Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Lambing School

Yesterday, I participated in a lambing school that was hosted by Oregon State University. I had participated a few years back at the OSU lambing barns....but was hoping to get some of my "more in-depth" questions answered. Little did I know that....wherever I go.....it seems to SNOW! I must admit this is getting just a little ridiculous....but...onward...... ...and UPWARD? Me....she who is afraid of heights.....had to climb stairs and cross big huge divides on planks of lumber without(#$&#+!!!) handrails....to the perch where the class was held. All the better to observe the pregnant ewes below in the holding area......I am sure!!!! Hey! I think this girl might be having a baby...or two! I totally wanted to go help...but NO we watched and she did just fine on her own....imagine that!
After the ewes lamb in the big holding area....and after they clean their lambs and do a bit of bonding.....they are moved into these jugs. I really like how they have metal feeders and water holders attached to the top panel of the jug.....keeping lambs from drowning in buckets.
All in all, it was a great day. I had to leave early to go feed my own sheep. I am looking forward to having lambs of my own real soon......all without that Mt. Everest experience of a bloody nose and vertigo from the observation pertch!
Seize the day!

Monday, January 26, 2009

One GREAT Clinic

One of my new year's resolutions for 2009 is CONSISTENCY. With that in mind, I am looking for all the opportunities to work with trainers that really speak to how I train.....want to see me get better..... are not afraid to hurt my feelings but will speak truth to me......and provide that consistency that I seek when working with my dogs. That opportunity presented itself with a Kathy Knox clinic in Arlington this past weekend. Here, Nell awaits her turn....not patiently....but not out of control either.Nell bringing the sheep on her first go.....nicely covering the draw!
I get the valuable input on what Nell and I need to work on. Nell is a pushy little thing...always a bit forward...so we will work on that.....
I must confess that Nell looks so much better at home! Funny that! Which brings me to my second "c" of training for 2009....CRITERIA. I am beginning to look at myself and my criteria...checking to make sure that I keep it CONSISTENT. Nell is beginning to understand that I don't change regardless if the sheep change, or the place changes....or the weather changes.....


Speaking of which......this is what I woke up to Sunday morning for the clinic!
Oh, another snow picture......but well worth the clinic. I must say...I love working with Kathy. I love the fact she gives concrete homework. I think I actually learn more watching her work with other dogs...and then applying that same knowledge as I work my dogs. What a GREAT clinic it was. Until the next clinic........

Seize the day!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Sweet memories of England....

It has been one short year since my awesome, supportive husband put me and an empty, border collie sized dog crate on an airplane to England! I landed at the Manchester Airport shortly after 9 in the morning.....long flight.....a little foggy headed.....to realize that I had not brought the physical address of where I was staying! Nor a phone number! Who would have thought the passport lady would NOT know Derek Scrimgeour! So after a brief hiccup in passport jail, bail was posted by Derek's shepherd, George...and my dream "vacation" began!
This is the house at Lonscale Farm...........
After grabbing a snack....open faced toasted cheese sandwich with a pickle relish "thing"...and of course tea with milk and sugar.....Derek and I were off to work dogs! This just might be what Heaven will look like........ Here, Derek is working Fleece....a little bitch he bought from America's very own Geri Byrne!
The next day, Derek and his wonderful wife Helen, took me to their place by the border of Scotland......it is a 17th Century Jacobean farmhouse.....an absolute to-die-for place with daub walls in the older barn portion.......And of course we worked dogs! We awoke very early the next day, and Derek took me to the Skipton Dog Auction. The dog auction is quiet the event....here is a picture of potential buyers.The field set-up is like a small trial field...trained dogs can gather and hit panels on a drive, while less trained dogs can show what they can do.There were some very nice dogs for sale.....but since I would have been bidding against my gracious host, I chose instead to behave myself!

My last day in England, Derek packed me and a few dogs up and took me to a trial. Here Derek is running a little bitch named Molly.

And this is Killiebrae Sally......
I took one look at the ladies loo.....and immediately STOPPED drinking tea!
We were up well before the sun as Derek took me and my souvenir of choice....a small, rough coated, black and white bitch named Sally.....back to the Manchester airport. My thanks to Derek and Helen Scrimgeour for their hospitality and for sharing their love of this amazing animal...the Border Collie!


Seize the day!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Great Day!

Thank God for sunshine! That, and pregnant ewes, gives one the hope of spring to come. Yesterday, my friend, Molly, brought her young Kelpie dog, Mel, out to work. Mel was imported from Australia through Simon Leaning, a friend and working dog trainer of Molly's that lives Down Under (check him out at www.marionvale.com). Mel had been on sheep just a couple of times since the holidays and snow/flood havoc.

Here is Mel trying to get a read on my very wily Shetland sheep. We were working 5 and every time the dog would get the one side nice and tucked.....well the sheep on the other side decided to create chaos. That is what I love about Shetlands...they make a dog think!






In this shot, Mel is beginning to start to learn to drive. That is Molly, his driving instructor.....who did a fine job. Way better than I ever did teaching my two teen aged sons to drive...that is for sure!







This last shot is a picture of Aled Owen's Roy (photo by Angie Driscoll)....who won the World Trial in Wales in 2008. He is Nell's dad!
Speaking of Nell.....she.....is in heat! Yup that means that she will be coming back into heat at the beginning of July. I am hoping to put her to Kathy Knox's Jake....and that will leave me with an RV of pups at the USBCHA Finals in Klamath Falls, Oregon September of 2009 (web site in my link section). Oh the dreams of potential for the year to come!

Seize the day!!!

Monday, January 5, 2009

These are a few of my favorite things!

The Border Collie Training Center has become my Disneyland! Every single time I go down to Tulelake, California to work and train dogs at the BCTC....I learn tons, experience more, and have too much fun to mention! This past weekend, I became "Road Warrior" to drive 6 1/2 hours (one way) to go train dogs, run in a trial...and then work on what I learned I needed work on after said trial! The temperatures were in the degrees that I did not know existed.....but here we all are, Saturday morning.....running dogs (or attempting to!)



Dare I mention names.....and not get threatened with bodily harm.......hmmm...

There was a bonfire...like it helped! And the trial was a HUGE success. So here is what I need to work on......Miss Sally not getting stuck on the exhaust sheep!
Being a BCTC member.....the next day I was able to take sheep out onto the very same trial field.....left set up as everybody else went to Lana's cow dog trial.....and Sally and I worked on a few things. Like hitting panels.....with a guard dog for distraction.

And then a very good friend joined me and took sheep out so Sally could get to the outrun she missed by obsessing over the exhaust sheep. I think the outrun was about 500 yards...maybe a bit more. Miss Killiebrae Sally....who has only seen sheep on bright green pastures.....did indeed find the dirty white sheep amidst the tan tumble weeds! With only Dee as my witness...her outrun, lift and fetch were near perfect!
Thank you Geri Byrne......from the bottom of my heart....for providing such a fabulous place to work and train dogs! I had the BEST weekend....well, a score would have made it perfect....next time!!!!!

Seize the Day!