Monday, March 26, 2012

Steer's ears

In the comments section of my last post, Christie reminded me that my roping steer will need "a good neoprene horn wrap."  
This wasn't news to me.  In fact, I was positively looking forward to making that horn wrap.
It was Christie's next sentence that was cause for concern.  She wrote: Remember it also covers the ears.
In fact, I didn't remember that.  I'm not sure I ever even knew it in the first place.  I grabbed my steer and took a good hard look at his ears.  "This will never work," I thought.  Within ten minutes, the offending body parts had been removed.
At this point, there was a real temptation to leave him earless.  Doing so would greatly simplify horn wrap design and fitting.  Unfortunately, it would also limit his use to the roping events.  Since I have vague notions regarding steer wrestling and team penning set-ups, a one trick steer is not in my best interest.  I decided the best course of action was to make him some nice, flat, unobtrusive ears.
Using Laura Skillern's method, I made the replacement ears. 
When the epoxy was partially set, I held the ears against the steer's head and carefully squished them  into place.  
I also trimmed the excess epoxy with my X-acto knife.  Once this was done, I removed the ears and let them finishing curing. 
The next day, I glued the ears into place with super glue and a pinch of baking soda.   
I covered the join with epoxy and let cure. 
The new ears aren't perfect, but they don't need to be.  What matters is whether or not they'll fit under a horn wrap.  On that score, I feel pretty confident.     
Tack friendly customizing for cows, who woulda thunk?


  1. Awesome job, Jennifer! :)

  2. One point to note: cattle with horns are NOT used in sanctioned Team Penning events due to the increased risk of injury to horse/rider. Team Penning uses polled cattle, just like those used for Cutting. When a bovine has horns, even small ones, it's behavior changes, and it becomes much more likely to lower it's head and charge! Obviously that's not a good thing when you're on a horse and trying to get the cow/steer into a pen!

  3. Thanks, Christie! I'm sure I would have missed the ear thing if you hadn't mentioned it. That would have caused me all kinds of grief when I started work on the horn wrap.

    Also, that's interesting about the Team Penning. That's not a sport I know much about. In fact, I'd never actually watched in person until earlier this month at the Rocky Mountain Horse Expo. All the cattle there were horned, so I assumed that was standard. Learn something new every day!


  4. Since I've not watched penning/cattle/roping, etc. I had no idea that the horns were wrapped in the first place.
    (Is this a safety feature for the cow?)

    This blog is seriously the place to "learn something new every day!" : )

  5. Thanks for the good photos of the horn wrap! One of those details that's easy to overlook or get wrong.

  6. That is ANIMAL CRUELTY cutting off an animals ears!! They are there for a reason. How about instead of mutilating animals you just cut holes into the back of the horn wrap and have a strap on the back of the neck to hold them in place!! As a "human being" you do not need an actual ear on the side of your head to hear, but I am pretty sure you would be pissed and hurt if I just LOPPED it off!!! This is a horrid practice and anyone who participates in it is a HORRID person!!

  7. You're joking, right? No one's cutting off a real steer's ears. I did cut off a model steer's ears, but I don't think it hurt him much. Plus, I gave him some new and improved ears almost right away!

    In real life, the steer's ears go under the horn wrap. They aren't cut off, at least not until the steer is slaughtered, and that discussion is WAY beyond the scope of this post (or this blog).

  8. Well 1. That is why it is anonymous and 2. You should contact Google, because this is what came up when I Googled, How people used ear-horns. And by the looks of the pics and the convo that came up that is what it seemed like was going on, so the answer to your question is YES...I was 100% SERIOUS. I now apologize after you clarified what was going on, but if you Google what I did and see the pics and convo and did not know that this was about models then (if you love animals) you would have said something too. Again I apologize!! So Sorry!! Good Job