I went out around 7 to take care of the animals. Everything went fine until I realized I left the back gate open, just as Merlin headed through it. As I walked towards him, he flagged his tail and trotted off down into the back fields. Shit! I got the ATV started and headed out to find him. He had already traveled quite a ways before I caught up to him.
Then the great horse round-up began. A single horse herds about as well as a single sheep. I think he was enjoying this new game. Finally I managed to corner him up near Red’s barn and caught him, but that was not after traversing through most of the acreage around our property. Rotten beast!
At least it didn’t take me two hours to catch him like it did yesterday. That seems to be his only true vice. He’s figured out if he turns his butt end to me when I’m trying to catch him, I back off. I don’t think that he’ll kick me, but I don’t know that he won’t. When we finished our ride yesterday, I put a light, ten-foot long cord on his halter. I know this isn’t a good idea, any more than leaving a halter on him, but until we work through this issue, I’ll have to take the risk. I did take the cord off him when I gave him his PM meal. Luckily I put it back on him when I fed him in the morning. I think some of the problems with catching him have to do with his being head shy. He doesn’t want his head touched. I was so pissed at him when I was trying to catch him yesterday I was seriously thinking about taking him back to the sale this Friday. That isn’t going to happen, but I was pretty mad at him. I called my good friend Judy (in her younger years, Judy was a professional horse trainer) and she talked me through it. While on the phone with her, I walked him down and caught him several times in a row. She was good enough to call back 45 minutes later to check on me. At that time I was in the saddle.
I took the unopened bag of 10 percent horse sweet feed back to the store that I bought it at and have been feeding him the mixture that I made up for the goats several months ago. I know I wrote about this experience, but I believe that post was one of the many that were deleted when my server went down. Basically, I had a feed mill mix up many different types of grain including sunflower seeds, alfalfa meal and pellets, oats, milo, barley, beet pulp, XP yeast culture, seaweed meal, wheat pearls, salt and wheat bran. The picky-ass dairy goats wouldn’t eat it. I do mix a small amount into their grain mixture when I’m milking them, but except for that, the grain bags have been sitting in the ShelterLogic building with the hay. The chickens have been pecking at the bags which ultimately will end up ruining the grain. I figured I might as well feed it to Merlin. I soak it in warm water for about a half hour before I feed it. He eats it. He isn’t a picky eater.
I’d love to get the dairy goats off their sweet feed, if only during fly season, but I doubt it will happen. The feed I had made up is pretty powdery, which is fine if you wet it, but I expect that’s one reason why the goats won’t eat it.
Our ride was pretty uneventful. My left knee and ankle (the leg that was injured in my fall) are bothering me quite a bit. I hope that improves soon. I’ve been sleeping like a rock the past few nights and I’m sure that’s due to all the time I’ve spent outside.
My desire to train the dogs is all but gone these days. Before I got Merlin, I was thinking about doing some Border Collie trials, but now that I have him, that thought is gone, gone, gone. My training of these dogs will be so that they will be useful farm dogs. I need them to be able to work close, far away, etc. just as you would for a trial dog, but I also need them to be able to work all different types of stock from sheep to goats to poultry to cattle to anything else that might need to be moved or controlled (except horses of course). Now that I have Merlin, my free time will be spent riding, not at sheepdog trials. Not that I ever truly had enough free time to spend at sheepdog trials. Not that I ever would have enjoyed going to a sheepdog trial. It just isn’t for me.
That said, Gel is, as far as I’m concerned, fully trained to do what I need him to. Split isn’t going to go bad if I don’t train her over the next couple of months. I’m waiting on the goat kids to finish her on.
Until later …