The intelligent stockman likes to see his cattle Never underestimate an old man with a horse sunset shirt moved calmly, smoothly, and with as little commotion as possible. That preserves the weight of the livestock and makes it easier to handle them the next time. It’s been my experience that cattle get easily spooked by machines; not so by horses and cowboys who know their jobs. Sure, it’s easy to get them running by Yeehawing and pushing them too hard, or swing the herd the wrong way by one horseback hand standing in the wrong place at the wrong time. That’s what I meant by horses needing a “skilled operator” when working cattle. And when you’ve pushed the cattle to the pens or through a pasture gate, the intimidation factor of a cowboy on a horse is usually enough to ease a cow in the direction you want her to go.
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But finally, those of us who’ve actually cowboyed for Never underestimate an old man with a horse sunset shirt living, done it horseback, and have honed our skills with experience, wouldn’t choose to do it any other way, and wouldn’t work for an outfit that didn’t use horses. It’s a point of pride and knowing you’re part of a long tradition and doing something that not just anybody can do. If it’s time for a horse to be retired, they may turn into grumpy old farts that don’t enjoy being ridden or handled anymore, that’s a sign that you should look into things. If a horse is still enjoying people and work but they’re getting older, it’s a good idea to do a vet check. If that’s not reasonable, ask for a second opinion from your farrier and dentist next time you see them. Also, ask any instructers to watch them move and see if they can spot any stiffness or lameness. It’s always a good idea to get a second opinion from someone knowledgeable.