Was a funny thing… i was talking to a person who was new to stock trials, but had taken lessons and she said (no joke) “I could never handle stock back there! I don’t have enough experience…”.
Like that has ever stopped anyone. But i felt bad because i laughed out loud and maybe a bit too loud. In my defense i was covered in dirt and just pleased that nothing was bleeding except my finger. Everything was funny.
It dawned on me that i’ve been doing this blog for a long time and there might be a misconception that i know what i’m doing. Ok, that’s not fair. There might be a misconception that i was raised around animals and this is all a very natural progression. If the curve of my life lead me to work cows with dogs, then the next logical step will be my becoming a physicist. It is that far off the natural course.
When i was an infant we had an Irish Setter. I had a cat when i was in elementary school – who hated everyone. I also walked my neighbors setter for a few months. I grew up in an apartment complex and later in a condo, both in-town. I did go to horse camp every year during Jr. High into high school. Which i know sounds very dressage, but we learned good trail skills, bareback riding and those ‘user skills’ that a person around a horse should know: how to smell bad hay, clean tack, curry… those things. That is the end of my animal experience up until high school when i worked in a vet hospital.
When i got Simon he started fetching horses. To learn to harness his power I started working him on sheep at Diane’s. i met Ron. That following April, a group of us went to go check out the ASCA April trial and i was volun-told to cattle. No joke the conversation went like this:
Bob (course director) : we need someone in cows
Ron: We can teach Amy can do that.
Amy: Wait, what cows? *in* cows?
I learned about moving cattle from Ron and Bob in the mud. And the rain. I fell in the previously mentioned mud, was soaked to the bone, wore inappropriate foot wear which lead to an unplanned foot treatment and loved every second. They entertained my questions – including the always popular “none of the cows have horns… are they all female?”.
Yes, i was that wet behind the ears.
After awhile i started working in the pens with other people and now i usually work alone in cows at April for part of the day. It’s a meditation i enjoy. It requires all my focus and the other things just melt away. Sometimes i work other trials. I enjoy the people and the challenge of the different setups. I like watching teams I know be successful and see the handling style of people new to me. It is the best view in the house.
The point of all this is that i’m not a ‘tough’ or especially confidant personality – i’m rather squishy. I’m not big. I had no real experience. You don’t get experience unless you get in and do. Work with someone who has some experience and they’ll help you find a job that works for you.
If i can do it – anyone can.