The view from above…Elsa rests at my feet during a break on a long day of gathering. Never far from where I am, this is typical Elsa. If I’m on horseback, she’s at my horse’s back end on the left side…95% of the time. I didn’t teach her that, maybe that’s where the shade always was! Note the dirty poo on the side of her head. She had to roll in some fresh green, maybe it helped cool her off! I worried about her some… it was fairly warm and it’d been a while since we found water. But we had a break and we went chasing a mud puddle, which she was very thrilled to lay in and drink! All my dogs have a great fondness for K9 Restart – a doggie gatorade that I pack along.
Go lay down! After we’ve gathered a section of pasture, we all meet at the sorting grounds. There we pair up each ranch’s cattle and send them different directions. Oftentimes it looks like mass chaos…riders cutting mothered pairs out of the herd, some riders turning back those that want to leave the bunch, but don’t have their calves with them. Other people just work to keep the herd together. It is during this time that the command of “Go lay down” is used. Lucas has that one down pat. He’ll search for a quieter area and try to find some shade. Obviously he didn’t find much this time! Sometimes a cowboy will trail a pair very close to Lucas and not see him. From somewhere Lucas hears me say “Stay”… and though temptation is there to chase the cow and calf, he does behave and the pair is cut away from the herd. Elsa is better if I take her somewhere and down her and then tell her stay. “Go lay down” is too much of a command for her to hear and she often turns her head away from me, signalling I was too loud or demanding. But I wonder sometimes why cows and calves are watching me so intently… I look down, back, and to my left and there sits Elsa…who broke her stay and just *had* to help me out!