Monday, October 12, 2009

Sheep Surfing in the Mud at Linda's

Linda Peacock called when she made it home from Kiln. We drove over for a lesson. Noel, Flash, and Rip were also there.

Small pen work with 5 large sheep went well. Grace is still a bit too enthusiastic at the beginning. She struggles to down/sit on command... or stay still in a down/sit if the sheep or I move at all. Linda worked her much more firmly than I do and Grace was doing better. I just hope the firm handling isn't undoing some of the socialization. However, Grace is being really stubborn and still is so eager to herd that I'm not too concerned.

Grace managed to cut around and run head on into one of the sheep's rear legs in the small pen. It took her a few minutes to shake it off and go back to work. Then these same 5 large sheep performed a clipping maneuver behind me. I toppled over backwards and landed on the backs of the sheep. I was carried several feet across the pen on the backs of the sheep before I slid off into the mud. Both Grace and I seem okay today after these misadventures yesterday.

Next we moved to 5 smaller sheep in large pasture. Grace did much better keeping up with the sheep in the big pasture than last time. We made it through the obstacles without loosing any of the sheep in our group.

Lastly we attempted to move Linda's entire herd in the big pasture. Currently, this is too many sheep for Grace to keep up with. Grace gets in too close which causes the sheep to "flee" which means the flock splits and scatters in different directions... so that we loose 5 sheep and keep 15 sheep or vice versa. Tap was a huge help with some big outruns to pick up escapee sheep from the flock. I'm doing better at taking the many sheep to the one.. or the group Grace and I have to the group that wandered off. We will have lots to learn but I can see vast improvement in both of us.