It occurred to me that Dillon hasn’t gotten a lot of press this year. It’s been all Jig and Cian, Jig and Cian. In fact, it appears my last Dillon update was in October. Poor boy. Trust me though, he hasn’t been ignored.
Between my schedule and the weather, we really haven’t had a lot of opportunities to train this spring. Yeah, I’m calling this ‘Spring’ even though I’m not entirely certain it’s not still Winter, or possibly Fall. Could be Midwest Monsoon Season for all I know. Unfortunately, the weather isn’t something I can do anything about.
Back to Dill. The first several times I took him out this year one thing became very obvious: one of us had regressed terribly. I’ll give you a hint, it wasn’t Dillon. Toward the end of last year, after some observations by a friend, I realized I can’t use a lot of verbal commands with Dillon. For some reason, a verbal command causes him to look at me and, in some cases, come back to me. He responds far better with visual cues and pressure and release. I can’t quite figure out the ‘why’ of that, but I’m working on it. In any case, I totally forgot that and so we did a bit of arguing until I remembered. After which, things began to click again.
For both our sakes, I also took a step back. We’re in the small arena, working on solidifying flanks, his There, and rating. That last is a biggy. The boy has two speeds: down and let’s git’r done. Even when I step into him to get him to slow as he brings the stock barreling toward me, as soon as I release pressure he’s up and pushing again. Fixing that is high on our To Do list.
A couple weeks ago the ground actually firmed up enough for me to bring the cattle over to the round pen. Dill met steers two years ago, but since then hasn’t been on them. We need to work on his confidence, as he’s not keen on holding pressure on the noses to turn them. Next time in I’ll put him on a line to help him out a bit. This time, I wanted to see what he’d show me so I have a gauge on where we’re at. He did a nice job of driving them around the pen, kept them grouped, even kicked out several times to tuck in the one that wanted to break toward the gate. He did get himself into trouble at one point by being
stupid less than smart, and discovered being rowdy can get you under hooves. I admit, I was worried he would shut down when it happened, but he rolled out of it, looked at me, then kept working, albeit, a tad more cautiously. Perhaps a lesson learned.
This past weekend we took a road trip and discovered Dillon’s favorite stock. Turns out, after an initial puzzled look and a few sniffs, he’s decided goats are da bomb. I’ve never seen him so enthusiastic. I talked Dave into doing a bit of filming. He’s pretty much a rookie at it, and just learning the ins and outs of his first Smart Phone, but he managed to get enough footage for me to piece together a few clips. I’ll leave you with those.