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Sunday, February 3, 2008

Skar's Eye ... or My Stupidity?

No need to answer that. I know, I know, I know. I saw it happen. Ugh.

Took Skar out to the round pen where the small set of Katahdin mixes were. The first thing she did was rip right past me and blast through the set. I gave her a "what for," took her by the collar, and dragged her back out of the round pen. Things settled, I let her back in, told her to lie down, and she took it. From there, it was ok... her eye was locking her up a bit, but nothing major.

I opened the gate to the round pen and we had a nice exit, she gathered them nicely, lied down, and then it started. I couldn't get her back on her feet. The sheep took off back to the square pen where the rest of the herd was. Now without seeing my place, it's hard to explain ... but the spot around the square pen is tricky. I got very frustrated with her, as she was locking up when all I was asking her to do was go down the race (it's about 15' wide), pick up the sheep and bring them to me. She would go in there, and hold them to the far corner. I would have to go help her, take her by the collar, show her how to get between the fence and the sheep, then lay her down. The sheep would cling to the side of the square pen, and go around the front of it and get caught in the "dip" between the square pen and the round pen. So I would try to have her walk up and get them out of the dip. She needed to go away to me, but insisted on going come bye, where the sheep would run back to the race. I kept blaming her, and kept getting more and more pissed off.

Then it hit me.

When I was asking her to pull them out of the "dip," I was blocking her and I needed to move back (and away from the race) about 10'. As soon as I did, she went in away to me and picked them up and brought them to me, and off into the field we went.

The sheep then drew to another corner. She would put them in there, and be content just holding them to the corner. I was frustrated that I had to go help her ... yet again ... and pull them out of the corner. Once we did that, I just started walking. I kept changing the point of balance for her in an effort to keep her on her feet. I didn't realize until now just exactly how uncomfortable she is on her away side. So while doing "walkabouts," I changed my position quite often where it would require an away to balance to me. And she was doing it without knowing it. The slicing and dicing started to mellow as she got more and more comfortable. I decided this was a good place to end. I then thought, what the heck, let's see if she can pen them. So we did! And she was pleased as punch with herself.

And I felt like such a heel.

Humbled again ...

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