It took a sharp whistle from Kathy Webster of TomKat Ranch Educational Foundation to get the excited crowd settled into chairs before Richard McConnell and his wife Tina Williams could introduce themselves and get the workshop underway. Richard and Tina are co-owners of Hand ‘n Hand Livestock Solutions specializing in low-stress livestock handling and together the energetic duo travel North America teaching their “livestock-centered” approach to cattle handling.
TomKat/Hand ‘n Hand Livestock Solutions workshop flyer.
What is “low-stress” livestock handling? Essentially, it’s a technique to easily and quietly manage livestock with as little stress as possible for the person and the animal. Not an easy task under most circumstances, but particularly for one handler, on foot. But that’s what Richard and Tina specialize in and love to teach and share with others.
We were fortunate enough to have Richard and Tina here at the TomKat Ranch to teach us and some other local ranchers their eco-friendly, animal sensitive stockmanship techniques. Some of the key points we took away from the workshop were:
There are three important parts of working animals:
Apply the proper amount of pressure, then release
Establish proper communication between animal and handler
Maintain proper emotion and attitude
Tina and Richard have a little fun with one of the class attendees.
Learn to back away. Backing away from animals allows them to slow or stop, and allows the handler to make adjustments to herd direction.
“Prepare cattle before you try to get them to do what you want” by practicing. Practice also helps build trust between the animal and the handler.
Overall, the course was educational, engaging, and entertaining thanks to the lively and fun teaching approach Richard and Tina have mastered.