This next weekend will be Jai and my first trial together. We are entered in the Gem State Herding ABHA.
We haven't actually practiced on any sort of course, yet. Since I got Jai in October, we've spent, on the average, a few days a week working in Dd's small pasture on short outruns and driving. Enforcing her flanks. Building her confidence. Getting her used to eating organic chicken. Accepting me as her (benign) leadership. Nothing refined. No obstacles, unless you count me and my complete lack of common sense.
My timing is still like a third world train station. My attention span….
Sometimes I find myself standing in the middle of DDs field wondering what it looked like 150 years ago when there wasn't a small blonde woman on the edge of it full of non-native laughter and chiding,
Invasive Species Blonde (ISB): "Back her off!"
ISB: "DON'T LET HER LIE DOWN!"
Me: "YOU SAID TO BACK HER OFF!"
ISB: "YES…Make her SLOW DOWN! DO NOT LET HER LIE DOWN unless you TELL HER TO!"
ISB: "DON'T TELL HER TO LIE DOWN! ADJUST HER PACE!"
The first americans would have scalped her.
No, sigh, they would have TRIED. Then she would have, somehow, ended up getting them to help her build a teepee, or smokelodge, for her sheep and next they'd offer to let her use their land in exchange for her onion dip and spiced wine, plus a shiny buckle. Finally, they'd all be standing on the edge of the field laughing at me. Fuck history.
Jai comes with me everywhere I go. We run in the foothills or desert almost every day, usually in excess of 6 miles.
She's fast when she needs to be. REALLY fast. She's slow, very slow at the top. She tends to be wide. None of which will probably show up in the smaller confines and obstacle-laden ranch course. She listens really well unless I wait until she's made a decision on her own, such as, "This isn't comfortable and I don't know what this 'Shit' command means….I should bite one.."
She will grip under pressure. It's not fast. It's a 3-5 second ride. Not Rose worthy, but too long for a judge to miss. Too long for a judge who will see it coming before I do to miss.
Unless I fall.
So, that is what I will practice.