March 20, 2013 by Taylor Angus
Warmer weather has finally arrived (at least for the time being, this is Missouri after all), and for me that means one thing: it’s show time! My summers are always dedicated to breaking several of my animals to lead, and showing them at various fairs across Missouri. The most often one being our own Texas County Fair. From an economic standpoint, the fairs have been a great boon for me and my family. It’s the cheapest form of advertisement, it allows people to see your cattle, even if you don’t win, and the fairs attract people from a very large radius. We have sold many bulls and beeves off the farm due to our participation in the fairs. It’s a good thing too, because if that wasn’t so, with the amount of work that it takes to get an animal broke to lead and to the fair, it simply would be worth the time. I spend all summer long, combing, brushing, trimming, clipping, bathing, scrubbing, scraping, drying…. you get the picture. All of it meant to condition the hair of the animal to make it look more appealing in the show ring.
It’s a simple enough concept, but of course there’s also the issue that you are dealing with a live animal. At first, none of them seem to take very kindly to it. This is very understandable, I mean if you were thrown into a situation that was completely foreign to you, that you couldn’t understand, you be scared out of your wits. Now apply that to a natural prey animal with the ability to only focus on one thing at a time…
Although there are cases where animals absolutely refused to calm down and/or have anything to do with us, most animals calm right down after they realize we’re not hurting them. After that, they quickly realize that they have the best life of all cattle. They get to stand in the shade with fans on them getting all of the mud, dirt, and grime washed out of their hair, all of their itches scratched, their sore spots massaged, and when its all done, they get to lay down, with hay in front of them, water misters sprinkling over them, keeping them cool in the hot summer time. (*sniff* why couldn’t I have that life?) We often joke in the family that we run a full-out spa for cows in the summer, and that is exactly what it is for them. EVERY DAY! A trip to the spa every day.