There are several ways in which you can halter break your calf. One is
to begin by tying it to a post for a short period of time each day to
accustom it to be restrained by a halter. Make certain that you secure
the calf to a solid post and tie the lead high enough so that the calf
will not get a leg over the rope. About 24 inches will allow the calf to
stand or lie down as it desires.
As the calf is learning to respect the halter, you should begin brushing
the calf. Be careful, as the calf will be scared and will possibly try
to kick you. Brushing the animal while talking in a calm manner will do
as much as anything to gentle the calf. (At first, it may be helpful to
attach the brush to a stick or use a broom until the calf will let you
close enough to brush him by hand.)
Fairs and stock shows require neck ties. All bulls must be tied up in
the stall space with a neck rope (neck tie) and a halter. This is
required to prevent an untied bull from breeding heifers that are tied
up. Also, it will train your animal to stand straight in its tie-up
area. So, you need to start working your bull early with the use of the
By leaving the halter on the calf in the early stages of training and
allowing it to step on the lead as it drags will help to train the calf
so that when the lead rope is pulled, the calf should respond. When the
rope is stepped on, the calf's head will be pulled around and pressure
will be applied to its nose and chin until it stops fighting the halter.
Also, this will help make your job easier as this practice will keep the
nose and chin area tender enough to make handling easier in the early
After your calf has learned to stand and not continually fight and pull
on the halter, it will be time to train it to lead. Start out in a small
pen and don't expect too much too soon. Begin by pulling the calf to one
side and then the other. This pulls the calf off balance somewhat and it
will naturally move around in the direction you are pulling. When the
calf gives in to the halter, you should relax the strain somewhat to let
it know that when it responds to your pulling, the pressure will go away.
Care should be taken to never let the calf break away when being led as
it will remember it and try to break loose again. Reward the calf when
it responds well by brushing, petting or scratching.
After the calf has learned to lead, it is time to begin practicing show
ring procedures. Begin starting, stopping, setting up its feet, and
always remember to hold the calf's head up. Invite other people to drop
by when you are working with your calf to help it get used to having
strangers around. They should walk around the animal and touch it as
will the judge and others once you arrive at a show.
Exercise and brushing should become a daily routine with you and your
calf. This not only helps improve the calf's trained skills, but also
helps to strengthen its feet and legs, imroves its muscle development,
and increases its appetite.