Posted July 6th, 2009 — Filed in Herding
I thank you for your help on the phone last week. I appreciate your advice. Although I have been working with a number of riders in many places, I have been having particular success lately with helping two riders keep a herd together and place stock. They have been facing the common problem of having to move off their allotment pastures very quickly because the cattle ate off the riparian areas and left huge expanses of feed unused on the uplands, but the Forest Service makes them move to another grazing unit because they had not been able to control the stock and keep them from impacting the creeks too much. Now they can. After one and a half months of training in low stress handling and work with the stock, they are keeping two herds together (about 700 pairs per herd) on separate sides of a big canyon (15,000 acres and no fences except around the whole thing and one drift fence on one side) and controlling the results of grazing because they now have good control over the herd. The riders know at all times where all the stock are, they report much less sickness (pneumonia, pink eye etc.), and they have gained 17 more days on just two of the 4 pastures because of low stress handling compared to what the Forest Service was going to schedule for moves. They will easily gain another 15 additional days by seasons end. This is worth about $38,000 to the association because most of them would have to feed hay to the over 1,300 pair when they come off the allotment. It will only cost the association an additional $7500 to get this $38,000 benefit due to added grazing fees for the additional time and rider salaries. The range and the stock also improve for the future.
The main riders on this allotment are two 55 year old gals (women) who can’t rope with only a couple of pokey horses apiece to ride. They learned this by watching your video, read all your literature, got some help from me and just did it. They have a great attitude, learn fast and do just a few things right. Now they are teaching other association members how to do it. I helped them place a few herds a few times and now they have taken bunches of 600-700 pairs, set them 1/2 mile up the slope away from the creek, show them the water uphill, and they stay there all day and into the next. They don’t all stay right there sometimes, but the ones that drift don’t go very far. They are constantly improving at dealing with the small percentage that wonder too far and reducing these numbers daily. I wish all riders had the attitude these gals do, the success with this would be tremendous.