“Out at the barn” is one of my most favorite places to be! While not far from the house, it is world’s away from every day life; a place to escape mundane chores. There is just a serenity there whether taking care of the animals or sweeping the floor. Since we are having warmer weather, I wanted to take advantage of it and deep clean the goat stall. You would think the goats would enjoy having the entire pasture to themselves but they were curious as to what we were doing so didn’t stray far from the gate. Meanwhile, all of their bedding was mucked out (and used to cover the bare ground behind the barn that had turned muddy with warmer temps and snowmelt. What a great feeling to know their stall is now totally dry and ready for the next cold snap.
By the time we got to the donkeys, I was tired and sore! I wanted to halter both to use the weight tape to appropriately dose both for their deworming medicine. Jill was easy to halter; she is easy-going about just about everything. Jack, on the other hand, would have nothing to do with being haltered. In thinking about this, it HAS been a long time since they’ve been haltered. Last fall, we did much of our “driving” training with him loose (aka “at liberty”). Then this immediate last three months had me recovering from surgery; I was lucky to make it out to the barn to see them for short conversations on what was going on with me. As I stared into Jack’s eyes, I am sure he understood what I was saying! But now, I wanted Jack to listen to me and not think I was going to chase him to get his halter on so I could get a current weight on him. Jack had other ideas and thought it was a great game to have me chase him!
Since Jack decided to NOT let me halter him, I took Jill out for a little walk. Even though I didn’t take her out of Jack’s view, so he wouldn’t think I was taking his companion away from him, he still became quite upset. How dare I give her this attention by taking her for a walk while he was left in the paddock! His indignation was almost comical! In the donkey video section, there is a clip of Jack throwing a full-force temper tantrum while I was out walking Jill.
The next day was the day I had scheduled massages for the donkeys. I am very grateful for the help I had both in showing me how to let Jack know he needed to be haltered and for Cody’s help in steadying Jack who had no idea what was about to happen. Both donkeys LOVED their massages by Callie. Good! It was just another experience I could give Jack and Jill that I’m sure they had never before received.
Come Monday, I was able to get back out with Jack and practice our new halter routine. It is going to take consistency and practice for Jack to readily accept being haltered but I’m sure he will become proficient in no time! Again, it was incredibly helpful to have “fresh eyes” look at the situation to come up with a plan to make Jack WANT to let me halter him! Again, there are video clips under the ‘Go Jack!’ tab showing them getting their massages and then again the next day my working with Jack to let me halter him. Again, it is going to take consistency and practice to make this a new habit for Jack.
So what does this have to do with a photography blog? Consistency and practice is essential to good photography. There are always new techniques to learn; technology is always changing. It is easy to be like Jack and become complacent in one’s skills; even become “rusty” in skills once well learned. By continuing to challenge myself in learning new skills, I can pass this onto my clients with new poses and props to make not only their photo shoot more fun but to also add a fresh take on their finished photographs. Consistency and practice IS my focus for the future: in my photography, in working/training the donkeys, and as part of my own personal journey to be that much better tomorrow than I am today.