I’m mushing a few things together here so bear with me.
We’re starting to really learn how to do the drive and i’m mentally pooped. I can make the picture in my head, but i’m struggling to change the picture when the situation change. And it changes constantly. I’m going to have to find some way to start training my brain to make those little position changes more fluidly; maybe squash or street cycling? I think the other problem is that i’m really trying to hard for distance. It seems to be something i can’t get out of my head and i need to just dump it. For instance when i get her and the sheep moving forward, i can’t seem to just take those 5-10 steps, be proud of it and send her around to bring them back. I want one more step. Here is the problem: when we find the right spot and get going… she really chuggs. Hence the title as the problem here is that i am *entirely* too close to everything and i start her way to close to the sheep. Thankfully her stops and flanks are getting more precise, but that only helps once we get going. As most of the time she gets up to the sheep and says “but they’re already here with you. are you blind?”. Then takes a down and waits for me to say something that makes sense. See the problem yet?
But again that’s when i can get it moving. Right now i think my success rate is one in three attempts i get everyone in the right spot and moving for a few steps. SO frustrating.
Today i just couldn’t get it going at all on our regular sheep. Our first set of sheep wasn’t actually our sheep. There were just weaned momma sheep. Which if you don’t know much about sheep doesn’t sound like a big deal, but just weaned momma sheep are stiff and sore and haven’t been worked in months and bagged up and rightfully torked off. Molly was SO wide. She did such a great job of reading them. They moved off her even when she approached the gate, she seemed to tune right in. We also managed to set up a few small drives in and then they got to be fetchy. She popped out two or three wide outruns before we realized we were in the wrong pasture. whoops.
Those not being our sheep did make sense, though. As we were on our way out to the pasture Molly didn’t stay anywhere near me. I could see her and she was just standing there and looking at the trees and lookin at me and running toward me and then running back near the trees. When i finally walked out to get her, she came came *running* to me and was just so stinkin’ pleased with herself. I had no idea why and brushed it off.
After being informed we were in the wrong pasture, i discovered that Molly already knew where her sheep were. In the tree line. You saw that coming, admit it.
That’s pretty much where the fun ended. She did the walk about pretty well, but trying to set up a drive was just not happening at all. And the more frustrated i got, the worse it got. Molly’s work is never truly bad, but because she does consistently good work I am tough on her when she swings her brain into la-la land. While she did eventually fish them out, she lost her sheep in the grove of trees in the middle. Which in winter is filled with swamp and water. Then we managed to completely loose them from almost one end of the pasture to the other. 200yds + from the narrow part before at the set out to the handlers post and we were before the narrow bit. So… 150yds and she pitched out wide on the Bye side. She almost got out and around but got sucked into the gully and crossed over. SO yay for hitting 150yds. BOOO for not being able to do 100ft in the arena. Boo for not taking her down way out there (but really its not like we transitioned out that far). YAY for not dragging the sheep back, but bringing them back in a reasonable manner. I think the fact they were at a dead run was helpful in getting the distance, but it would be mean to do that over and over to the sheep. Just bad stockmanship.
For visual here is a little video from last week. We are standing near the handlers post (where the sheep were when she got around) and the grove on the left and finally the little narrow mouth of the set out area.