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Mechanical Cow Trains Cuttin' Horses
"I've used various types of mechanical cows all my life, and this is the best one I've ever seen. One of the best things about it is that it doesn't require another person to operate it," says Cletus Hulling, a nationally known Tennessee horse trainer, about the computerized Cuttin' Critter.
"It's a lot more dependable and economical than live cattle, which sour after you work them two or three times so you always need a fresh supply. That can cost thousands of dollars a month," says Hulling, who had a Cuttin' Critter installed in his riding arena last year. "This teaches the horse what you expect it to do by repetition. That's great for working on specific problems with young horses and it's a great maintenance tool for older horses."
The Cuttin' Critter is the brainchild of Jerry Paterson, a Texas inventor.
The Cuttin' Critter consists of a fiber-glass cow the size of a 500-lb. heifer. It's mounted on a bar that swivels 180 degrees. Cow and bar mount atop a dolly pulled by a continuous rope loop along a track that's usually set up 120 ft. long.
Driven by an electric motor, the rope and cart are radio controlled and computer operated. The computer has 7 programs which vary movement, speed, stopping time and distance, etc., of the cow. In all, over 40 combinations are available from the programs, which become more complex as numbers increase.
It took Paterson, who learned electronics while working with irrigation systems, about 7 years to perfect the system. It began with a hydraulically controlled model in 1985, then evolved to electrical in 1989. Paterson trained horses with the electric model himself for two years and sold the first prototype in 1991. A few bugs were discovered and Paterson worked them out by 1992, when he sold 14 machines. To date, he has 92 machines operating in the U.S., Canada and Germany.
The Cuttin' Critter, which carries a 2-year warranty, is available in ground track or ceiling-mount models. Costs $16,500 and $21,750, respectively.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Jerry Paterson, Cuttin' Critter, 1405 S. I-35, Valley View, Texas 76272 (ph 817 726-3757).

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1995 - Volume #19, Issue #3