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Trained buffalo is faster than a horse
"People take a lot of second looks when they see us," says MikeFegel, Money Creek, Minn., who rides "Cody", a 1,500-lb. buffalo, in fairs, local festivals, and farm shows.
Fogel bought 3-year-old "Cody" in Cody, Wyoming, as a calf and began riding him when he was 2 years old.
"As far as I know, Cody is one of just four buffalo in the U.S. and Canada that have been broken to ride," says Fogel, who has been raising buffalo for 13 years. "I use neck reins and a conventional saddle with stirrups and extra padding. The extra pad-ding is needed because of Cody's sharp backbone.. The saddle sits one to two feet farther back than it does on a horse due to the buffalo's big shoulders. Balance is the key to staying on top. I've trained Cody to back up and to stand in a sand-filled tire."
According to Fogel, Cody rides smoother than a horse because there's less bounce. He's also faster, smarter, and has more endurance. However, Fogel doesn't recommend buffalo riding for the average person. "People don't realize what it takes to break a buffalo. A buffalo's wild instincts make it difficult to break and they're unpredictable. One day Cody can act like an old plow horse and the next day he can be pretty ornery. You can't show that you're afraid of him. You always have to be alert and expect sudden movement because buffalo are incredibly quick."
According to Fogel, buffalo live to be 40 years old which is almost twice as long as a horse. They aren't mature until they're 10 years old.
Fogel formerly leased a 60,000-acre ranch in Montana to raise buffalo. He and Elizabeth Fogel shipped the animals to Rapid City, S. Dak., where they were processed into a wide variety of buffalo meat products under the "Buffalo Gal" label. When the ranch was sold three years ago they moved to Minnesota where they now raise a breeding herd of 175 head.
Cody played a supporting role in a movie filmed last summer in South Dakota called "Dances With Wolves". Set in 1863, the film follows a Union soldier from the Civil War fortresses of Tennessee tc the wilderness of the isolated plains of Dakota Territory. Cody was used in most of the hunting scenes.
The movie is expected to be released in the U.S. by late summer/early fall of 1990.
For more information, contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Mike Fogel, Rt. 1, P.O. Box 72, Houston, Minn. 55943 (ph 507 896-2345). For more information on buffalo meat products contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Elizabeth Fogel, president, Buffalo Gal, Inc., Rt. 1, P.O. Box 72, Houston, Minn. 55943 (ph 507 896-2585).

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1990 - Volume #14, Issue #3