Monday, November 15, 2010


Pi and Essex Decide That Herding is Fun!!

Essex Says "Hurry Up"

Sometimes there are very special moments when you work with animals. One I remember very well was just a few years ago when I worked my Quarter Horse, Freckles, on cows for the first time. He was bred for it, his grandfather was great cutting horse sire, but he had never seen cows before. As for me, I had no experience working cattle. But into the herd we went. Just looking at the cows got him excited. His ears were pricked forward and I could feel him start to shake under the saddle.
We got our cow and Freckles pushed him out of the herd. As soon as the cow was well away, he turned back toward the herd and stared, waiting for me to show him the next cow. He loved it, he just wanted to chase cows and that was that.

Last Sunday, it happened again, only this time with one of our Keeshonden, Pi. Pi is a special dog here. She was born in the ten puppy litter and right away my son Ryan took a liking to her. He said, "Mom look she has the mark of a mathematical Pi on her chest." So, he called her Pi and when she was three weeks old he told she came to him when he called her. Hmm. I really didn't believe him but didn't argue. He trained Pi to sit, stay, down, and come. He trained her to jump up into his arms, and fed her from a frisbee so she would bond with it. She became the most enthusiastic and reliable retrieving Keeshond we have ever had.

On Sunday, Pi saw sheep for the first time. Just look at them made her quiver with excitement. She was jumping up and down before she even went into the pen. Once in the pen she circled them to the right. Then after a conversation with the trainer she circled them to the left. Finally she gathered them up and placed them against the wall - staring them down and holding them in place. When she went in for the test she passed and the trainer had to lead her out of the pen by her collar - she didn't want to leave the sheep. We are looking for a trainer close to home and want to start lessons with her in the spring so she can get her second leg on her HIC.

Essex had a little different attitude with the sheep. He was very enthusiastic and thought they were a lot of fun. Pi takes life more seriously and is very focused. Essex was having a good time with the sheep and got a little concerned when the trainer tried to show him with the whip how to change direction. He finally did get the hang of that and learned that he could move them in both directions. Essex also passed his test and earned his first leg on the HIC.

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1 comment:

Ron said...

Being there and seeing Pi perform was amazing. I really enjoyed what I saw last Sunday. I just wish I could have stayed longer.

Looking forward to the next tests.