Cattle Surprise AZ
Read Your Stock
Knowing how to efficiently and effectively do a job horseback on a cattle ranch is very rewarding, and cattle work develops a horse's overall trust and confidence, which carries forward to all other situations and activities. Here, I discuss handling cattle once confronted with the situation, assuming you and your horse has established a good riding foundation.
Stay aware at all times of how you handle your horse and how he responds. Have fun, but don't let anything compromise the quality of your horsemanship.
You're training the cattle at the same time you're training your horse. Teach the cattle to yield quietly to pressure, so they'll be easy to handle. Avoid training the two extremes - dead and dull or wild and unyielding. Use the same training philosophy as with horses: Make the right thing easy and the wrong thing difficult. Reward a cow for doing the correct thing by removing pressure. Always set up situations so your horse and the cattle come out winners. This means your horse and cattle respond how you want them to and without force or stress.
Cattle are intelligent, thinking fight-or-flight animals. They want to get along in their world and have things as safe, routine and predictable as possible. They're very trainable, as with a horse, and if approached correctly, will learn to handle with ease and finesse.
To help better understand how cattle operate naturally when you approach them in a pasture, consider these suggestions to help make things go well.
Flight-zone determination begins when you first spot the cattle in the pasture. If all the cattle look at you, they could be nervous with larger flight zones. If they look in various directions, graze, lie down or stand chewing their cuds, they're more relaxed. Adju...
Reno Rodeo Cattle Drive
Folks in Reno, Nevada, really know how to put on a rodeo. Their annual Wildest, Richest Rodeo in the West, with better than a half-million dollars in prize money, is ranked in the top five in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association. And the Reno Rodeo Association committee figured out 15 years ago that the perfect way to open their rodeo was with an old-time cattle drive. It's been a hit ever since....
The Waggoner Ranch
The waggoner ranch's 520,000 acres cover some 812 square miles, making it the largest Texas ranch behind one fence. Cattle have always been on the outfit,and oil was found there, as well, but the ranch is best known for its good horses. The ranch's long, colorful history began with Dan Waggoner, back in the days before statehood, when Texas was a republic.
Building a Dynasty
Dan was born in Tennessee in 1828, and journeyed with his family to Texas in 1838. His father died a year later, and it was up to young Dan to take care of his mother and seven siblings.
In 1849, Dan married 16-year-old Nancy Moore. Nancy died young, a mere year after their son, William Tom, called "W.T.,"was born in 1852. After her death, Dan left W.T. in the care of his mother and sisters and rode west to look for more land.
At that time, thousands of acres of free land were available for settlement. Dan quickly filed on 160 acres on Cattle Creek, near the present town of Decatur in Wise County, Texas. He moved there in 1854 with his mother, siblings, son, 240 Longhorns, and six horses. Shortly thereafter he began to seriously accumulate land.
In 1859, Dan remarried, and 7-year-old W.T. came to live with his father and stepmother, Cecily Halsell Waggoner. These were hard times for the infant Texas cattle industry. The Civil War disrupted rail transportation, and the only beef buyer was the Confederate Army, paying just $10 a head. The low cattle price coupled with continuous raids by American Indians and outlaws, forced many cattlemen to sell out. Dan, however, held on. Once the war ended, rail lines pushed into Kansas, and the famous Texas cattle drives began.
Following his father's footsteps, W.T. was committed to the life of a cattle baron. At age 14 his stated ambition was "to run the best cattle outfit, own the best horses and do the most work of any man in the country."
When W.T. turned 17, Dan made him a full partner in the ranch. At 18, W.T. drove a herd of cattle along the Chisholm Trail to Kansas, returning home with $55,000 in his saddlebags. Back at the ranch, Dan and W.T. bought cattle at $8 a head. The next spring, W.T. drove their herd north to market, selling it for $30 a head. From then on, the Waggoner empire grew rapidly.
In 1877, W.T. married Ella Halsell, his stepmother's 18-year-old sister. Married in the county courthouse, the bride's "attendants"were 12 of W.T.'s cowboy friends. The couple eventually had five children, three of which survived to adulthood: Electra, Guy and E. Paul Waggoner.
In 1885, W.T. and another Texas rancher negotiated a lease on thousands of acres of prime grazing land in Indian Territory. Situated across the Red River, it was known as the "Big Pasture."The last great Comanche chief, Quanah Parker, approved the lease. As a 14-year-old boy, Quanah, whose mother was a white captive who came to love the American Indian way of life, vowed to "avenge his mother's recapture by the white man, steal the most...