While the rest of the world seems to goal set at NewYear’s… i like to goal set just before the holiday season. Somehow it seems that if i can keep moving towards my goals during the hurricane that is the holidays with my family (Thanksgiving is the big family holiday here), then i can really accomplish anything! Stock goals have always been challenging for me. I really don’t find myself being especially competitive with Molly. Maybe it’s because i’m really just grateful she walks in a straight line at all. Generally comparing how she does to someone elses dog doesn’t really click to me. I suppose i think more like a golfer – i just want to beat a course. I want her to go over that hurdle that seems the hold back many weekend herders in the eyes of some ‘real’ stock people – is she useful?
However, as a weekend herder setting up the spaces we work to test her usefulness isn’t as easy as it sounds. Even though i have essentially free reigns, the very nature of Fido’s being a training facility can create barriers. I have to be thoughtful of the other people that may work the same sheep after me as well as not stealing sheep that others would wish to use. Therefore, there is a distinct need for flexibility and creativity. I can’t fake more sheep, but i can set large flock work aside and work similar skills with less sheep, or different skills necessary for smaller groups. For instance, gate sorting one sheep off is doable. However sorting off all but one sheep – especially sheep that are used to being in large groups, can be challenging.
Eitherway, after speaking with Chris (and will confirm with Elsie at the Wednesday lesson) the goals are tentitavly as follows:
- Continue Drive and Outrun work. Clean work vs distance as one will lead to the other.
- Train to use Molly as the pendog at the June Trial. Chris has very high standards for quiet sheep in this position and we will need to demo ability before the trial.
- RTD/FTD Title &/or AHBA HRD as finances and time allows
In being out of town for the last few weeks, we’ve not done a lot of work. However, our long term homework was 100 perfect outruns. When i left we were at 3. I’m happy to report we are now at 13. YAY! We also switched sheep up for other people over the weekend and Molly did a great job of fetching them out of the arena quietly and moving sheep in and out of pens. She’s still a chicken about her takepens, but not as much as last time. Confidence is building, one atop another.