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Terror to Tenderness: The Transformation of Wild Bill the Longhorn



There is an old wisdom in the world of ranching that you never name an animal for what they are at the moment but, rather, you name them for what you want them to become.  I thought it would be fun to share with you the story of Wild Bill and how he transformed from a Longhorn with a, shall we say, slightly aggressive temperament, to our lovable friend.  A word of caution though, you always want to be with us when you visit as Bill knows and trusts us which gets transferred to you because we're nearby.

 

When he first arrived, Wild Bill was a bull to keep an eye on because of his aggressive nature. He was known to charge at anything who dared to come near so we kept our distance and assured that all the animals did the same.  When Preston or Sarah would enter the pasture with hay for the Longhorns, Wild Bill kept his distance with a stare that clearly said, "Keep your distance if you know what's good for you."  He would show aggression by dragging his hoof across the soil... ready to charge if provoked.

 

I'll never forget the day he got twine from the hay wrapped around his massive horns.  He was not happy and was working against the fence post and ground in efforts to remove it.  Sarah walked into the pasture with a pole, and as she spoke to him as she would to a trusted friend, she used the pole to remove the twine from his horns.  He didn't rake the ground.  He also didn't let her get close enough for and loving pets. However, it was the beginning of his mellowing and the development of trust that has now become standard.  The stories I can tell you about how Sarah and Preston step into their animals' worlds will never cease to amaze me.  Really, it's not a lot different than we should treat the people in our life and the results are the same.  With trust, patience, a sometimes-firm hand, but always with kindness and respect in our hearts I've seen these animals eventually return the same.  It's not overnight.  It takes time. That's another saying... "trust arrives on foot but leaves on horseback.".

 

Now, when you visit, Wild Bill will walk slowly to the gate to greet you.  He will lower those massive horns because he loves for us and guests to rub the top of his head.  Of all the Longhorns, Bill is most aware of those horns and seems determined not to swing them because he knows it could mean less attention.  It's a nice reminder that even the most hardened, untrusting hearts can be softened by patience, love and care.  And, even better, it's the same for anyone.

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