|Posted on July 28, 2016 at 10:35 AM|
You aren't likely to find yourself being soaked by a showmanship judge armed with a squirt gun anywhere except Cow Camp. This year’s MWHCA Cow Camp was held at Maple Hill Highlands, and brought together 14 juniors and 12 animals from Wisconsin, Michigan, Missouri, and Minnesota.
At Cow Camp this year we had the opportunity to learn about reproduction from Dr. Todd Miller, a local vet. As cow camp kicked off we got to watch an embryo transfer. Later in the week, Dr. Miller came back to artificially inseminate three cows and teach us how to AI. He explained it step by step, and then we were given the chance to try it ourselves on a a reproductive tract that was saved from a cow that had been butchered.
Dr. Bowman, a professor of parasitology at Cornell University came and taught us how to look at manure samples for signs of a worm infection and how to identify worm eggs under the microscope. Each junior had the chance to check their animal’s sample and then we went through and discussed the findings and what factors affected the concentration of worm eggs in the sample such as environment and time since deworming.
We were honored to have Ginny Miller come to Michigan to teach us as well. She discussed parts of the animal and how to read medication labels with us and then lead a showmanship session. During the showmanship session, she had us pair up and switch off pretending to be the calf while she taught us how to switch hands on a halter when stopping, and how to walk our animals into place. While participating in mock showmanship classes later that day, we switched animals and were asked to identify parts and estimate weights. We all learned a lot about how to present our animals in the best way possible, even though many of us ended the class in water soaked clothes as a result of being sprayed with a squirt gun if we made as mistake while showing.
Additionally, we had the privilege to learn about animal chiropractics and acupuncture from Dr. Ashley Miller. She explained why the practices are useful on large animals such as horses and cattle, and then demonstrated by making adjustments on a highland cow to free up movement in her neck, and then followed it with some acupuncture in the loin area.
When we weren't busy learning in educational sessions, we were busy learning how to pan for gold and make lead ropes, walking calves through an obstacle course, playing pictionary, having water fights, swimming, and having campfires. We had an amazing time at cow camp making new friends and meeting new people, and came out of the experience with closer bonds with our animals and tons of new knowledge. Thank you to Chris and Dawn Manthei for hosting the 6th annual Cow Camp. We are already looking forward to next year!
Please see more information at Juniors 2016