the book of job
In the shower I saw my new bruises, nothing drastic. It was more of a morale blow than anything else. I had a rough day and the sheep knock down was the breaking point. The Book of Job starts by explaining he farmed 7,000 sheep. Soaping up in the shower over my new Calico thighs I had a new respect for the man. No wonder he could handle the rest.
But despite the bad day and rushed morning, I am in better spirits. A hot cup of tea after a warm meal and some reading under the blankets had me in a better frame of mind. I spent the night reading from Heike Bean's Carriage Driving and Derek Scrimgeours' Talking Sheepdogs. Both address the novice trainer, and begin with the animal's mind. It occurred to me last night how I am simultaneously trying to understand the minds of prey and predators, sometimes in the same hour. I don't think I ever trained an herbivore before, and assumed my canine mind would translate. It was my second hit in the gut for the night: I'd been talking to the horse as if it had sharp teeth. Then I laughed, realizing Jasper does have his fighting canines, sharp little fangs, where his bit rests. He needs them removed when the equine dentist comes. The appointment was made, and the dental work should make training easier on us both.
One thing I am learning about the Dog and Pony Show is that I expect too much/too fast, and it is crippling our progress. I need to walk out on the field with one, simple, specific goal and leave on a good note. This is something we all know (we being those who train dogs and horses), but in the frustrations of real-time field work I lose this wisdom. I get caught up in the fray, the moment. I have the ability to know this is wrong, but keep making the same mistakes. But I am working on it. Always, working on it.
By the time this horse and dog can work this farm I will be the one changed.