Posted July 24th, 2014 — Filed in Miscellaneous
Posted June 23rd, 2014 — Filed in Miscellaneous
Question: Could you give me a brief outline of the colt starting method Mr. Williams used? I am interested in possibly purchasing the DVD. . . .
Answer: I don’t know just how to go about telling you about the video of Bud starting a colt except to say that you don’t have to be a “Cowboy” to be able to do it. It does not require a round pen or any of the other things that are used today. People were always wanting to watch Bud start a colt, but they quickly became bored because the horse never bucked and within 20-30 minutes Bud was riding it out of the corral and up the mountain. About the only equipment you will need, other than your usual tack is a pair of strap-hobbles. In the video Bud says that you don’t really need them but it certainly makes things easier and it’s always been our contention that a hobble-broke horse is much safer to ride. I’ve been on a couple of pretty wild rides when an old, gentle horse tangled his feet in old wire, where a hobble-broke horse would have just stood and waited for you to get him out of it. This is also true if your horse tangles himself in the fence in his pasture. Please go to our website www.stockmanship.com and read the January 21, 2014 posting. I wrote quite a long response to go with a comment from a man in Australia. Also, read the February 1 posting.
Comment: I think I have seen, seen used, or used myself about every method of starting a horse possible. But my curiosity has gotten the best of me over the last month so I had to order the DVD to see this way.
Question: I got the videos today. I was wrong about having seen it all. The videos were great. I have a question. To put hobbles on a wild horse I currently use a blindfold under a warbridle. Do you know of a better way?
Answer: Bud never had any problem with a wild horse after he got a halter on it. We never had a chute to put a horse in and occasionally he had to choke it down to get the halter on, but then he just worked to halter break the horse before going on to hobbling it and riding it, which shouldn’t take very long. Maybe I should have gone into a little detail about halter breaking horses or cattle. Here is a short post from our website about this.
“First and foremost, DO NOT tie the animal to anything solid until you have it leading well. All this teaches him is that he can’t move, and it makes it very difficult to actually teach it to lead.
Put the animal in a small pen. Have a halter and lead rope on him. The lead rope should be long enough that by standing in the center of the pen, you can hold on to it with no pressure on the halter from any place the animal might go.
You will be in the middle of the pen. If the animal is spooky, just let him move around you until he settles down. Don’t hold any pressure on the rope at all. When he settles down a little, just pull (never jerk) his head towards you, then give him slack. By pulling from the side you can “un-track” (make him take a step towards you to keep his balance) an awfully large animal.
Never pull from directly in front, as you will only teach him that you aren’t strong enough to move him.
Never pull from behind as you will teach him that you aren’t strong enough to stop him.
Always give slack when he takes a step. Do not pull unless you are at the side and KNOW that you can make him take a step. Walk back and forth and all around, making him take a step towards you every time you are in the correct position to do so.
Even after the animal is well halter broke, always start leading him by pulling to the side to get him to take his first step.”
This is something the colt will need to learn anyway. I don’t remember it ever taking over a half-hour or so of working the colt like this before he could put the hobbles on.
Posted April 24th, 2014 — Filed in Stockmanship
Question: . . . . We have three pens of calves, 100 head, any where from 450-600 lb. heifers. We have had them all about the same length of time 3-4 weeks. We have taken them for a couple walks in the 115 acre pasture. The question is, can we combine all the calves and take them all for a walk at the same time and then randomly divide them back into 3 pens? I heard some where they may develope pen mates? Is there any truth to that? Is there any harm in doing that? Would you guys ever do that?
Answer: The calves will definitely have pen mates. This is one of the reasons Bud was against having a sick pen because a sick calf certainly didn’t need the upheaval of being pulled away from his friends and put in with strangers. As far as asking if this will hurt healthy calves, I doubt if it will. Especially, if by doing it this way you will take them for a walk more often. If they are working well for you when you bring them back to the pens, they will probably stick together and end up in the same pen anyway.
Comment: . . . . I had my best (but aged) saddle horse shipped here (2,000 mile trip with stays at new barns etc) and when he arrived he was in a real funk- he was listless, wondering around the pasture and not really recognizing me or my wife and not paying attention when I called him. He was not really eating nor socializing properly with the other horses either. I thought about his condition a little while and that I wanted to change it. I have changed calves in a similar state many times but of course this is a horse. Thinking back to the innumerable times I had to, when this low stress stuff was new to me, think of cattle as horses, I decided to think of my horse as I do cattle then I could go to work. I put a rope on him, asked him to follow me, to turn left then right then backup then finally to stop and stand still. When his attention was more on me than his worries, I made him stand still (corrected him for wiggling etc) while he got a good brushing. I curried him for some time as he needed it and then, after he was standing still on his own and calm, let him go. He immediately joined up with the other horses, stood calmly near them, hiked up a hind leg and was calm as could be. Later he started grazing, but calmly now, not eating a bite then walking etc like before. The next day he was still tired but acting again like a normal horse. This experience made me think about proper handling-that it doesn’t just get the job done right, it doesn’t just produce great control- it really changes the animals in our charge. I think the change that proper handling produces is deeper than I understand and maybe like (Tom Dorrance I think) said, deeper than we can understand. If someone else out there has a horse shipped a long ways and it shows up stressed or if you work at a stable that receives horses, don’t just leave them alone, work them right. Now I have a happier horse, which makes a happier wife and thus a happier me, all just by taking his attention off his worries and troubles and on to me, then a pleasurable scratching and brushing.
Answer: It’s amazing how working with Bud’s principals cause people to be more sensitive to everything and everybody around them. It also teaches that you can do something about a problem even if you have no idea when you start. One of Bud’s favorite comments was “Do something, even if it’s wrong!”
