Mike Moutoux's Ranch Notes
This month, I thought it would be nice to pass along some cattle-working advice I’ve picked up from Jerry. Now and then he passes along a little gem that I try to write down so I can remember it. “You have to think like a cow”, he tells me. “You have to feel what they’re feeling”. This comes up when we are trying to move a bunch into the corrals. Push them too fast and they won’t settle down and find the opening. Give them too much room and they’ll try to double back. It takes some teamwork too and you have to trust the other guy to be where they need to be. You have to be alert and feel everything going on.
“The time to turn back a cow is before she makes up her mind. Let her know you’re there.” Sometimes when we are moving a herd, there will be one or two that just don’t like what’s going on and they constantly test you. Watch them close and stay where they can see that you are there to turn them back into the herd. Saves a bunch of time and aggravation.
“The idea is, to get the cows to do what you want, but let them think it’s their idea.” I’ve heard this advice applied to human relationships as well. You can influence people in subtle ways and get them to do what you want just like working cows. One or these groups (either cows or say your spouse or your boss), is being taken advantage of, I’m just not sure which.
The whole idea behind these tips is of course to move cattle without a lot stress on them or for cowboys. These tidbits often are shouted over the noise of bawling cattle and through the dust and often sting like criticism, but I appreciate the help. I know it’s advice passed along by a guy who has seen and done it all for a long time. From a guy who can think like cow. Thanks, Jerry.