Lots of cattle have been moved by getting all the cowboys behind the cattle and driving them to their destination hollering and screaming. This was not acceptable in the Trail Driving Days. They would have never reached Dodge City. You will never see cattle moving in the pasture this way. Cattle trails are made by cattle following each other in an orderly way. Cattle have a social order, strength and knowledge are at the top of the order and they will be your leaders. Some old Trail Drivers had lead steers. Lead steers were natural leaders, the lead steers were first to take the trail after resting on the bed ground. These lead steers worked with the point men and trail boss to lead the rest of the herd where they going. Some of these lead steers had a bell around their neck and the herd would follow the sound of the bell, it became a comforting sound to follow. Cattle were trail broke, it was became natural to stay in a herd, as cattle have a strong natural herding instinct. The cowboy crew was divided into the same number of riders on each side of the herd. The leader or Trail Boss knew the trail and where they were going, so he took the lead. He also regulated the speed. Sometimes he needed help when the cattle got too pushy and going too fast. The Point riders kept the cattle following the leader or Trail Boss and would help hold up the herd if they got to moving too fast. The riders behind the point men were called flankers. There may have been several sets of flankers behind the point men, depending on how big the herd was, all the way back to the drag riders. It was their job to keep the herd moving in a straight line and not to allow them to spread out and waste energy going back and forth. If it was a mixed herd of cows and calves, it was necessary to keep the pairs together and not let them get split. Babies are bad about getting lost from mama and mama gets nervous and starts wandering looking for the youngsters. Flankers and point men should work together, staying evenly opposite each other. Cattle move straight ahead this way instead of being allowed to leave the herd and wander from side to side. Point men and flankers can create pressure by riding closer together. This can cause cattle to move faster or slower. Cattle don’t like to go through a gate if a man is too close to the gate. Best to back up and let them see and smell the gate. Riding up only works after you have a solid line of cattle going through the gate.You can still screw things up by riding too close to the gate. Pressure is always something to be aware of when working cattle. Different cattle feel different pressure. Something to always consider when working cattle. Knowing where to be at the right time. The drag riders can be the most important men on the trail. Usually the weakest cattle on in the drags and it is not easy traveling in the drags with all the dust. if the drag riders know how to let the drag cattle settle back some and not stir up much dust, they will follow right along and not get too far behind. A herd can move only as fast as the slowest animal in the drags, if you intend on getting there with the herd intact. That is why baby calves snd cripples were never allowed in a trail herd. A good set of cowboys who know how to move a herd will always make a big difference in handling cattle no matter whether you shipping or branding. It is a joy to work with a crew that knows how to gather a herd, move a herd, work a herd or just hold a herd. Nothing to it……just be in the right place at the right time.