When it comes to handling cows, it pays to have some strong and dependable supplies on hand. Dexter’s small size make them lovely to work with, but they are still really strong animals when they decide they don’t want to do something.
I have both rope halters and leather halters on hand. Rope halters are convenient for catching and training cows and calves. One size fits all.
I strongly prefer the Weaver breaking halters that have the figure-8 hardware for faster release. All rope halters tend to tighten but are much harder to release off the nose than a rope halter that has hardware. Even a simple ring on the rope halter works better, but the figure-8 design is better still.
Rope halters also come in a nice array of colors which I like. You can get an extra long rope halter which can be great for working with a more skittish cow. It can allow you more distance to safely work and help the cow to settle faster.
Although I started out working with rope halters, I found that the release and control was not always as good as I might like. I started looking for alternatives and found the leather show halters. Although I have no intention of showing my cows, these halters can make handling a breeze. The chin chain releases extremely fast, making the release of pressure very precise which improves control but also speeds up the rate at which the cow learns. I love working with the leather halters which are also easier on my hands. I find that the medium size is sufficient for my cows and I also have a calf halter.
I also like having a show stick on hand around the cow pen. It is a convenient tool for helping to position cows or for retrieving dropped ropes, buckets or even loose baling twine out of pens from a distance. I use mine all the time. I also found this was the perfect tool for helping to teach my cows to back up. I could stand near them and lightly tap on their front legs to cue them to back away from me and be respectful of my personal space.