In Search of Cows

By Patty Wilber

Up to recently, I had been travelling an hour each way to work with Troy Rogers using his cows.  He has been a fine coach for me.
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Unfortunately, that is no longer an option since he is moving out of state.

So, I have begun hauling 138 miles EACH way to Watrous Valley Ranch and that is great, but it is hard to find the time to do that more than once or twice a month!


So, I found another cow source in Galisteo–still an hour and not always available.

I am searching for closer cows!

But not just any old cows.  I want 500-600 weight, prefer no horns, and they must come with an arena. So demanding!

I’ll pay!

Ok, I guess I could get my ownMarket rate is around 900 ish per steer and a bit less for heifers. (I did have my own there for a minute, but they were pairs (Moms with calves), and then there was  drought and I had to sell them.  It was very sad.)

I have a cow fund of $3500, just in case I have a chance to get back in the cow business. That’s almost four steers. But when you use the buggers to train working cow horses, the cattle do get sour.


A heifer might not want to play this game very often before trying to out-smart the horse! Photo by Janet Cochran

Maybe I could use them for a month, at the outside, and then have to sell and get some more…Plus a cow trailer (or cram them in my three horse stock trailer?) plus feed, plus a place to keep them, plus fixing my arena up to have cow proof fencing, plus I really need a bigger arena by a lot, plus….

I could borrow some and feed them so they gain weight and trade them out every few weeks…not that I have a place to keep them and I’d need to fix up my arena and…oh, covered that already. (I haven’t totally ruled this out yet, not that I have come up with a cow source, but I do have some ideas…)

OR I could supplement my cow training with a CowTrac.

This is basically a flag on a string--but motorized, with a remote control.  You teach the horse to track the flag, pretending it is a cow.  You can actually get cow-look-alike flags, but turns out the regular flag alone is enough.

One part of working cow horse is “boxing” where you work along he short wall of the arena.  The flag system works.

Another part is down the fence, where you drive the cow down the long end of the arena and back. The flag system works.

The last part is circling-up,where you run the cow in a tight circle. The flag system can’t help you with that!

LT 941-O161-4385WEB_Wilber

So given my pot of cow money, I bought a CowTracII system with a down the fence kit (longer string, more pulleys and the “cow” (flag) goes around the corner so you can go “down the fence”.)

It cost about 2.5 steers and doesn’t eat, get sour, or require cow-proof fencing! It does require some installation!

It should be here in 7 to 10 days!

(And I will restock my cow fund just in case I can get some live cows, later!)

About BlogPatty

Here's the skinny: I have a thing for horses. They make sense to me. I have a small horse training business (it's a "boutique" training business, not because it's super fancy, but because the horses get a lot of personal attention). I also go by Dr. Wilber, and teach biology full-time at a Central New Mexico Community college.
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2 Responses to In Search of Cows

  1. EMoonTX says:

    Fascinating that the cowdogs were also working that fake cow. Focused on it, working as a pair. You could train dogs & horses at the same time. Danger is the horse might learn to key off the dog, not the CowTracII

    • Patty says:

      LOL! My dogs won’t be able to get to the flag area! Still waiting for it to arrive!

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