Life On The Farm As The Years Fly Bye

We All Learn At a Different Pace

What did I learn about myself through my 4-H participation?

I learned that it is not easy to be 16 and on the edge of adulthood.

Head - to clear thinking, when giving your word to someone, think about how it will affect your heart if you buckle to peer pressure and go against your morals and ethics .

Heart - to greater loyalty; loyalty is something that is given freely and cannot be demanded or forced upon someone.

Hands - to larger service, you can only do what you feel is right and work hard to achieve your goals.

Health - to better living; if your word is your honor, and you stand fast to your morals and ethics; loyalty will come to you freely, your goals will be realized, and you will make a difference in the world around you.

I love 4-H !

Peer pressure is one of the hardest things we face; stay true to yourself no matter how hard it is and make a difference!

4H My Journey

Farmer's Hands Video

2011-2012 Western National Roundup

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Do Your own Ground Work with Your 4-H market Animal Project

We all what to be the Grand Champion Showmen and have the Grand Champion Steer or Heifer.
The Most important thing to remember is there can be only one Champion Showmen and Animal.
In three short years I went from a show ring nightmare to the top six in showmanship, when I stepped out of the ring I made the statement I won; Some thought I was nuts! That is because I had a personal goal to be in the top six.  This is why it is very important to set goals that you can realize. Of course I set my sights on Champion; REACH FOR THE STAR’S, but I will take that personal best win every time.

Tips for Mom and Dad
Teach us, show us, train us; but once we step in the ring we are on our own. Please don’t try to give us orders and tell us what to do. The judge wants to see what we know?  We can not hear the judge if you are giving us directions on what to do.  Believe me we are trying our best!

Teach us what to do when our steers are behaving badly. Let us do the groundwork and gain the trust of our animal.
Show us how to keep our cool so that we don’t get to nerves in the ring. This takes time and a lot of practice Our steers are BIG and that is the scariest thing.
Train us on how to keep our selves and the others in the ring from getting hurt. Show us what to do in the worst case of badly behaving steers.

To you who are showing the steers, no matter how bad it gets in the ring. If the Judge ask if you would like to leave the ring SAY NO! If the judge wants you to leave He or She will not give you the choice to stay.
This is the time to show that you did work with your steers, and what you have learned.

Below is my story that happened my first year.
My first year with beef project; I had every 4-h showman’s nightmare.
I worked with my calves everyday and everyday it was like they were never messed with, No matter what I did. I kept working and working for months.
So when show day came around I thought I was good to go. I wasn't!
After a couple of times around the ring in showmanship the calf name John Wayne; stepped on the edge of my right boot and tripped me, then he pinned me down by my pants leg. The Judge then came over and helped me up at that point the judge ask me it I want give up and leave the ring? I said NO! A couple of hours later I had to go back in the ring with John Wayne he did a little better this time. Not really!
By the way John Wayne was the gentle one, Now it is time to show Clint Eastwood.
Here it comes, Clint was the wild one a big pain in the neck. Clint didn’t stand still at all. First he kicked another showman's comb out of her pocket and then he came within an inch of kicking the judge. Thank Goodness no one got hurt, The judge tried to touch Clint but No luck he danced and danced around, even without being able to touch Clint the judge placed him 3rd in his weigh class.
Afterward I thanked the judge for not taking me out of the ring.
Now would you like to Know what I learned from this nightmare?
1 - Saler is not a breed for a beginner; I might try Saler again when I get more experience. One thing about Salers they are a GREAT Steak, good eating.

2 - The first year; learn all the safety rules and what to do when you steer acts up.

3 - Never give up; when you are asked if you want to leave the ring say NO.

4 - If you can’t touch them you can’t judge them.

5 - Everything that could go wrong did. I learned more from what went wrong than I ever could have if it would have went right.

No matter where you are from it seems that there is one person at the fair that has a bad time with their animals, never count them out for that person just learned more than any other person there.

One last thing! Don't wait until the last minute to start working with you animals, these are not pets. Remember if you give it your best, that is the best you can do and just keep working at your show ring skills.
Any way that is what I am going to do.

This steers name was Clint Eastwood and the others steers name was John Wayne, Famous tough guys. I don't do that any more, because that is just what these two steers were tough guys.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

The Six “C’s” for Success

I found this Artical while looking for information that might be helpful with my 4-H market animal project. So I thought I would share the Six "C" for Success with you, this artical was written by The University of Arizona.

The Six "C" For Success
Select an animal not only with good conformation but with a personality you can work with.

