Annie, doing what comes naturally (to a corgi!)Gay, a horse I once looked after, was a strapping dun Arab/Welsh cob (as you can see), and she had been taught to lunge on vocal commands without the use of a lungeing rein or whip. All you had to do was get her going and she would trot round on a circle, with a bit of encouragement now and again.
Annie encouraging Gay to go on
Annie, my first corgi, willingly provided that encouragement - when Gay thought about stopping Annie would head towards her and keep her on the move, without any help from me. The sight of this enormous horse being put through her paces by a diminutive corgi was one to behold.
Annie also proved to be a natural worker with sheep. I used to spend part of the summer working at a trekking centre on the North York Moors taking Annie with me. Part of the dry stone wall separating one of the farm's fields from the moor had collapsed, with the result that moor sheep were getting into the field.
I took Annie with me to shoo the sheep back on to the moor, and she immediately got behind a ram, went for its heels and began to herd it towards the gap in the wall. Soon all the other sheep followed suit and were back on the moor.
Thereafter if the sheep came over the wall all I had to do was open the door, point towards them and tell Annie to "see 'em off." She raced joyfully up the field and got all the sheep back on to the moor by herself, then sat by the wall (if she'd had arms she would have folded them!) daring them to come back.
One day she took her herding instincts to excess. Like most farms we had an assortment of hens roaming about the place. We also had an outside loo for the use of people camping in one of the fields. One day I answered a knock on the door to find an anguished camper asking if I could please move my dog as she had herded all the hens into the loo and wouldn't let them out or the camper in.
Right enough, there were the hens perched all over the loo, clucking away to themselves, and Annie standing guard outside.
On another occasion I was looking after the farm and its 15 trekking ponies while the owner was away. The ponies broke out of their field and crossed a little river on to a neighbour's land. The farm sheepdog did a bunk when I tried to get him to help herd them back, but Annie got behind the lead horse and drove him towards the river while I stood in the water rattling a bucket of pony nuts. Where the leader went the others followed and thanks to Annie I got all the ponies back. I couldn't have done it without her.
Our Corgi World, Christmas 2011
Published with the kind permission of Our Corgi World