One challenge a rider has in cattle events is being able to predict what a cow will do as he or she approaches it on a horse. That ability to interpret current cow behavior as well as predict future cow behavior is called “reading” a cow. It’s a skill that takes experience, patience and time.
A productive way to learn to read cattle is by observing them whenever possible, in all kinds of situations.
This could be at a trainer’s barn or at a show when cattle enter the arena for a herd work class.
At a show, you could also walk back to the cattle pens and just observe them.
As you consistently take the time to observe cattle in different scenarios whenever possible, you will expedite your learning curve for reading cow behavior.
What follows are two categories of cattle behavior, both “good” and “challenging”. You’ll also see eight characteristics under each category.