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Cattle Introduction, With Horse Explanation

Northern Star



We raise beef cattle, Hereford, Red Angus, and Black Angus to be exact. I can not speak for dairy cattle, aside from we have been off and on looking to get a few for multiple reasons, which will be explained eventually.

For beef cattle...it appears that you either love them or hate them.

I like the Hereford breed because they seem to be able to think, for the most part, and realize that "the two legged things that feed us, heal us, and annoy us isn't going to give up, so let's get this over with".

The two Angus's, on the other hand, do not share that same thought and seem to fight you at every point, from tagging their calves to moving them to a new pasture. They would rather go over the 7' panel at the end of the pen or run you over, than go through the gate like everyone else.

The last part brings up two very good and important points:

1. More people are killed by cattle than sharks, and are a big part of why agriculture/farming is one of the most dangerous industries. Last I looked it was in the top 5 most dangerous industries list.

2. All ways to keep cattle in are bluffs. If they think they can go through it or over it, and they think there is a need to, they will go over or through or some combination of both. It doesn't matter if its solid 1" steel rod and/or 7' tall, if they think they can, they will try.

The cattle business, like what you see in westerns, is about, if not gone, non existent. 

The horse, in most places, seen its "beginning of the end" when in the early 1970s a Japanese company called Honda introduced the Honda ATC, more commonly known as the three wheeler. They were, and still are to a point, extremely common, and in turn they were replaced with the new idea called ATVs and later UTVs, aka 4 wheelers and side by sides. Horses still do serve their purpose, for example in our area you could not ride an ATV in parts of the pastures as it is way too steep. Horses come in handy there, as long as they are broke well. Some in my area prefer horses still, others ATVs. We, ourselves, had and used horses until about 2003. We continued to have horses until they passed, but 2003 is about when we quit using them. 2004 marked the appearance of our first 4 wheeler.

The reason why we quit using horses was due to them simply getting old. Why we didn't just get more is...somewhat complicated to explain. It somewhat boils down to how they were broke. If they were broke to be around cattle, to be used for work, they are usually very good. If not...well they can be easily spooked and do more harm than good. Some you can "rebreak" and others...just never will work with cattle. In the 40 years of owning horses, my mother and father had only found 5 they really liked. They only owned 2 of those they liked. My dad liked one that was broke and used to being used for cattle, that was considered by alot to be "the perfect cow horse" and that was his last one, mostly due to it taking 30 years and trying and working with 15 different horses, only to end up with "the perfect cow horse" suffering an early death after having him for 5 years(his stomach and intestines shut down and he went down hill within a week, so any treatment was and is unknown if it did anything, the cause was never found). He had liked others, but they were not for sale. The other my mother found, a mule. She had liked 2 other mules, but again they were not for sale. That mule lived to be about 35 years old, so that was a big reason there. The final reason is that the farrier/black smiths basically became non existent in our area, with the last one having to travel about 300 miles to get to us. It isn't exactly something you learn in a week either, and if you do it wrong you get kicked, which...well one quit because he got kicked in the head and as a result has a plate that takes up most of the right side of his head.

I enjoyed growing up with the 3 horses. My Dad's very large stallion(I am not sure on what breed, I think he was a mix, but his back was at about 5'5" to 6'), my Mom's mule, and a horse/shetland pony mix that my adopted grandmother gave me. The pony is what I did most of my real, real meaning saddle, halter, reins, etc, riding with. I did alot of bareback riding on the other two, as they were gentle and would follow either parent or each other around, or you could put your arms beside their neck like reins and steer them that way. I never did any cattle work with them as by the time I was old enough, 4 wheelers had taken over, the pony was "only 7" for the last 5 years, and the mule did not care to be in a round up with 4 wheelers or wagons, plus one horse and many 4 wheelers just doesn't work. 

4 wheelers came to stay because, unlike horses, they do not get sick, do not need, absolutely need to be warned up and cooled down, they do not need to go to the vet. They just need fuel, oil, and some way of turning the motor over.

We have thought about getting horses again, but...well they're like a pet. They would be quite handy but...eventually you will have to put them in the ground. 4 wheelers you do not, you can be sentimental about them, but when they quit you can sell them or fix them or do the somewhat stereotypical thing of putting them in the back of the shed for a while until you get ambitious to fix it however many years later.

Now about the guns part of the westerns...that still somewhat lives on, but that will be it's own post. For the most part anymore they are a tool. Their biggest use is for rattlesnakes, as when you have the choice of bull snakes or rattle snakes...you do everything you can to help the bull snake population, as when you have them, you do not really have rattlesnakes.

Edited by TheGleaner



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