I love horses. I have had horses for most of my life. Learning from the horse more than from those who do clinics to teach you about riding or training better. About ten years ago, after moving to Texas, I learned of a horse trainer, Chris Cox. I watched his videos, then watched his clinics. Some words Chris Cox states in his clinics is horsemanship is a journey of the horse. The destination of our journey of the horse is to be a better horseman or horsewoman than we were yesterday. No one ever reaches the place they know everything about the horse, as each horse is an individual.
Recently, I realized I am on a journey with the sheep. I started raising sheep seven years ago. I had to learn how to treat various illness, before I learned how to prevent them. I learned about their sometimes crazy and irrational reactions to things or events. At the beginning of my journey was finding and learning information on feeding and care of the sheep. I still have more to learn in these areas, but feeding and care is not the main focus.
I enjoy my sheep. I go out to the pens, and my sheep gather around me, they smell me, they look eye to eye with me. There is no longer the fear and running away like they did seven years ago. I can call to me sheep and in their sheep time, they will follow. I know each sheep and they know me. My husband goes out, unless he has a bucket or a border collie, they will not follow him.
I have learned how to move around the sheep in a way they do not feel threatened. I observed their behavior to gain the knowledge when one is not feeling well, or might be going into labor, or feel so good they hop sideways. The sheep have learned my voice, so when I am working with them, I can settle them with a calm low voice.
Not everything goes as planned with the sheep. It is not always rainbows and roses. Today was one of those not so easy pleasant days. The plan was to check one group of breeding ewes and ram to see if any need to be dewormed and to trim their feet. I use a manufactured alley or race and chute to trim the feet and deworm. There were only thirteen sheep, should not take long. Wrong.
The first four into the alley were ewes, then the ram. After the fourth ewe, I tried to get the ram into the chute. He would not move. He was stuck. I made the alley wide with a lot of effort on my part since the panels had pressure on them. No go, the ram would not move. He needed his feet trimmed, which most sheep hate. Thinking this might give the ram some incentive to push harder to get unstuck I thought trim his feet. So I reached under the panel since they do not go all the way to the ground, and picked up his feet and trimmed them. He still has not moved or even tried to move. I pushed on him from the backside, I pushed on him from the front, no move. The ram firmly believed he was stuck and would not move either direction.
I had tried to take the alley or race panels apart from the chute, but with the pressure from the ram, I could not do the job by myself. I had all the gates open hoping that would give the ram incentive to move forward to the girls.
Time to take a breath and regroup. I stepped away from the working area and called my husband who was working his job, to explain the situation to him. Our ram does not fit in the handling system any more. When I purchased him seven months back, he was very underweight, and fit through the system. Now that I have given him good feed, have him in breeding condition, the ram does not fit. I am going to need more than my two hands to get the panels apart. We were laughing about the situation. When the ram heaved himself upward with some grunts and groans and pushed his way through the alley and chute to freedom.
Whether the ram just thought he was stuck or actually was stuck, until he made up his mind to put forth more effort, he was not moving.
Our journey with our sheep and our life will have obstacles that occur. Getting frustrated and angry does not help us to find the answers. Sometimes our minds tells us there is an obstacle when all we need to do is put more effort into reaching the goal.
Each day I work at having joy in my life and keeping out the negative feelings that like to take over. I desire a journey of happiness and joy. That does not mean there are no obstacles or disappointments. I choose to work my way around or out of the obstacle with joy, and not give in.
I encourage you to look at the journey you are on, and decide to work for the joy and happiness in the journey and not let the negative feelings that are easy to accept and stay with hinder your journey.