I'm not going to lie horse friends, I am really starting to like my cows more than horses.
Let me tell you the many reasons:
1. When a cow that knows where home (and grain) is gets out, it stays home (or at least close to its friends). Unlike a certain white mare who left the other horses at home and galloped a full 8 MILES before randomly getting caught by a good Samaritan. Lucy was out today when I got home, having pushed over the newly moved hay panels that I had not fully secured. Did she run away? Heck no. Did she become a pain the butt to catch? Absolutely not. All I had to do was open the gate to her pen and she meekly went back inside. If anything, she seemed ashamed to be on the wrong side of the fence.
2. Cows care more about what you think than horses do. Seriously. I have never owned any animal (including my dogs) that responds more to just my tone of voice. Cows are very vocal with each other and thus pay close attention to the sound and tone of the words I use. All I have to do to stop them in their tracks is give a stern "No" and they freeze and wait to see what I want. My horses have never cared much about sounds associated with my person except for the rattle of grain in a bucket.
3. In accordance with #2, they also come when they are called...by name. I can call Mae or Lucy separately and get the right one to come out the gate. They get the concept far better than the horses and probably better than our dogs too.
4. They train themselves. I bring Mae in the barn each night for milking. Her pen is about 100 feet from the barn, across the yard. After about a week of making the trek twice a day, I now do not need to lead her at all--open the gate or the barn door and she beelines it to where she belongs next and waits for me. If I let Lilly or Cody loose between gates, there is no way they would end up in the right place.
5. They love scratches more than any horse I have ever met. If you have seen those videos of the cows with scratching machines in their barn, you might understand. There is no animal more intense than a cow whose itchy spots you have found. They will not leave you if you have a curry comb on you--you automatically become their god. I appreciate a worshipful personality in an animal.
6. They aren't so spooky and when they do spook, they are more apt to stop and look than run wildly away or jump 6 feet into the air. It has been super windy here all week and things have been flapping around and flying through the air. Lilly can be found bouncing around her pen at times and Cody spends all his time with rattlers in his nose. Mae and Lucy do indeed stop and look at those things, but I never feel like I am going to have a "kite cow" on the end of the leadline. Slow and steady, another thing I appreciate in my old age.
7. Cows are cuter. Maybe not more graceful or athletic or divinely endowed with beauty, BUT they are cuter...even fat, pregnant cows like Lucy. I spend all my time resisting the urge to kiss their wet noses.(ok some of my time, most of the time I just give in!)
Also--cows give us milk, cream, butter and ice cream. Can your horse create Double Dutch Chocolate ice cream? I didn't think so.