Posted April 14th, 2014 — Filed in Horses, Stockmanship, Testimonials
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!”
Posted March 29th, 2014 — Filed in Herding, Stockmanship
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.
Posted February 1st, 2014 — Filed in Horses, Testimonials
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.
Posted January 21st, 2014 — Filed in Horses, Testimonials
“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…)
Posted November 3rd, 2013 — Filed in Stockmanship
I just got back from a trip to Texas where I visited with Candi Cowden and Dawn Hnatow. Candi has just purchased a ranch a couple of hours NE of Dallas and plans on hosting Stockmanship Schools there in the future and asked if I would be willing to help them.
Bud and I went to Candi’s Crane, TX ranch for the first time in 1990. She has hosted several Stockmanship Schools in Midland, TX (one of which is the basis for the Stockmanship-Plus video) and has attended several more. She is not only a good friend, but an excellent Stockmanship student. Dawn Hnatow is partnering with her on this venture. Dawn is well qualified to teach Stockmanship. She worked with Bud for nearly all of the eleven years we were in Alberta as well as a couple of years after we moved to Texas.
I know there are many people teaching Bud’s methods. I haven’t seen any of their presentations so I don’t recommend any but Hand ‘n Hand Livestock Solutions (Richard McConnell and our daughter, Tina) but I am grateful for every one of them. There can’t be too many people preaching the gospel of Good Stockmanship.
Posted October 15th, 2013 — Filed in Stockmanship, Testimonials
Had to send you a thank you note after our last trip across the scale.
Our best group of calves (525 head) gained over 2.6# per head per day for the first 20 days after weaning. We’re averaging right at 2#/d on 2,000 head.
I’m in a little trouble with my manager because we’re going to be significantly over our contract weight!
I hope you’re well. Thanks again for all you do!
Posted September 17th, 2013 — Filed in Testimonials
Comment: Congratulations to Bud and you for being in the Beef Magazine’s 50 Industry Leaders! Whoever wrote it did a great job also. They never said low stress stockmanship, which Bud always said that it was proper stockmanship or improper stockmanship. The stress high or low was the end result. Thank you for contributing so much to the industry and to my life and so many others that have gone to your schools.
Answer: Thanks so much for the kind words. Here is a link to the Beef Magazine article.
Posted June 29th, 2013 — Filed in Testimonials
Let me share something-I just went thru 2 days of continuing education for accountants in Chicago this week. The presenters had many points that related to what you and Bud advocate in life. They specifically advocated thinking about the present moment in what we try to manage and change. We control our thoughts and no one else does in life. When we release all the constraints, hangups, and distractions, it is amazing how peaceful we can become with ourselves. We become more observant, specifically with animals and people. We deal with our employees better when we handle issues with them in the present. Bud was a master at this and I specifically mentioned Bud twice in the 2 days. Bud was a true gift to us. You and Bud truly have touched my life, even though sometimes I am a little dense.