Sunday, August 23, 2009

Read it and weep!!!!

Let me tell you all about Cedarville! First...it is a LONG drive to get there! I swung by Tulelake to pick up Geri...and we were off and running.

The fair that hosts the Cedarville Sheepdog Trial is about the size of a pebble......
Justin agreed to show me the squeeze chute and how to use it, amazingly one handed...as he is protecting his fresh kettle corn in the other hand!I found some of the pistol packing outlaws that have been allowed to run in the Cedarville Sheepdog Trail. They were trying out the Basque BBQ, telling lies, and trying to intimidate the new blood!
More outlaws with their dogs.....although the gal in the pink is just an apprentice outlaw....she might be too nice to run with this renegade crowd. Note the gal in the red is hiding her secret weapon....with good reason!
You have to stand in this circle and run the sheep around the course. It was time and points...meaning points for each sheep going through an obstacle and the fastest team wins....not a whole lot of "finesse" going on!
Then there were heckling blokes like this fellow....who removed his old buckle preparing for his new buckle before he even ran! And then...there was this.........the coveted buckle!
My girls ran good......Nell got some very uncooperative sheep that were the same way their run before. She was a good girl....not biting although she really really really wanted to! I wanted to as well! Snook did a nice job too....I just could not get the sheep to run where they were supposed to.....and well, what can I say. Geri won the goods above....the buckle she won in the ranch class (the one I competed in) with her secret weapon.....Meg...whom she has had a whoppin month.....go figure. And then she won the trailer loading contest which payed out cold hard cash......and a new collar for Jim to sport. I tried to make her walk home but she soothed my wounds by letting me hold her buckle! Oh and also.....she gave me unlimited time with these new friends.....


I think I am in love. Sweet puppy breath! I do believe I could have one of these pups ready for the never competed before class in 2010.....hmmmmm.....

I am now off to buy me some fine wooled ewes......I am going to practice for next year........

Seize the day!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Sheepdoggin' Lesson Number 5,689....or so

I probably spend too much time thinking up the title to each of my blog entries. This time titles came to mind such as....When to use Micromanagement: NEVER; or When Excuses Abound.....RUN!; or Vanity Cometh Before a Fall...but then I do believe it was Pride so that one did not work at all! This past weekend was the Northwest's famous LaCamas trial...hosted by the Johnston family at their dairy on the outskirts of Camas, Washington...somebody said it was "the little Bluegrass". Not only is it beautiful, but every small detail has been addressed.....a set out crew, two fields running open and the novice classes simultaneously, fresh sheep, even the weather was taken care of this year!Nell did not run at this trial....back to the "I thought she would be pregnant" idea....so instead she got to exhaust a nursery class. That was such a gift! One I do not take lightly, nor for granted. Anyway, she did some nice natural stuff.....and I enjoyed my job!

Sally ran open....and my first run was not what I had visualized on the road trip to the trial! She crossed on her outrun (note to self...stopping her on the outrun draws her in....I need to get creative), her fetch was lighting fast, and her drive.....well, I could not get it going...try as I might. I walked...I was not running her the way I want to...so I walked. A little voice inside my head kept saying....stop micromanaging....or was that the person walking next to me? How to not micromanage? What does that mean?

We ran late the last day of open....and I had a new game face on as I walked to the post. Sally left me running out and looking for sheep....had a lovely 525 yard outrun. Got to the sheep...and those cute little lambs were hungry so they did not want to lift.....an area Miss Sal and I have been working on. But she kept walking in and she lifted! I hit my fetch panels.....and as I turned around the post...I gave Sally her line and told her to keep it! Small verbal corrections for not....but no micromanagement came out of this mouth...well maybe a small amount..... baby steps! Thanks to Scott Glen's shedding clinic the weekend before....we nailed our shed. And on to the pen. So here is where my vanity got in my eyes.....I wore my hair down. I never ware my hair down but hey, it was a new day and a new me. So....after a lot of work to do so....Sally and I got those evil lambs all heading into the pen with good commitment...and my hair blew into my face. Instead of just keeping to my task....I used my crook hand to clear my eyes...and by golly...I kicked that one nasty lamb out of the pen! Sally wants to know if she can sell me on because I do not suite her.....and well, I am just not sure she will get any offers. So what did I learn....ponytails!

But what I really learned was....Sally is a nice dog....she works very hard for me....I need to continue to figure out how to run her. It is more about me then it is about my dog. And so....sheepdoggin' lessons continue. BTW Sally wanted me to post: One Handler for Sale...Make Offer! No Guarantees: Health or Otherwise....Sold As Is.

LaCamas ends with a double lift trial the last day. I went and watched some top hands put down some amazing dog work to make their run happen on 20 very hungry lambs. It was truly an amazing trial and I am very thankful to have been able to run in it.

I am now off to Cerdarville to run in a small trial. Lured by beltbuckles......and assured that this is one FUN arena time and points sort of trial.....I am running with a renegade crowd!

Seize the day!!!!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The Fine Art of Shedding

I've been sitting around feeling just a little sorry for myself. First, it was the first time in my life lessons with sheepdogs that I missed time with Patrick Shannahan. Second, my whole summer has been spent WAITING to drive to Missouri to breed Nell....leaving me to not sign up for clinics and lessons, pulling out of trials, and the likes for fear I would be driving to Missouri. And then....low and behold.....a slot opened up in a shedding clinic with Scott Glen! I took it last year before I moved to open with Sally, yet I was very excited because I have been introducing shedding to Nell...and wanted to make sure I was putting a nice foundation into my sheds with her. So...off to Fido's Farm....and shedding! BTW Big thank you to Jeanne Boudrieau for taking pictures and sending them to me!!!


The first time out....Scott asked me to shed...and then came out to give specifics: pointing out lack of consistency or poor technique on my part.....creating confusion in my dog.

And then I got to use what I learned...........

Nell sheds so much different then Sally..... I had to adjust my mind! Go figure! But I learned/relearned...the dog needs to be placed across plus a little.....for goodness sakes face the sheep you want.......call the dog through......give a flank (that was an ah ha moment for me...where was I last year when he told us that)....and then Nell MUST STOP! She is a pushy little thing...always thinking forward....and she needs to just stop and hold. Gosh so much to think about!!!!

The last day of the clinic was all about the International Shed....and since I had cooked poor Nell's brain the previous two days....I used Sally. Once I realized I needed to give a flank command after I called her through.......her "regular" sheds were starting to come together much better. And we had a very nice international shed on some yearling ewes. As I reflect back over the past year....since it has been just one since my very first shedding clinic...........we've come a long way baby! I forget that sometimes as I free fall off the cliff of Open!

This weekend is LaCamas! I am very much looking forward to it.....unless of course I am off to Missouri!!!!!

Seize the day!!!!!!