Saturday, September 17, 2011

dog and pony show

Quite the goings on today. My morning started at 6AM with chores and morning prep, and after two farm visits from animal trainers (Jasper and Gibson had special lessons today), I went to load up the truck with hay. A whole day outside and twenty-two bales later all I'm concerned about for the rest of this Saturday night is a solid hour of stretching after a warm shower. I don't know if the ancient Yogi's did their asanas in front of Netflix menus? This one does.

I'll write more about the amazing Maggie and Julie tomorrow, but I will summarize today's dog and pony show thus: I have so much to learn. When it comes to driving a horse and training a sheepdog I know such basic information I sometimes worry I took on too much. Today I was constantly reminded how new I am to working animals. How very far I have to travel down this path of sheepdogs and working animals to get to a point of calm daily use and practice. Both will come along with diligence and stubbornness—of which I have plenty.

I used to see people in movies driving wagons and feel so jealously peaceful. It looked exactly like the way I would prefer to get around. I would see the handlers at sheepdog trials and their effortless words to clever dogs and be inspired at the partnership, happily intimidated to join their club. I still feel these things, but I feel them the way I used to watch the Olympics on cable. This is not a bike ride in the park or a stroll down the road with your pooch, this is nothing short of a lifetime of hard lessons, hard work, and determination and acceptance of humility so intense it can set a girl back 5 steps in her spirit.

Today I learned how much I need to learn. There will not be any driving or herding workshops at this farm anytime soon! But someday there will be, maybe a decade down the road if I keep at it and learn a few things from these amazing people and animals.

I am so grateful for the work of these friends, human and animal alike.

11 Comments:

Blogger doglady said...

Well Jenna, realizing how much you don't know is an extremely important first step. You'll do fine as you have good people to guide you.

September 17, 2011 at 7:17 PM  
Blogger Jen said...

The fact that you know you need to learn is significant to your learning process, I feel! We humans are very lucky that our animal companions, with patience, indeed tend to be very forgiving of our screw-ups.

So far as yoga goes, anytime, any method fits, I feel, with the notion of it (or what I think the serene-powerful notino of it should be, anyway). I tend to to it at night (also in front of Netflix, or the DVD player). I used to think it was weird to be doing the Sun Salutation at midnight, but then I thought about it, and figured it was sunup somewhere!

September 17, 2011 at 7:20 PM  
Blogger Jenna said...

Just a few weeks of yoga have me easily touching my toes and doing pushups, and I no longer wake up with back pain. It is really changing me, this daily practice!

September 17, 2011 at 7:26 PM  
Blogger Sarah Fain said...

Jenna, I just want to remind you how young you are! Truly, you've accomplished a tremendous amount. And you're just beginning this learning process with Gibson and with Jasper. In ten years, you will STILL be young and you'll know exactly what you're doing. Just picture yourself ten years from now, and know that you're on the perfect road to getting where you want to be.

September 17, 2011 at 8:56 PM  
Blogger Diana said...

Sounds awesome!

September 17, 2011 at 10:20 PM  
Blogger jenomnibus said...

You've learned so much in such a short time already, I bet it'll be much sooner than ten years when you'll be at a much higher level with your drivin and herding skills.

September 17, 2011 at 11:18 PM  
Blogger Lynda Halliger-Otvos said...

Roll on, dear Jenna. You are accumulating skills like a bower bird in his Springtime nest-making frenzy.

September 18, 2011 at 2:44 AM  
Blogger MB said...

no matter what level of animal handling you obtain you can always learn something new. No one is truly knows everything about it because each animal has their own personality and way of learning but you can get some general basics down.
So long as you keep at it and are willing to keep learning you will be just fine.

September 18, 2011 at 7:47 AM  
Blogger MB said...

Oh Jenna I remember you posting a recipe your dad gave you and I was wondering if you could post it again? I can't seem to find it. Thanks so much.

September 18, 2011 at 8:57 AM  
OpenID natts121 said...

Jenna:

I drove carriage horses for five years in Downtown Cincinnati Ohio, I had a very good trainer and alot of it clicked after lots of practice, you always learn more each time you do it, animals have a way of teaching us what we need to know also. You are truly on your way and I love the fact that you are asking for help. Being in the horse business I see folks who did not ask for help and see horses that have so much potential if the human end of the deal would have had more knowledge. Thanks for your posting it is the best part of my day!

September 18, 2011 at 9:30 AM  
Blogger Jenna said...

So this morning I worked Jasper first and then Gibson with four ewes. Jasper had some perfect stops and starts, but mostly it was a power struggle. Gibson did fantasticly well for a while, and is really coming along.

I plan on reading a chapter in my carriage driving book and in my sheepdog book today. While a lot of it is learned through everyday practice, some of it can be picked up from ol' fashioned book learnin'

Thanks for your support! And thanks very much to Maggie and Julie!

September 18, 2011 at 9:44 AM  

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