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OPINION: A better fit for the job

A couple of winters ago, when the family and I put in a day hauling our cows home, I had an "aha" moment for our family cow-hauling workday. Since then, I've realized the value of cow-hauling job suitability.

A couple of winters ago, when the family and I put in a day hauling our cows home, I had an "aha" moment for our family cow-hauling workday. Since then, I've realized the value of cow-hauling job suitability.

With our old system, we all helped in the corrals to sort and load, then the Hubs and I each drove a pickup and trailer and the kids rode with us. So, when we did this two years ago, after making our first trip home with a load of cows, I suggested to the Hubs that maybe instead of all of us sorting, loading and hauling cows home, we split up the tasks.

I volunteered our daughter, Reneé, and myself to stay at the corrals. I explained that she and I could be in charge of getting a big bunch of cows in the holding pen and have the number of cows needed for the next trailer load sorted and ready for loading.

This way, the guys could be in charge of doing all the driving back and forth. My suggestion would also allow the guys to do all the backing up with the trailers to the chute. This would guarantee they'd be satisfied with the alignment of the trailer door to the loading chute. Driving back and forth didn't thrill me, anyway. Both the Hubs and our son, Myles, liked the idea of being in charge of doing all the driving.

This plan seemed most logical to me since: 1) Guys appear to love any opportunity to drive their heavy duty pickups (especially teenage boys). 2) Moving the driver's seat back and forth to accommodate different drivers gets annoying when there's two different drivers for the same outfit (ie: if my efforts in backing up the trailer to the chute took more than two tries, the Hubs took over and needing to adjust the seat). 3) Guys are usually faster, more efficient and more confident at backing up to the loading chute. 4) I enjoy any opportunity to work with another like-minded female in the corrals. 5) Reneé and I always have good conversations in between the cow-loading process.

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The first time we implemented this arrangement, it kept the guys busy and, most importantly, out of the corrals. When too many people try to ramrod the show in the corrals, impatience and frustration have a tendency to surface, getting the cows worked up and harder to load, and I'm always told to stop talking.

By keeping the guys occupied with hauling cows, my daughter and I were able to do our job our own way. My strategy turned out to be a win-win for all people and cows involved. The cows did their thing cooperatively, Reneé and I did our thing efficiently, the guys did their thing driving back and forth. They never had to wait for a trailer load of cows to be sorted first before loading.

At the end of the day, when the Hubs and I evaluated our cow-hauling day, it was agreed the system worked well. The loading went smooth and nobody got mad or impatient. Everybody was still in a good mood once the work was over. We've since implemented this system for getting our cows home. The best part of this system is that I get talk as much as I want while in the corrals.

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