Monday, May 25, 2015

Adding Some Color

So today we're talking a little roping and a little cowology, and that place where the two meet. First, the roping. The last couple of years we lived in South Dakota, Greg and I did quite a bit of team roping. Then we moved to Oregon and there were plenty of tie down and breakaway roping jackpots to keep us busy, plus we didn't have space for both steers and calves on our two acre plot, so the team roping mostly went by the wayside.

Since we moved home to the ranch we've been trying to get back to it, but for one reason or another we never seemed to have the time. Now I've shed the town job and I have t

wo horses--Bailey and Vegas--who really aren't suited to anything but heading steers. And Greg finally got the heeling horse he's been looking for in Hollywood.

Now's where we get into the cowology. We keep a small herd of Longhorn cows specifically for the purpose of raising roping cattle. But since no one was team roping and the Longhorn bull was a tad difficult to have around, for several years we just bred the Longhorns to our Angus bulls. And because Angus bulls are polled--like most commercial breeds these days--and polled (aka, without horns) is a dominant trait, we had a whole string of Longhorn calves minus the horns.

Last summer Greg decided to change that and took five of our cows down to my cousin's place to breed to his Corriente bull. The result has added a whole lot of color to our herd:

You can also see why Corriente/Longhorn cattle are favored for roping. They're lighter and more agile so less prone to injury, and stay that way until they're three or four years old. Compare the two calves about to the one below, that's out of an Angus bull. Notice how much beefier he is? Also the reason Corriente/Longhorn cattle aren't favored for beef production. Basically, they're too skinny, and it costs too much to fatten them up. Which is too bad, because they never have trouble calving and have a natural resistance to most of the common diseases that make cattle sick. 

But dang, they sure are pretty.

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