Today is Friday (I know it says Tuesday up above. Pretend it’s still last Friday) Tomorrow is Saturday, the first Cowdog Trial of the year. I have practiced Puncher so many times the last few weeks that I think I made her neurotic.  She would just look at me like “What on earth do you want me to do? Woman make up your mind!”

Down.Stop. Walk Up. Come By. No. Get Off. Bite. Don’t Bite. Bring ‘Em.
Stay. Away. Easy. Steady. Here. Come. Hey…….  Really?
I thought I had ruined my dog because she basically quit me. I was despondent two weeks ago. (Note: I do tend to lean towards extremes) I even considered not running her at all in the trial. That’s right. When things aren’t going your way, just quit.
So Puncher and I drove up to my friend/coach/mentor, Laura’s ranch. I need to start over. Laura coached me as I worked two of her very broke dogs on the cattle. Then she worked Puncher on the cattle herself. Puncher worked just fine for her.
Guess what? The problem was not Puncher.  It was me, myself and I.
Laura coached me on my part of the partnership. As in body positioning, body language, staying still, helping the dog with just a step, tone of  voice, timing, positioning the dog ahead of time, reading the dogs slightest movement, reading the cattle etc etc.  She even suggested writing the directions on my hands (like kindergarten).
Finally something seemed to click for me like never before.”You mean I have a part in this?”   “I’m not performing my part properly?”  ” How dare me!”

 I went home and practiced my ass off again.  This time my ass, not Puncher’s ass.
This Cowdog Trialing is a dream and I am determined to live it. Last year there was Kingman, then Oklahoma City, and them  WHAM!  I got Puncher’s foot broke.

So here we are today (really last Friday). Going out to bring in the practice cattle one more time.
It’s hot. They’re in the shade. Puncher spots them. I send her “Come By”

She hesitates as a result of my former neurotic evil twin. I tell her “Come By” again and woosh her on.

She pops them out of the shade like corks.
Too fast. Spot is headed south. Puncher turns him.
I keep my mouth shut. Leave her alone. Let her do her part.
Still coming too fast and spreading out. I down Puncher.

The black steer lingered. Puncher brings him. He kicks air after Puncher bites his heel.

She gets them in the pens easy.  Full disclosure: my practice cattle are pre-conditioned to come into the pens after doing it a million and one times.
We take them out to the arena to practice. I pocket my camera. I need to be a better partner now.
We finish. It’s hot. Good dog. Get a drink. OOPS! Sorry. Tank is a almost dry and gross. Puncher, you have a bad partner.
Then we do some real work for TH.
And Puncher gets a real drink.
Tomorrow…..I want to be a real partner.
 I want us to better our best.
Love,  Cowgirl Red    aka Terah
PS Come back Wednesday  to see what happened tomorrow (Saturday)
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  1. This is so interesting–especially to someone living in an apartment in Fargo. What a breakthrough! Now I am dying to find out how everything went!! 🙂

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