We Have Cows!
May 31, 2020
Yes. We have cows at Rhody Ranch. Its something Jody has been thinking about for some time and its finally happened. A few young cows are now living the life in the top 40! I say young… they’re all over 600 pounds, but they are still young cows.
You might be wondering why there are cows on a horse ranch, right? The answer to that is simple: One of the things we enjoy doing at Rhody is cow sorting. In order to be any good at it and really enjoy the activity is to first get your horse used to seeing and being around cows. I know… in our culture cows and horses seem to go together; a no-brainer, right? if you believe that you couldn’t be further from the truth.
Most horses, at least at first, are not big fans of anything different let alone very different looking animals the size of cows! Even those horses at the ranch that have cow-horse linage that goes way back in their bloodline. They have to first be introduced to the cows, learn that they’re not venomous or evil monsters that are going to eat them.
Once that’s accomplished the horses’ natural curiosity takes over. As they get curious they discover that the cows are more afraid of them then the horses ever were of the cows. At that point most horses will be perfectly happy to live in the same field with the cows. Cows, like horses are herd animals as well as prey animals, so they think – at least for some things – in a similar manner.
Anyway, I digress… As I mentioned getting some cows is something Jody has been wanting to do for quite a while now. The first step of course was getting the cows. The second step is going to be the most fun and entertaining: convincing the hoses that they’re not a dangerous predator that will eat them. It has to be done slowly and gently so as to build their confidence and not scare the crap out of them in the process. We have to allow the horse to discover what the cows are like on their terms.
The end goal is to teach them, or rather remind them of what is in their DNA. The quarter horse was originally brought about as a rugged, sturdy, even tempered horse that a cow-hand could ride all day to work cattle. Since most of the horses at Rhody are quarter horses… well, you get the idea. So, now we have cows and we’re going to see just which of the horses at Rhody are up for the challenge.
The idea, at the beginning, is to take two of the more seasoned horses – Sonny and King – and put them in the field with the cows. Both these horses know how to sort cows having done it before. And both these geldings are so laid back you have to check them for a heart-beat from time to time. So, they’ll go in to meet the new kids first. Once they’re acclimated, we’ll add a few more horses to the mix to allow the first horses to pass along their knowledge to the others. So on and so forth. Its going to be a very interesting beginning to the Summer season.