The lead steer is very important to the cowboys in cattle drives.
He needs to be the type that will not let anyone else get in front of him,
but also needs to be calm and unafraid. The herd will follow him
and go places where they may normally not want to go, such as across
rivers or into pens at the end of the cattle drive. By staying calm,
the lead steer helps keep the herd from stampeding if they encounter
something that scares them, like coyotes. One famous lead steer from the
1800's was named "Old Blue" and he was beloved by his cowboys. His horns
are on display at the Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum.
You can read all about Old Blue at this link
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