Fitting horses to the work they have to do in our mountain country is key in our selection of them. We want animals that will fit the environments that we place them in. The same goes for Alderspring’s cattle. We are careful to select animals that will travel efficiently in the high mountain landscape; we try to pick smaller framed, athletic cattle with a tad of wildness about them. We want cattle with their animal survival instincts largely intact. Contrast these cattle with their bovine polar opposites: Holstein dairy cows. Yep; those are the black and white stereotypical cows you see on milk cartons, proudly displayed with Farmer John and Jane’s arms draped over them. They are easily twice the size of our beeves and would have trouble even walking up the roads on our ranges, let alone up the rocky trails to the luscious alpine meadows that Alderspring beeves frequent. They often have trouble breeding again after having a calf and when they finally do have a baby many of these spotted mamas have no instinctual maternal traits that even make them interested in their little bovine bundle of joy. Dairy hoof trimming is a booming biz in North America, but in contrast, I know of no beef trimmers.
The Basis for an Alpine Paradox; Circulation; 2004; 109: 103-107