Thursday, January 24, 2013

In Training

Cattle show season is quickly approaching so it is time to start training.  That is... training the new calves to lead and re-training the rest of the family to get into the washing, grooming and showing groove.  We all enjoy the calves a lot so it does not take much to get us back into the spirit of things.

First of all, the calves have to get used to the halters.  The four new calves have been wearing halters since about the middle of December.  After they get used to having the halters on, then we start to tie them up for little periods of time in the barn.  Then we start to lead them around with the halter on.  After a week or so of "training", they understand the person holding onto the halter is the one who tells them where they need to go.  Even on the coldest days, we still go out and work with them.  We are also starting to wash them to get them used to that process as well.  Since it is SO cold out, we are washing and drying them in our heated shop.  That way everyone is comfortable and healthy!

Another part of the "training" is to have them get used to being groomed.  Emily, JM's heifer, is getting the opportunity to go to the Sioux Empire Farm Show so she also gets a haircut in addition to the usual routine.  We have been washing her and blowing out her hair as well as combing her a lot to get her used to how things will go at the show.  The calves prefer no big surprises if we want things to go smoothly.  

The new calves are doing very well.  Another part of their training as well as JM's, we are going to take them to a few shows to give them practice before it is county fair time. The whole family enjoys the shows.  We get to meet a lot of great people, and it is fun to cheer everyone on as they go into the ring.