Monday, August 18, 2014

Sounds Like Life to Me.....

Oh, sheepdog trialing.......slivers of the mirror of my life....if I look closely enough; funny how running is running...be it the dogs or me.  I owe LaCamas a debt of gratitude for reminding me....allowing me to remember things:

1. My dogs run for me...they never look at the score sheet and I'm not even sure they know a trial is a competition.  They don't always 'like' running for who I become, at times, while I stand at the post...but they always run for me. In sickness and in health.....till death do us part....they run for me.  If they don't, I had better take a good look at their health and even a closer look at me.......the answer lies somewhere between the two.

2.  Trials allow me the opportunity to practice what I need to practice....those opportunities will present themselves if I keep my eyes open...focusing on what is important.  I get to practice what I need...letting go of expectation, disappointment,  staying true to myself, finding the good in the dogs, building up and coming along side friends, working on me, being truthful with myself, allowing drama, politics, negativity to run off my oiled outerwear.....watching for patches that might need attention.

3. That I trial for myself.....the P in PR is PERSONAL.  No one walks my journey, nor I theirs.  Winning and placements only define me if I allow them to.  I won't.  If someone else allows this to be their definition...so be it....it is their journey.  It's a choice to keep my eyes on my own journey.  And while I'm at it.....I get to make a choice to be kind to myself.

4. And while I am on the subject, scores do not define me....nor my dog.  I can look at my break down and it may or may not tell my story.....but it won't tell success of where I am and what I've been working on.  That is PERSONAL.....what I am working on.  The judge's scoring is just one person's opinion; mix in other's opinions of my run...good friends know and challenge my thinking in ways of improvement... my fetch might have been fast but I was working on not yelling at my dog and I made a bit of relational progress in us.....like it or not, that won't be shown in a score.

5.  Relationship is what I am longing for with my dogs. They are my dogs and I dabble in knowing them and how to handle them relationally.  Sometimes I fall back into habits of "make"; I'm a work in progress.  Sometimes my ego gets in the way of relationship; sometimes fear.  My heart was so filled with amazing joy to see Bella feeling good again at LaCamas.  It's been a LONG journey of rehabilitation from the cattle panel incident of April.  Fear whispered in my ear that she might never recover or trust me again.  It was fun to see her hunting her pressure points with much gusto.....and knowing that she is just a tad out of condition....we can work on that.  My handling was a little rusty.....a few miscalculations and hesitation on injury muscle memory on my part making a bit of chaos on the cross drive and a little wide turn at the cross drive panel......but we were a team.  Relationship! Today I hug that.....I've work to do, that's alright, but the relationship improves and I'm up for the task. She runs for me.

Sometimes when I run my body, I have the idea come to me to quit.  Early on, a book I read told me to embrace the idea to quit.....invite it to come running with me....let it in and let it out of my mind like the shopping list I always make.  It is just an "idea", it means nothing, I don't have to do it, I let it in and let it out...and soldier on.  With time, the idea to quit does not visit me much any more.  In fact, yesterday, after not feeling well for a few weeks, on my road run, quit came calling.  It's not been around for so long, I hardly recognized it.  I stopped, looked around and then, one step after another, I ran again.  "Come run with me, Quit.  You've been gone for a while......come run with me" and I soldiered on......bread, salsa, chicken, protein drinks.....my grocery list starting to form and edge out quit; it left the same way it came.  Sometimes when I'm at a trial to run my dogs, I forget all that is important.  I allow self doubt, critical thinking, ego, drama, and talking to distract me from my journey....I'm practicing allowing all that in, sitting with it and not fighting it, welcoming it along, and allowing it to move through, out the other side......those old tapes and habits and patterns are only what I allow them to be.  With practice, I'm hoping it becomes easier to not get trapped/caught up in all the distractions that want in.......with practice, I want to easily have them pass through, let them out and maybe they will stop visiting all together.  I soldier on, grateful for the ability to practice....come run with me.



Seize the Day!


Thursday, August 14, 2014

The Thrill of It All.....

I'm preparing to head up the road to one of my favorite trials....LaCamas.  It tops my list for a number of reasons: lovely field, challenging sheep, local.... really, though, it was my first every big open trial I attended way back in the beginning.  I remember hanging out by the open field, after my non-existant pro novice runs with Snook...who would not lift sheep off the setter from an old grudge....it was outrun, glance at setter, same trajectory all the way back to the post to pick me up and take me to the truck.  I sat at the open field, off by myself, and watched run after run after run, dreaming of the day I would send a dog on that field at LaCamas.  Those memories of the years following, the dogs I have been privileged to send, the runs, the dramatic end of a grip in the shed, the gambling cone of last year.....and now I load the truck for another opportunity to live my dream.  Crook, check; lucky leash, check; security blanket whistle, check!  I am off.........

My goals:

*run the dog I am taking to the post
*stive for that magic of team work: appropriate corrections, clear whistles, sharp timing
*know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em
*Seize the day!