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- January 21, 2015 at 3:32 pm #84666dominiquer60Moderator
I have not worked my steers much this year and I too need to bring it back to the basics when I let it go this long. My off is quick to put the load on the neigh steer and to get the task done and over with as soon as possible, and the neigh is somewhat lazy, and physically not as quick as the off. When the 3 of us are out of whack like this, I have to remind myself what one of my mentors told me, “Slow is fast and fast is slow.” Take your time do it right, in time this is faster than going fast at a task, messing up and allowing bad habits to propagate and mistakes to be made.
Also I have a couple animals that are a bit barn sour. I like to make sure that I have a barnyard task or exercise to do when we get back to the barn with these animals. They are in a rush to get back to be done, but when we get to where they want to go (back to the barn), we have more work. I have even gone so far as to work in the barnyard, then go to the end of the driveway and take a break in the shade, then back to the work by the barn. This certainly helped with one horse that had some separation anxiety about being away from the herd. Getting them to relax and pay attention to you is a real challenge with some animals.January 22, 2015 at 11:30 am #84674mitchmaineParticipant
Boom, the horses feet kick the side of their stalls, wake up call. Look at the clock, its quarter of seven. “how do those horses know what time it is?” they are such a creature of habit.
When I start thinking like that, a few more thoughts bring me around to people are or might be the real creatures of habit. Its our routine that animals get used to. Fed at the same time. Hooked the same way. Same horse steps over the pole. Try making one more hitch at the end of the day and it’s a fuss. During sugaring, we always stop at certain spots in the bush where collecting is easier. So the horses stop instantly and wait forever in that spot until you are ready to move on. “what well trained horses” I don’t think so. They just like the routine. Same with mowing, I had a team once that stopped exactly at the end of the swath. The knife mad its last click on the last bits of hay and the horses stopped right there. I was even amazed at it. Made me look like a genius but it had nothing to do with me. They figured that’s where we stop and that’s where they stopped.
So I start doing everything in patterns because the horses feel safe in routine. Great. But just like most of you mentioned, if you have to break out of the mold all else fails. Swapping sides, turning gee, stopping at different intervals are all good tools. And should be used often. I may be the lazy one here stuck in my rut.January 22, 2015 at 7:34 pm #84680Kevin CunninghamParticipant
Well the last two days had me doing some little chores with the boys and I think it is decided that I am going to try a switch. Now this whole endeavor posses some challenges because I have come to depend on this team for work around the farm. Moving feed, the chicken coop, the pig house, hauling hay They are working farm animals so it is hard to simply stop everything and spend hours, weeks, months retraining them. But the reality is that we have a dysfunctional working relationship that is not sustainable. I am constantly riding them to get the desired result and it won’t work in the long run. I have already started some simple leading exercises with switched sides. They are hesitant but I think we can work through this. I am thinking of setting up some sort of round pen to do this work in. This is going to take some serious thought and work but I won’t know till I try.January 25, 2015 at 12:26 pm #84689AnneParticipant
To me switching sides was only helpful if the less dominant animal got fearful because it feels to much pressure in the position between me and the dominant animal.
It is not helpful, if the animals simply don^t like each other well enough.
Or if one is significant faster than the other one (while walking alone).
If I switch sides I first walk them uphill along a fence.January 26, 2015 at 11:01 am #84694Kevin CunninghamParticipant
We will see if they will do the switch. I have been leading them in switched sides to new pasture for the past several days and working on some simple drills. They seem to be doing fine in the halter with the turns and stop and goes. There has been a little confusion but I think they are getting it. I won’t be able to yoke them till Tuesday of Wednesday so I will continue with the leading and see where that goes. I can see how the nigh steer who is the least dominant is squeezed forward by pressure on both sides. I also think that these two just might not like each other.
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