In addition to operating her own Waukee-based communications and coaching company (called fullCIRCLE), Kim Waltman helps manage her family’s Delbridge Cattle ranching operation in Decatur and Ringgold counties. So on any given day, you may catch her in her car with a handbag or on a horse with a saddlebag, an idea that caught our attention at dsm.
Edgy: I always carry a knife. If I ever don’t have it, I need it—cutting twine, ear tags, scraping stirrups. A knife is essential. This one, made by Buck, has two blades.
All Tied Up: Ropes have always been important in ranching. So are the lengths of baling twine in my saddlebag. I might need to secure a gate or temporarily patch a fence. It’s an everyday, all-purpose material.
To the Point: People are surprised that we routinely carry syringes and sterile needles when caring for cattle. We use them in cooperation with our veterinarians. That’s why I often have medicine in the bag, for various health issues. Then we monitor the “patients” to keep medicines out of the food chain.
Sticky Situations: We carry an ointment that is an adhesive. We use it to attach temporary denim patches—which we make from old Wrangler jeans—to shield the eye of a calf with pink-eye, an occasional affliction of cattle.
Get a Grip: Fencing pliers, like the one sticking out of the saddlebag, are essential for fixing wire fences.
Tag, You’re It: I use the ear-tagging tool on young calves so we can keep track of them. Tags are attached to the cartilage of an ear, numerically coded with a tag marker so we know which calf goes with which cow and other helpful data.
A Dash of Color: A “paint stick” gives us a way to temporarily mark cows, telling our team members which ones have recently received some special treatment.
Other Stuff? My saddlebags sometimes also carry snacks, water bottles, bug spray, sunscreen, my phone, gloves and sunglasses. On horseback, we’re often working a long way from roads and resources, so it always pays to think through what I’m going to need and be sure I’ve packed it along.