We are making frantic preparations to make our way to Cowtown on Friday for the Fort Worth Stock Show. We still have one heifer, Cayenne Dawn that is not quite ready for the trip so we are spending lots of time assuring her that she can do it!
When teaching/convincing a young calf to walk on a lead and set up for a show, trust is the key issue. Gaining the trust of that animal is sometimes quite a challenge. Some calves grow to slowly trust you while others seem to have an overnight transformation. It is an amazing experience either way, even though it can be frustrating. Gentling calves is not for the impatient and it is not for rowdy headstrong cowboys and cowgirls. Gentleness and patience will win their trust not muscle and brawn.
Our Cayenne has been a challenge. She has a very sweet disposition and has allowed touching and brushing and even the show stick to set her feet from day one of her training. Walking on a lead is her fear. When leading calves there has to be a reward-if I walk with you there won’t be any pressure on the lead rope. Tugging and pulling constantly on the lead teaches the calf that no matter what I do you are going to keep pulling on me-no reward. So you can see where the patience part comes in. Cayenne made great progress this week when we changed her training environment. She is worked in a smaller pen with another calf her same age. I rotate leading them and they are tied when it is not their turn. Calves are like small children and have a very short attention span so working them for hours at a time probably does more harm than good. We try to do 30 minutes sessions so the calves (and I) don’t get frustrated and always try to end the session on a good note.
I have faith that Cayenne will make it to the show just fine. I’ll let you know how it goes in Cowtown. This is our favorite show and we are so looking forward to seeing the cattle and our Brahman friends.
The HumP Day Pic above was taken at Fort Worth last year. The young bull was, M-J Shades of Christian Gray (Shadey). He was sold to a breeder at the Houston International Brahman Show last March.