The Art of Natural Dressage

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 Post subject: Cows can do it too ;)
PostPosted: Sun Mar 10, 2013 8:18 pm 

Joined: Sun Mar 10, 2013 11:43 am
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I came across this forum while looking for new things to teach my cattle and noticed that there were a couple of threads with people training cows that hadn't been able to find much information on the subjectand hadn't progressed very far. As a prolific cattle trainer, I had to come on to share the goods and fly the flag for cattle! :D

What you want to look for is information about oxen - cattle have been domesticated and in use for work longer than horses have. An ox is merely a bovine with an education, and there is plenty of material out there about using them for draught which gives you a start, even if it is quite 'narrow'. Stuff about riding, let alone 'natural dressage' is rare, but rest assured, cattle can do most of it too, with a few concessions due to physical limitations e.g: you won't get the 'outline' you get with a horse, given the shortness of the neck, they have less spring/bounce in the leg(but are very agile and flexible, just check out the moves on PBR if you need proof!) and they would find it difficult to rear as that's not really something they do in general.

They are extremely quick to learn and never forget a lesson, which can go both ways! They also hate repetition and micromanagement in my experience, and respond by slowing down and becoming stubborn. Material about training donkeys I have found very useful as the mindset is very similar. They are very spook-proof as they would rather face a threat than run from it and let very little bother them.

Mine do a little of everything - tricks, pulling loads, longreining/driving, riding and just being great pals :smile: I ride treeless, bitless, barefoot and stirrupless and have experienced absolutely no problems training them to respond this way.

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 10, 2013 8:38 pm 
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Oh, that is so cool, and your pictures look fabulous! :) I guess you have seen the posts by Elke (bloem) here in the forum, who is also playing with her cows. :smile:

Very interesting that you say cows are spook-proof. I have never really trained with one but some years ago I tried to become friends with a herd that was grazing next to our pasture for a few days. It was very hard to get close to them because they were so scared of me and ran off each time I moved. But then they weren't used to human contact, and it's entirely possible that they were very brave in other kinds of situations.

Looking forward to reading more about your training, especially because you say your cows are a bit like donkeys. I absolutely loved training with donkeys when I was a teenager, and was just thinking about it this afternoon, dwelling on these wonderful memories of playing with such strong personalities. :love:


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 10, 2013 10:15 pm 

Joined: Sun Mar 10, 2013 11:43 am
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There are exceptions - certain breeds are flightier than others, and young cattle are always more playful and will be a bit more silly. A human is a sensible thing to spook from - we would have speared them no doubt until very recently in the scheme of things, and if they receive very little handling that's all that can be expected - after all, you were interested in them and focussing on them and they could interpret that as predatory. A trained cow realises we won't of course, and other 'natural' things - plastic bags flapping on a hedge etc. won't bother them.

I took mine to meet horses and have a lesson in a school with one the other day. The cow was fine and got on with his work, but the horse was on high alert and every other horse on the place took up on the idea and it was mayhem!


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 11, 2013 11:31 am 
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:funny: So great! I love the jumping picture! :applause:

So great what you do with those fantastic animals. I always liked cows somehow. Never had much contact other than when crossing their pastures on mountain hikes in my youth. But I guess I was always drawn to their calm nature.

My horse Mucki also likes them, which I understand is quite rare with horses. But as he spent three summers with a big bachelor herd on the alp together with cows, he regards them as cousins I guess ;).
Once I was on a walk with him and found myself surrounded by a herd of young cattle. I was not sure what to do, as the cows were so nosy and closed in on us constantly. Well, Mucki stayed calm and so I just saw to it that they stayed a comfortable distance and so we shared the grazing ground for a while and then moved on. It was a nice adventure... :)

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 11, 2013 11:39 am 
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Location: Belgium/Tielt-Winge
VERY cool!

welcome!!!
Barbara

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 11, 2013 11:54 am 
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Oh, the little cow on the second last picture looks cute, just like a little calf. :love:


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 18, 2013 9:52 am 
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Wow fantastic! I especially like the picture in which the black and white cow looks to you, such beautiful eyes they have :love: ... B's neighbours in the stable are also cows, and I always ike scratching them. I have been told cows have similar social rules to horses, and I am convinced they are just as smart!

Looking forward to your messages, this first one already is magnificent!

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 24, 2013 10:46 am 

Joined: Sun Mar 10, 2013 11:43 am
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Oh yes I would say cattle are easily as intelligent as, if not more so than horses. Or at the very least, they are less ruled by their fears and emotions than horses, so can concentrate more on what's going on. They are super quick to learn - quicker than most dogs I've had - and have truly excellent memories. You can stick them in the field for years and get them out, work them and it'll be like they did it yesterday. :smile:


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 19, 2014 7:56 am 

Joined: Fri Jan 27, 2012 4:14 pm
Posts: 15
Aaaw that's SO amazing! Great teamwork! And I totally agree with the last thing you just said, that being less ruled by fear and emotion they are vey smart. I had the same experience with my donkey, they are more 'cold blooded' than horses and therefore have a better concentration in all sorts of situations. And that donkey Rosina was smarter than all of the horses was obvious to me. She was the leader, even being just half the size they are. And they followed here unconditionally because they knew what here quality's where, for example, escaping! She was able to open most kind op knots or also the locks on the stable.She studied me doing things just as long as she needed to understand how it was done herself!


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 21, 2014 3:51 pm 

Joined: Sun Mar 10, 2013 11:43 am
Posts: 8
Just some messing about with Ted:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E55CS1Agbbc

Cantering:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7isbi9Y75A8


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 01, 2014 12:56 am 

Joined: Sun Mar 10, 2013 11:43 am
Posts: 8
Come for a ride! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gvmMwsmvUss


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 01, 2015 10:30 pm 

Joined: Sun Mar 10, 2013 11:43 am
Posts: 8
Ted and his apprentice Rum doing some bitless bareback preparation for roman riding....

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 01, 2015 10:33 pm 

Joined: Sun Mar 10, 2013 11:43 am
Posts: 8
freaky - just realised my last two posts are EXACTLY one year apart!!?


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