Never thought a pet bison could be a thing till this success story.
While we often see stupid tourists trying to get close to feral bison while visiting national parks, which often leads to near death or hold-your-breath scary experiences, there are some times when bison can be sweet.
When any animal is born into and grows up in the wild, it’s natural for them to have a fight or flight instinct, which often leads to these wild bison protecting their space in the way they know best. However, put them in a different environment where they don’t have to fend for themselves, and you get a different outcome.
Western influencer Emmie, better known as Steadyrein or Emogoatmom across social media, rescued an orphan bison and has made it somewhat tame. I’d also like to preface the term influencer in this article because I don’t personally think she fits the “influencer” stereotype. Yes, she has a large following, but she isn’t pushing brand deals or posing a picture-perfect life. She’s a bada** rancher who lives in a horse trailer in Montana and highlights what it’s like to live a semi-off-the-grid life.
Part of that wild western adventure is raising an orphan bison calf.
Lucy, nicknamed Lucifer because she kept trying to headbutt Emmie during bottle feedings, has grown quite the social media following. While she is cute and snuggly while she is more pocket-sized, Emmie has been very transparent with her following on what is in store for her future.
She hopes to keep her “tame” so she can continue to travel around with Lucy and keep the bison in her herd of horses.
So, what does keeping a bison “tame” look like? Step 1: Saddle break it. Because how much different could it be from breaking a horse…right?
Emmie started out breaking Lucy when she was small and more manageable. That way, it reduces the risks of anyone getting hurt, and she can grow accustomed to being messed with from a young age.
“While people are questioning my sanity, I do eventually want to ride her.”
After getting the calf accustomed to having a saddle pad over her back, and with minimal meltdown, Emmie found a children’s saddle to put on her. After a quick refresher course, the saddle goes on, the cinch is tightened, and Lucy takes off with some bison bucks. But once those were out of her system, she seemed not to mind it.
A few months later, Lucy was in Arizona for some ranching and threw some big bucks during her saddle-breaking season. Maybe bison bucking is a competition that PRCA could consider. I mean, the dog toy strapped to her seemed to hang on, I bet a bull rider could sit a buck or two on a full-grown bison.
While I am not encouraging anyone to go out and find a bison of their own to break, I must admit I am fully invested in Emmie’s bison-breaking process. As she has had Lucy since she was a calf, there is a certain level of trust there, and as Emmie has broken many horses over the years, she has a toolbox to make it happen.
So the lesson here is cowboys and girls- take in all the bison calves you can. Yellowstone National Park tourists- for the love of God, stay in your cars.
Now that she is weaned from her bottle, Emmie shares that she spends most of her days with the bison herd that is close by but chooses to come back and see the horses and Emmie when she pleases.