Sunday I got to the barn, gave him a quick groom and let him graze while we waited for our ride to the sorting. Apparently, along with forgetting how to stand, he has also forgotten how to load onto a trailer... the joys of Jingle. After a lot of ramp-dancing and general idiotness, "I bet you if I go backwards really fast mahm wont be able to hold on", jokes on you Jingle, he loaded calmly and nicely... why can't my horse be one or the other, why does he have a split personality?
He warmed up really nicely in their arena, he LOVES new places, he fixates on new things and new people and their horses. Such an odd duck. Once we were all done our warm-up the owner of the barn came out and said that because not a lot of people had called in advance they hadn't set up the cows for sorting, so instead he thought it would be fun and beneficial for everyone to run a bit of a sorting-clinic. It was wicked!
We started out by walking our horses calmly through the herd, "cutting" them in half, and paying the cows no mind. This was a good exercise for the less experienced horses because it allowed them to move slowly and give them time, but also show them that cows do infact generally move out of the way of them. For the more experienced horses it gave them some well-needed "slow" time with cows. (Except for one lady who felt the need to spin and lope and sliding stop her horse every two minutes the entire day... there is always one.. I honestly think that learning to be "slow" has been my greatest accomplishment this year). Jingle started out a bit frazzled and rushed but by the fourth or fifth time he settled calmly into walking through and amongst the herd. The man running it commented on how nice it was that he calmed down so easily. I had to giggle to myself.
We ended up getting a chance to sort twice, and then we split into two groups and got to work cows one on one. They set it up so that we could go into the herd, split our cow and then practice fencing and turning it. This was definintely Jingle's weak spot, with sorting I think he enjoys the energy and understands somewhat what he is suppose to be doing, however, he is definitely not cow-ey. He listens more to me (not complaining) than to what the cow is doing, thus, with one on one work with a cow I don't think he quite understood what I wanted of him, and that made him frusterated. We had a couple head-tosses and "Hey mister, when I say stop, you stop" moments. I tried to keep it as slow and calm as possible, but it's hard when your cow is slipping away. Aside from that Jingle was not as responsive to my legs as he could have been, or I know he can be, and it caused us to lose our cow a couple times.
When we went to load up Quiz and Jingle, my horse once again decided he didn't know how to load onto a trailer. It was quite embarassing. A couple of people came and circled around, and one guy grabbed a lariat and placed it around his rump and guided him into the trailer. I was hesistant to just hand my horse off to someone I didn't know, and it kind of annoyed me that he just up and grabbed Jingle from me, but he was really calm and controlled about the whole thing, and it worked well. I think next time we trailer I may have to employ the lunge-line through the door method with my horse to teach him that this new-found behaviour isn't acceptable. However, I was just woefully unprepared for his antics on that particular day.
A part of me get's a little twinkling of frusteration though, no-one that's new to something likes to have people oggle their misbehaving horse. Of course, my horse is the only paint there, sticks out like a thumb, doesn't have a drop of cow-sense or cow-blood and is bitless. A part of me always get's a sinking feeling in my stomach when people eye-up my sidepull contraption and then when jingle is being pushy or bad I know some of them are thinking, "why wouldn't that silly girl put that horse in a bit". I know why he's not in a bit and that's really all that matters to me at the end of the day, but i'm allowed to have my moments of grumblegrumblegrumble if I want haha.
So, aside from our little loading fiascos at the start, and at the finish, I am once again very proud of my horse. I love the fact you can take him somewhere new and he does great, that is such a great quality, and for the most part he remained calm and listened to me throughout the day. Another great sorting under our belt, and the mini-clinic was such a wonderful way to work on some things, and try other techniques I may have been too nervous to do in a timed and speedier situation.