I was one of the lucky folks whose name was picked to run at Scio this past weekend. Two dogs were allowed...and I picked Nell and Sally to run open. Saturday, Sally was my first dog to run...and yes, I did sleep with the running order under my pillow the night before! Just sayin. I loved Sally's run....there were a few bobbles, all of which I can take credit for as handler errors.
After Sal's run, I was talking to a blogger friend, J, and he said something along the lines of...I sure like it when bloggers post where they are sorting things and not just the common theme: my dog ran great. I thought about that all day. One reason I do not focus on my struggles is...I am working a mental program that emphasises that "what we think on, we become". Also, sharing struggles makes for some out there transparency and often elicits advice. However, I do see a challenge for myself and so I will share "what I am working on". I do in fact share my struggles....with a group of friends that I feel have my best interest in mind and want to see me become all that I want for myself and my dogs. And for those few folks, I am very thankful!
Sally and I have been working hard all winter. With a little bit of brain picking, sage words, and lesson after lesson, Sally's shed is looking way better. And maybe my shed is looking a wee better too. Also, I have worked on my handling style with Sal...no hard "lie downs" unless needed and a bit of steady and keep your kep...and I got all that and more on my first Open run of the season. Lastly, at the pen, I had a ewe that was stomping and talking trash to Sally with "your mama" comments. I handled that a little different this time, willing to give up the run to have Sally keep using her talent....gave a lot of shushing and 'get hers'...and we got our pen.
Nell ran dead last for the open class. I did not mind...by then the day had cooled and the sheep were settled. I have felt Miss Nell growing up, maturing, and really wanting to work for me over the winter. I'm not sure what changed...me/her/ or her 4th birthday, but I have really begun to enjoy her as much as I love the talent I see in her. She did me proud....giving me everything she had and more. I have to admit...her score, and placement, and first points towards the finals were very sweet and nice....but the magic of the run and being in the zone as a team for the first time with Nell in open was priceless! Not to say she has never run open...just never well.
Sally and Nell would both like to guest blog here and say.....they have been working on my shedding over the winter and were pleased to see it finally coming along!
Nell ran first in open the next day....and as I went to bed the night before, I kept saying to myself...consistency, consistency, consistency. Once again I really loved how she ran for me. As the sheep came down the fetch line, I saw I had "that sheep!"...the big fat one with the pink nose and the blue ear tag...the one that the sheep provider warned me about...the very same one that laid down on the course the day before. And honestly, Girl Scout promise...I thought....bring it on baby!
Sally's last run was a bit of magic for me. The same theme as Nell, consistency....and I handled her the best I have in a long time. We had to work for our shed...and I bobbled her at the pen....and at some point the panels were irrelevant....it was just that team feeling that left me on cloud nine.
Two days, four runs, and my dogs brought everything they had with them and gave it back. So here is what I need to work on...ready...ME!!!! Oh my gosh! Timing, strategy, understanding, better use of what my girls have, understanding the terrain and watching to see how the sheep are affected, draws and that stuff.
One of the highlights of the weekend was sitting with a couple of friends that are handlers I look up to. Run after run after run...the sheep ran all the way down on the fetch, and I mean RAN! I said I knew that Top Hands would never run sheep like that on the fetch.....so can these sheep actually be walked or paced? They assured me, YES and then talked to me about strategies on doing so.
I was reminded this is about the sheep...and the balance of bringing out the talent and beauty of our dogs because of the sheep. It is only about me, as I fit into that picture....of keeping this about the sheep and the dog. That is what I will work on.
Seize the Day!
Spot March 2017; Listening; Hearing
15 hours ago