Humans are predators.
Cattle are prey.
These are our natural, innate standings. Cattle will use every instinct they have to combat a situation where they feel helpless and used. They’ll blow snot, they’ll throw their heads, they’ll run over you if they feel cornered, unsafe, and hunted.
The goal is to teach them that people are a source of love, not anxiety.
We’ve all been in situations where our reactions are:
Cattle react the same way. If a horseback human goes blazing through their pasture, whip cracking, voice yelling…the cattle are going to respond: they usually run. Sometimes where you want them to go, but often through fences, in split groups. They want to get away from the perceived danger.
On the flip side, entering a pasture calmly, leaving the gate you want them to enter open, and slowly making your way around the perimeter to nudge the group into the new pasture results in less anxiety. The cattle will watch you–they are curious. If they are used to us taking them to new places with good feed and water, they’re apt to move well for us. They will learn the patterns we present to them.
Cattle are much smarter than they’re given credit for…they’ll find water easily. They’ll protect each other. They have emotional responses. It is our job to give them quality of life. One of the best ways we can do this is by securing our relationship with them.
People are a source of love.