Archive for August 15th, 2009

Walkin’ w/Cass

Today at the barn was a pleasant day, well, it’s always pleasant there but we had an exceptionally pleasant morning. I got there a bit earlier than my usual time and found both girls sleeping in the barn with the cows. They didn’t even come out to see me as I went about cleaning up the pasture and preparing for their day. Cass, Becca, Snuffy and his girls all just stood calmly watching and waiting as I puttered about with Eva the cattledog as my constant shadow. I picked up poop, turned on the fan, swept the barn and then it was time to start some real work.

I haltered Becca up and took her to the round pen, whip in hand. I think she thought she was just going in there to eat grass but quickly figured out I meant business. She started trotting around like a big horse as I directed her by applying pressure by moving the whip. She didn’t want to go very fast so I had to make her step it up a bit with a pop of the whip behind her. I’m still real clumsy at making my turns and she tried not to do them but we got a few accomplished. Cass had been standing outside the pen watching but when she saw me make Becca move she ambled off to graze, hoping it wouldn’t soon be her turn in the dreaded round pen. When I put the whip down at my side, Becca immediately applied her brakes and then walked to me, which is exactly what she’s supposed to do. We did this a few times, too. I then had her stand still in the middle and I ran the cord of the whip all over body, from her ears to around her rump. She stood still and listened to me telling her what a good girl she was. Then I flopped the whip over her head on both sides and she still stood still. Everyone keeps telling me the girl is gonna be bombproof and I guess they’re right.

It was getting hot so I put her lead rope on and walked her into the front of the barn. Cass was already standing in there waiting. She puts herself directly in front of the fan. I hooked Becca to the tie-line and then gave her a quick grooming session. I’ve had problems with her not wanting her feet picked up and cleaned. The other day I was getting frustrated and made myself stop and think as to how I got Cass used to such things (though Becca has had this done from the beginning!). So, I now brush her and talk to her before picking up her feet. This has been working. Still not perfect but better. She is very antsy and does not want to stand still. I had to move everything out of her reach because she was having too much fun pulling stuff around and playing. Now there’s nothing for her to play with other than me. She tries that, too. I kept her tied and then cleaned Cass’s feet. She’s so good now I don’t even have to tie her, she just stands for me and lets me do it. I am hoping Becca is learning something as she watches. Becca is learning patience while being tied, she gets better each time. I need her to have nice manners like her mother does and the only way that’ll happen is if I make it happen.

I put her in their pasture and she went to chill out under the fan. Now was Cass’s turn for an adventure! I haltered her up and we went for a walk down the street. I made Eva stay on our property so I could concentrate on Cass. I let her munch some of the long grass on the side of our driveway and then we walked across the road. She thought that grass may taste even better! She was very alert, but calm and confident. We casually walked down the road, stopping at certain points for her to sniff something or grab some grass. Neighbors came by us jogging and walking and she said “Good morning” to them by letting them pet her. Cars were in sight but never came down as far as we were. As we strolled, Becca was working herself up to a tizzy, especially when we got out of her sight. Eva had followed us in our fence as far as she could then she sat to wait. The neighbors commented that Cass is just simply stunning looking close up. I was very proud of her. We got about halfway down and then made our way back to our barn. She was in perfect position beside me at my shoulder. Normally when I lead her on our property she lags behind.

Eva was relieved to see me return and Becca was thrilled her mother actually came back. She had worked herself up to a sweat in the short time we were gone. When Cass walked in their gate, Becca just came up and stood beside her. Both were more than ready for their breakfast by this time. Cass was so calm and cool, I’m beginning to think maybe she’s not as spooky as some may think she is. Walkin’ with Cass is going to happen more and more. I think my girl may have had a pleasant morning today, too.

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