Continuing our series (click HERE if you missed last week) about good movement, what’s holding us back, and how to draw it, it’s story time again . . .
Good movement, as taught by cowdogs and cattle
One August morning in the year of our Lord 2016, I volunteered to move our herd of cattle. It was the type of morning that beautifully hints that fall is on its way, so of course I volunteered.
When I got to the pasture, I sent my stock dog out and we started the first little group of pairs moving toward the fresh pasture. Then I sat back and watched as the other cows picked up their calves and trailed off two-by-two following the leaders across the pasture and through the gate.
And as I sat there watching, I began reflecting on that phrase – “good movement draws good movement.”
I was out there alone – no other humans.
It was literally just me and my stock dog. The pair of us were moving several hundred cows with their calves across a couple hundred acres. And we were doing it all by ourselves.
We couldn’t have done it without fostering good movement.
It’s about communication (and attitude)
We could not have moved that large of a herd, or even one pair, without a firm grasp of bovine behavior and an understanding of how to use that to effectively communicate with them.
I mean, sure – we could have forced them. We could have gotten louder, pushed harder, and made them move to the next pasture.
But that would have ended poorly for all parties involved – pairs split up, vocal cows and calves, a dog running herself ragged, a severely frustrated/pissed off human, possibly a runback, and probably a giant mess and fence to fix the next day.
Instead, we chose to come in with a positive attitude, to read and really listened to what the cattle were telling us. We chose to use language they understood. We chose to ask kindly, saying please with pressure and thank you with release.
We chose good movement.