Bill Fosher came over this afternoon to help me sort out my thinking on pasture subdivisions, grazing planning, lamb growth, wetlands management, and the genetic future of my flock. Because we had a light agenda, I imposed on him to give me a refresher on hoof trimming.
Ninety percent of the challenge is in catching and inverting the sheep into the “first shearing position.” This is not very much like ballet’s first position, but achieving it without injury nevertheless requires a measure of form and grace. I’m still working up to it. Once the sheep is on her backside, she cedes control pretty completely to the shepherd, so the trimming itself is not such a struggle.
The other 90% of the challenge is figuring out where hoof stops and blood vessels start, and staying on the right side of the line. Bill makes this look easy, despite the dirt and dung clinging to the hooves. I’m hoping to work up my courage to take care of the remaining seven barn sheep over the weekend.