mark was getting the gate.... that is the next caption after he got off the 4-Wheeler!! Haha|