Most people who are wanting to learn how to place animals in such a way that they will stay, put too much emphasis on “settling” them after they get there.
Please read “Question About Placing Animals” in Bud’s March 15, 2012 posting where he emphasizes the importance of driving them properly to get to that place. When you are near the spot you want them to stay, stop doing the things that drive the animals and start doing the things that slows or stops movement such as taking all of the pressure off of the back end, riding up along the side of the herd in the same direction they are going. You can get in front and ride in the same direction as the herd is moving, slowing as they will let you, but you must go fast enough that they don’t try to get past you (if you are checking up movement in wild cattle coming out of a corral, it might be pretty darn fast). It is important that the movement in the herd “dies a natural death.” You can stop their body from moving but that’s not the important thing. You must cause their mind to want to stop.
If you arrive at the place you want to leave them – and they still want to move, realize that you should have started the slowing process sooner. Continue on (you should know how far by the progress you are making at slowing the herd), make a proper turn and drift them back to where you want them.
You are not trying to physically put them anywhere, you are working on their mind so they want to be there. This is why it is counter-productive to turn back animals that drift away. No matter how gently you do it, in its mind you have stopped it from going where it wants to go. You can get in front of the animal(s) and ride in the same direction it is going until it decides on its own that it wants to go back to the others.
Pull off and watch for a while. Even if they are lying down or quietly grazing, but they are all pretty much headed in the same direction, they are telling you that there is still “movement” in the herd and they probably won’t stay. If they are moving or lying in all directions it is a good sign that the movement in the herd has dissipated and they will probably stay there.
Posted February 24th, 2014 — Filed in Stockmanship
I’ve spent the last few days reading the material Whit Hibbard has on his www.stockmanshipjournal.com website. He has really done a good job of documenting Bud’s Stockmanship methods. If you are a serious student of Bud’s livestock handling methods or just interested in some of the stories Bud told I think you will find the site well worth the money.
Starsky was a 5 yr old Warmblood gelding that was taken in lieu of payment for work done by my rider from a breeder.
The horse was unbroken and had been very badly handled and treated. He hated everything and everybody. His saving grace was that he didn’t bite or kick.
We started breaking him the English way with lots of lunging and long lining and we had got to the stage of riding him. However he started to bronc and also to rear and go over backwards. He would even do this on the long lines and would throw himself into the fence.
One day after two months he went over backwards and landed on the rider, at this point, the horse was very fit from lots of lunging and work. I took the decision to send him away to live in a field with cows and not go near him for 3 months. I figured that being left in a field he would lose his fitness and would get used to being on his own. He then went to a friend who is an ex Jockey and very good with difficult horses.
Peter worked him for a month and had him long lining and going beautifully but he still couldn’t get on him. I went down for the weekend, with the decision made, that if I couldn’t ride him by the Sunday he was getting shot on the Monday.
I borrowed a dummy which he accepted really well. I got on him on the Saturday, but he reared and I came off. I took the reins off the bit and put them on the head collar which was on under the bridle. This worked and whilst he still bucked a bit he didn’t rear so on the Sunday I brought him home.
For the next week I rode him every day and every day I shook with fear before getting on. On the Saturday the girl that helps me said “Liz you are not getting on this today he’s in a real temper.” Steve had sent me Buds DVD and I had watched it with great interest the night before but I was still concerned that buds method might make the horse angry again.
WE HAD REACHED THE END OF THE ROAD.
I made the decision we will do this the Bud way from start to finish. I followed Buds steps and rode the horse that day with no problem. I was delighted. I then continued with Buds methods every day for the next month gradually reducing the steps one by one.
Starsky has continued to develope into a kind and co-operative horse.
Starsky has his first show jumping show this weekend and is now a pleasure to ride. He still can be a little cold backed but is now a happy horse who without Bud Williams and your desire to release “Starting the Colt” DVD would be dead.
Thank you so much for sending me this DVD. Starsky owes you and Bud Williams his Life.
“The benefit to me and to others of Buds “Starting a Colt” DVD has been enormous and has had a tremendous influence on some problem horses that would otherwise have been euthanized.”
This is part of a message I received from a guy in Australia and has prompted me to get back up on my soap box and let you know what I think about the way most colts are started today.
I’ve long been concerned about how many of our friends have been injured in riding accidents and have always felt that Bud’s method of starting a colt (more…)
Posted January 20th, 2014 — Filed in Stockdogs
During the first part of 2012 Bud started writing a series of stories about the dogs we have known in our life. The Stockdog Journal started putting them in their magazine. I intended to post each article to our website as soon as it was published, but about this time Bud became ill with the cancer that ended his life in November of 2012. Anyway, I think it’s about time that I post them for all of the folks who have told me over the years how much they like Bud’s dog stories.
#1 Published in Vol 4 – Issue 4 (Mar-Apr 2012) Stockdog Journal
I’d like to write about some of the stock dogs that Eunice and I have worked with during our lifetime together – which will be 60 years July 25, 2012.
During the last 75 years the thinking about what a working dog is has really changed. When I was young we didn’t have radios or televisions, that meant that many of our evenings were spent setting around the wood stove while the older people told stories about things that had happened during their life. Many of these stories were about dogs that were used to work animals.
My grandfather had sheep and angora goats. The goats were herded for most of the year in the mountains of south-western Oregon. My father had 3 older brothers. When Dad was 9 years old it was time for him to start taking his turn herding the goats. Each brother would stay with the goats for one week then the next brother would come with supplies for the next week and stay to herd the goats. There was three dogs with the herd of 500 to 600 nannies plus their kids. Two of the dogs were herding dogs and the third dog was their coyote dog or what would be called a guard dog today. (more…)