There are no shortcuts to success. A consistent program encompassing regular workouts will
accomplish more than a last minute flurry of activity two weeks before the show.

Set calendar deadlines with ration changes, halter breaking, clipping and grooming, and practice
shows. Maintain a regular daily schedule of feeding, handling, and grooming your animal. Two weeks before the fair is not the time to start training your show animal.

Learn what your animal’s conformational strengths and weaknesses are so as to successfully
emphasize the positive and downplay faults. Similarly, if the show animal has a personality
flaw that will make showing difficult, plan ahead and compensate for this in the show ring.

Show with confidence. Adequate preparation will allow you to show with a smile on your face. Be thoroughly familiar with rations, average daily gain, current weight, purchase weight, age, and breed of animal so you can answer questions from the judge. It is also important to be able to identify the different parts of the animal and the associated retail and whole sale cuts. You can help "psych" yourself up by rehearsing the show in your mind with good and bad things that could happen and how you would handle them. Performing in a practice show with members of your club or family acting, as a judge and announcer and ring steward is helpful.

Demonstrate impeccable ethics in the preparation preceding the show and during the show itself. Be courteous to all other exhibitors, parents and leaders. The livestock show is the culmination
of the project year for many livestock participants and the community. Youth livestock exhibitors represent the livestock industry at fairs and shows to the public. A little courtesy (as well as a lot of honesty) goes a long way in relations with the public.

This is a great artical worth reading. check it out for yourself.just click the blue
The University of Arizona link.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Picking your Steers & Breaking Your Steers To Touch

The first year I started with my steer projects; I looked high and low for help on how to break them to touch.
I wanted a way to do it so that my Dad and I would not get kicked and be black and blue for weeks. The first year we were black and blue, But the second year I learned a way to break them with out bruise's or pain.

When you need to know something about cattle your best bet is to find an old Cowboy or someone with lots of  hands on experience. That is how I learned these little tricks.
 Pick your Cattle producer wisely. A quite ranch is one of the first thing to look for. Happy well fed cattle that do not make very much noise.

I like to pick my own steers. I make a list of the quality's that I like in my show steers. I also listen to my Dad and to the owner of the cattle. We actually go into the pen with the steers. This is why you need quite well fed and calm cattle. This takes a while; take your time buying a steer to show is a large investment.

Once you have chosen you steers, it is time to weigh and load them up. Once you have loaded and paid the cattle producer. You then need a brand inspection. Once this is all done you
are now a cattle owner.

It is now up to YOU.
A market 4-H animal project is a lot of work, you have to feed and water and do vet checks and keep records. The more you put into your project the better.

If possible put on the lead ropes before you load them, that makes it easier for you, just know that they can and will come off.

Now that I have my steers home. I like to let them get to know their new home for a few days and get use to the change in their feed and calm down from the ride. After a few day's it is time to break my steers to touch.

The first thing to do is put your steers into a small pen about a 12' X 12' so that no matter how hard they try they can not get away from you. You will also need a leaf rake.
The rake feels like your fingers.

and your arm just got about 5' longer.

My Dad goes in first; he takes it slow and starts to rub each steer a little at a time starting with the back of the steer. In the first few minutes your steers will move around but can never get away from you. After a while my Dad can rub them all over with the rake.

Now it is my turn, I rub their backs, neck, rump and legs.

I also make sure to rub their sides, under belly, and brisket. These places on the steer are very important; this is where you will be touching them with the show stick in the show ring.

Now it is time for me to keep using the rake and for my Dad to touch them with his hands. Now we just keep doing this until we no longer need the rake.
After about two hours my steers are broke to touch.
If your steers are not calm to start with breaking to touch can take hours and even days.

The halters came off my steers so we had to put them back on. To do this just take your time and move slowly so not to stress your steers out.

I now rub, and comb,  my steers everyday making sure to talk to them the whole time so they get use to my voice.

Check back in a few days and we will talk about breaking to lead.

Hey don't forget to start your record book the day you bring your steers home.
Record Books
Those simple words cause more stress between child and parent when it comes fair time.
Here is the best tip ever; go to the 4-H website and get your record books and save them to your documents. Then when you work on one of your projects just fill in the date, time, and what you did that day. This takes only a few minutes and when fair time rolls around your record book is complete you just print it out and your done. NO stress, NO tears, NO problem.

I do a lot of projects, and if I waited  until fair to work on my books; I WOULD FREAK OUT.

Staying calm and keeping it Natural