Archive for the ‘buffalo’ Category

0409_buffalo1I’ve been asked what the difference is between working horses on buffalo and working them on cattle. If you use buffalo, you’ll be getting economic as well as training advantages.

Economic Advantages

Buffalo keep:  A buffalo will last as long as two years, however, most people trade them in every year.

Buffalo can be cheaper: A well-reputed buffalo dealer is generally raising them for the meat, so they’re usually very happy to do business with you. They don’t breed buffalo cows (females) until they are three year old. That means the buffalo breeder has to maintain them for three years before he can benefit from reproduction, unless he has some people that have cow horses that want to use them.

So, for the first buffalo you get, he’ll charge you between $300 and $600. But after that, he’s usually happy to trade straight across—you give him and older buffalo and he’ll kick you back another yearling. Which means a one-time investment and a huge economic savings

Training Advantages

Buffalo are and stay wild: Buffalo have more instinct and are more reactive then cattle. If you had three cows and you work them with one horse on a daily basis, I’d say at the end of a week (ten days max), the cows burn out. Cattle will not recycle. In other words, once they lose their instinctive feel and eye contact with a horse, they never get it back. You could turn those critters you’ve been working out for six months even or a year, bring them back in to work and they’ll be sour again instantly. They don’t forget. Once they lose the instinct of reacting to a horse, it never seems to come back. Buffalo never lose what we call feel—the reaction to the position of the horse. They also react more accurately to a horse’s position than cattle do.

Buffalo instinct engages your horse: The “look” or eye contact that a horse gets from the animal it’s working mesmerizes the horse, drawing him to what we call expression—where the ears come up or “flash”, and the horse shows extreme interest in the object (buffalo or cow) that it’s working, if their eyes meet. With sour cattle, horses lose their instinct and expression til they become placid and dull because they don’t have that eye contact anymore. They lose that bright flashy quick instinct.

If this is the case, you’re better off to go out and work the flag (the mechanical cow) or do nothing. Sour cattle are just an evil thing.

Buffalo have more energy: In addition to that strong instinct, buffalo have a huge energy supply, much more than cattle. They can be worked all day long. You could probably work a number of horses on a buffalo every single day, and he would last you a year. I can easily work three horses on one buffalo for 45 minutes. If you work a cow, you’ll get about 10 minutes and then it’s over.

Everyone in the cow horse industry is the same – if someone comes to visit someone with their horse, very seldom, if ever, would we run our bunch of fresh cattle in to share with our neighbor. That’s what makes us or breaks us. So if we have some mediocre cattle we might use them for some younger horses pr to share with the neighbors, and we’d expect the neighbors to be same with us. However, if there are buffalo they can have at them. You can’t wear them out – they’ll wear you out.

Tip for buyers: Get yearling buffalo cows (females) because the bulls get a little hookie (the horns can hook you) toward the end of the year.


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