Herding – April 6, 2013

I was supposed to be at agility trial in Thunder Bay this weekend…but low entries led to a trial cancellation. While disappointing and distressing I was *gasp* left with a free weekend. This gave me the opportunity to get one more herding class in before the herding clinic on the 19th.

I spent most of the class trying to figure out where I should be in relation to the sheep and when I should leave Bear to work. Apparently I have been in the way and to be honest, it always often feels that way. As usual, our second run was better than the first, likely because Bear is tired.

Today, however, with some great guidance, I got a few minutes of some nice calm work from Bear . Calm for him, that is. Now the challenge is for me to do what I need to do to keep it that way. Aside from calmness being easier on the sheep (and me) it will also the difference between a higher score and a lower score in a trial.

Today’s experience reminds me a lot of when I learned to drive a standard car. I knew what I should be doing, I knew how it should be done, I could get the car in gear occasionally but I lacked the timing and coordination to pull it off consistently until I had practiced (and stalled out) many times.

Unfortunately, the real problem with herding is not getting the mechanical timing right but coordinating the movements of living, breathing things with tiny brains – some of whom would rather be in another pasture, one of whom thinks wool tastes awesome!

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