She teaches me more than I teach her.
My attempts to teach her are really my efforts to control her - to ingrain into her intelligent brain that my voice is the one to acknowledge and not her inner instincts. Her instincts tell her to circle the horses into a tight group and then herd them in a direction. The more they rebel, the more she enjoys nipping their noses and heels until they go where she wants them to.
This is a near-daily argument between the two of us. While she's following her natural instincts, she's oblivious to the fact that I've called her to me numerous times and she doesn't know that I exist until she sees me heading her way.
Then she knows.
Even after a year-and-a-half, I have to remind her every day that I'm the alpha of our pack. But when I do, we fall into this harmonious togetherness. When she sacrifices her nature, she falls into step beside me, watching my hands, my body language, the sound of my voice and whistle. She explores a few feet away but only for seconds before nuzzling my hand hanging at my side. We stood like that for a long time at the horse's water trough today. Just...together.
She realizes it's more sweet to be working with me than against me.
And the more she submits to the pecking order of our pack, the more I trust her. I even let her try and herd the horses for the sake of her enjoyment.
All I ask is that when I call, she comes running.
Yesterday she learned a lesson I've been warning her about. My attempts to control her agression toward the horses have been for her own protection but I can't convey that to her.
Dubar, however, can in the form of a mighty back kick that sent her airborne and then running. Running while screaming. She didn't know where she was running to. She ran behind the barn and then around the barn. And then to someone who might know how to help her.
I checked her over while she cried. She trotted off to the house and I followed her. Once I knew she was okay (except for some bruised ribs, most likely) I took her back out to the horses.
She was terrified. She stood about 50 feet away and watched me go in to shut off their water.
I called her to me.
Just like all good cowboys get back on when they've been bucked off, she needed to overcome this feeling she's never felt before - fear.
She hesitated but then rushed to my side and stayed there while I shut the water off and closed gates. I want her to know that she's bad-ass. I want that tinge of fear (the first she's felt in her life) to turn into a healthy respect.
I want her to know that my voice is worth listening to.