Monday, May 31, 2010
Sunday, May 30, 2010
Seize the Day!!!!
Friday, May 28, 2010
You know, I have never ever been a good shopper!
Seize the Day!!!
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
Seize the Day!!!!!
And then I see her stand up.......and I think..."oh my aching back".......and I remember to tip her well so I don't have to do this myself!
It also takes a small village to get the sheep and wool handled. Adele and Beau were in charge of moving the girls sporting new hair cuts around the barn to their pasture. Sounds easy but the sheep are very squirrelly from the shearing....and singles are not easy to work on the best of days. Adele had her work cut out for her.....and Beau did real fine.Traci and Natch Kant filled the holding chutes and then skirted and bagged the fleeces. Kant's job was to shred the skirted off wool........well, she thought that was her job! The skirting and bagging job was a little different this year as many of the fleeces were WET! We have been having an unusually wet spring and 24 hours in the barn was not enough time to dry the girls out. So my work is not done just yet......half of the fleeces are drying up in my playroom much to my family's chagrin! Hubby says our house smells like the fair. I thought I would compliment that statement by having corn dogs and elephant ears for supper tonight!
Seize the day!!!!
Sunday, May 23, 2010
Sera's owners will be working her a little bit at home and giving her plenty of time to grow up. I look forward to the next time we get together to work dogs! Until then.....
Seize the Day!!!!
Saturday, May 22, 2010
A few years back, she started occluding her esophagus. First it was when eating grain.....little piglet of a llama seemed to eat fast without chewing.....so grain was fed only in small doses....and mostly as a lure to catch her for the infamous vet visits. The occlusions became more and more regular on all food sources and it was decided that she had a malformed esophagus....a disease familiar in the camelid family. She began to loose body condition and eventually was so miserable she went off food. It was time to say goodbye to my special gal. A very sad day indeed.
Thursday, May 20, 2010
So all week, I have been exercising my muscles and practicing my finger whistling. It now only takes me three tries to get my first lie down whistle out. Many of my whistles are starting to sound like my brass whistles.....well, at least to me.....Sally has interpreted them all as "walk on" whistles....so I am not doing them for her anymore. Not until I get better! What a stickler Sally can be! I can also, once started, get 5-6 whistle commands out before I get light headed and need to sit down! I am making BIG progress!
In the coming weeks....if you drive by Rocking Dog Ranch.....and see me laying in the pasture, buzzards circling.....just know.....I have been practicing my finger whistles! Thank you, cowgirl friend!
Seize the day!!
Saturday, May 15, 2010
Here is Traci's gal....Kant....looking like a page from a Sheltie Calendar.....
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
All joking aside, Bella and I have been doing really great........Bella is like a sponge right now.....and lesson availability is limited in my area....so camp seemed appropriate! I have taken some lessons with Diane, watched her train and run her own dogs, and have appreciated her training up of other folk's dogs......and the icing on the cake was the fact she has worked with a few dogs from Bella's lines and understands them! Done deal. Oh..that was bad.....sorry!
From my perspective, Diane has done a fabulous job holding my hand. The reports she sends back are great...but I really do miss my girl. I think Sally and Nell miss her too...but love the fact that they get to share her sheep work!
Oh, sweet L&M Belle.......Bella Rosa to me....I miss you already!
Seize the Day!
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
There were also some "readers of my blog" at Big Willow. A shout out to all of you....you know who you are....that follow my trials and tribulations! This journey is so much more fun to share with friends.....
Seize the Day!!!!
Monday, May 10, 2010
I spent the day watching, taking mental notes, and thinking about how to improve...what's next. When to redirect, how to hold her off the sheep but let her work on, and further improve the teamwork that we are just now beginning to develop. Second day: I talked to her and tried to redirect earlier in her outrun.....she did blow through but as I watched her, I felt her hitch and think....when she topped the little hill and saw the sheep she blew herself out for our very first ever non-crossing outrun at Big Willow! Atta Girl!!!! Our fetch was very nice, hitting our panels...the sheep were pushing on Sally and I tried to hold her off and let her work in a rhythm suiting the sheep. Around the post.....and gasp....Sally sliced a flank and went to the sheep's heads! We ended up retiring at the first drive panels due to some serious overflanking on Sally's end....and handling management issues on my end. But here is what I have to say.......I was a winner!!!!! Yep, 30/RT......on the scoreboard but Sally and I won! This whole sheepdog trial experience is about relationship...and it has taken me a whole big fat year to settle my head on that! A Big Hat once told me, "you will go to trials and see a rare dog that is so talented they take your breath away.....but the winning scores are often the dog and handler teams that have the best relationship in addition to training and understanding." Well, that is my version of what was said.....and that is what I am striving for.
Here are a few of my thought about other runs that were memorable for me....fist and foremost was Rob Miller and Jen, who ran right on my heals the second go so I did not get any photos. The sheep were pushing on Jen in a similar fashion to how they pushed on Sally.....but Rob handled it with such finesse. His dog never overflanked, he let the sheep go and took control with incredible timing, and his dog ended up face gripping to cash the check! Amazing to really identify what was happening on both our runs...that for me is an important step in improving my handling. Thanks to Rob for talking with me after our runs!
Patrick Shannahan put down the winning run the first day.....I always watch and take notes...especially as he sheds!
Ellen Skillings ended up winning the whole trial......I missed her run as I went home to spend Mother's Day with my really awesome family.....but I did catch her near-flawless run the first day. Here she and Emer are bringing the sheep on one beautifully straight fetch. I am working on my "mental management" when it comes to running my dogs at sheepdog trials. Disciplining myself to think, first and foremost, on what I really liked, then spending some time thinking about what went wrong, why it went wrong and ending on how to improve. I continue to sift through what input I allow myself to listen to and what input runs off my feathered back. Those I respect, and want to be when I grow up, seem to wait for me to come and talk to them. They give great, honest feedback when I ask for it and am ready to hear it. They are also the same people who can help me celebrate the beauty and improvement in my runs.....and for that I am so very thankful.
Big Willow....what a trial! The course is complicated, the sheep are so bloody honest, the whole trial is a mirror, showing the unedited truth of what the dog, handler, and relationship truly is. I have work to do....but today, I will embrace my progress, celebrate my Sally, and call myself a winner!
Seize the day!
Sunday, May 9, 2010
The sheep are taken from a band of 1,000 sheep, grazed right there in the desert, lambed out right there in the desert. Never being handled much by human or dog until they move on to be sold or processed. And keeping in mind, much of their "dog" contact comes in the form of predators: coyotes and, the re-introduced into the environment, wolves.
The trial sheep are cut off from the main flock...which are then grazed a few hills over yonder. Handlers and other volunteers then graze the trial sheep......shedding off fresh sheep as needed for the runs....and keeping the "chosen" group from rejoining with those who just get to graze in peace.
A few times, the main group drifted over to make chaos for the " trial grazers". You can see some sneakers there on the ridge....naughty sheep!Times like that....the cowboy/shepherd came to the rescue on horseback! Or one of those "in charge" of the trial would ride off on a 4-wheeler to save the day.
At night, the temps dipped down below freezing......dry camping left my RV very cold and I was thankful for my bed warmers.......you could say it was a five dog night!
We've only just begun....