In my effort to get the cows halter broke before snow I have made some good progress over the last few weeks. I was advised to talk to my uncle as he has some good advice for such tasks, I have yet to figure out a time to try to sit down a chat with him (I can’t learn over the phone). When I do finally get to talk to him I am sure I will have an “I wish I would have talked to you sooner.” moment. For now I just continue as I am.
Two weeks ago already, I had mentioned Labor Day was the day I was going to attempt to actually put the halter on Lucy. I did… kinda. My cousin said she prefers to put the rope behind the ears first then the nose through. That is what I attempted. She was pretty jumpy that day (the cow, not my cousin), I think it was because the dogs were around and my husband was watching with concern as I was working with her. With the rope tied to the gate post, I got the halter end around her horns and behind the ears. Then she threw her head causing the slip knot to tighten quickly pinching her ears against her horns; she was pissed. She continued to throw her head and stomp about while tied to the post. I had no choice but to back up and let her calm down. My husband was going to try to loosen the knot from the other side of the fence but she wouldn’t let him get close.
I went about my chores while she calmed down. I got the chicken coop cleaned and scrubbed out the stock tank. By that time the dogs had gone and my husband was working on something elsewhere. She had calmed down and I was able to walk up and remove the halter, of course she pitched her head a bit but nothing like earlier.
The next week went by and continued to pester her with the halter. By the end of the week I was putting the halter on and off of her while she ate. I didn’t leave it on for any amount of time but just got her used to the motion.
This week I have been able to put the halter on and have her again tied to the post. She pulls at times but then realizes she isn’t going anywhere. For now having her tied to the post is safer than my just holding a loose rope. If and when she throws a fit I can easily get out of the area and she, although unhappy, will remain in one spot where she can’t get hurt. After a while of having her tied to the post, she will understand that when she has the halter on she is stuck. That is when it will be easier for me hold the rope and lead her about the corral.
For now, I would say this has been some good progress with Lucy. Louise, I am sure I could get the halter on her because she doesn’t mind me messing with the rope around her face but I have yet to put it on and tie her up.
I have a tendency to rush things. I know this, which is why I have been trying very hard to take this slow. I admit there have been days where I get out to the pasture and want to skip some steps and other days I get Lucy’s horn to the arm as she’s being crabby and I just want to quit. Give up, get a bottle calf and start with it from the very beginning. Start with a cow the size of a large dog, something easy to handle. But I can talk myself into and out of almost anything. If I give up that easily with this cow how do I plan to milk her? There will be good days and bad days with that too. Not to mention, breaking a wild mustang from one of the rescue programs is on my bucket list. If I can’t halter break a half-pint cow I surely wouldn’t have what it takes to break the horse. So I press on. Slowly. (Well as slow as I can.)