Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Life is an Adventure, or, Little Horse Mountain

Life is an adventure. Whatever we do, it will be fun. Those are the takeaways from our trip to Little Horse Mountain, even though some  of it was not so fun for Spot and me.

Evening views

Mt Shasta

Sheep in the exhaust field

Sunset at Little Horse Mountain

Nursery handler walks to the post on Friday

Nursery field on Monday

Nursery handler and dog walking their sheep to exhaust on Monday

At the pen in Nursery

Cooling off after Nursery

Ember

JJ
It was so neat to watch the Nursery dogs. I love seeing the green dogs when they are just starting their sheepdog trial career. The foundations are there but the experiences need to be filled in....so exciting!

Ryme and I sorted sheep out of the exhaust to drive back up the field for afternoon runs on Sunday. Photo by Gloria A.

Ryme and Nell push hot and slow moving sheep through the field back up to setout. A long walk. Photo by Gloria A.
Ryme had a great day on Sunday. We sorted a bunch of the ewes out of the exhaust, leaving some behind to graze and with Gloria and Nell's help, we walked them all the way back up the field to setout for the afternoon runs. By this time it was hot out and the grass was pretty tall. It was hard to push them and I was glad that we had the two dogs. Ryme acted like he was far younger than his eight years and worked like a champ. When another handler came on a quad bike to pick us up, Ryme ran with the bike like a two year old. He had a blast! He looked so happy. This made me happy. :)

Spot seemed anxious and confused and we had two RTs in his trial runs. We will be taking an indefinite period of time away from trials, and go back to as much "real" work as we can find, and just rebuild what we had. He seems affected by the negative experiences  at the trials, so it will take some time to get his attitude back. It is all puzzling but I just keep telling myself, Life is an Adventure.

Aside from that, this is always a great trial to go to and help with, and a lot of fun. The sportsmanship level is high and the gathering of great handlers is a wonderful place to be, amongst over-the-top hospitality and a high level of very competent trialling laced with a lot of good sense of humor.  Everybody pitches in, to make it happen.

Whatever we do, it will be fun. Life is an adventure.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Found 'Em Boss

I used to have a framed print by an artist whose name I can't recall. It was one of the first things I bought portraying a border collie back in the early 1990s. The name of the print was "Found Em Boss" and it portrayed a border collie who had found some sheep hidden in snow. I left the framed print behind in another lifetime and have always been sorry that I did that.

I think this little photo taken with my iPhone could carry the same caption.




Monday, May 22, 2017

Grateful For...

Grateful for...

A mowed pasture to work dogs in. No foxtails waving at dog's head height. Yay :)

Friends who check in and make you think your way around and through your challenges.

A little bit cooler day than forecasted.

And many more, including this:




Sunday, May 21, 2017

Randomness


Random thoughts. I have just been letting things be since withdrawing from the last Open trial that Spot and I were entered in. I am not pushing any big decisions or choices. Many have asked me what I am going to do. I am just letting it be. Still working, still working my dogs. Riding my exercise bike and trying to do my exercises. Eating healthy. Resting. Letting things be. Feeling a bit blue at times, I admit. Last summer when Spot was sick I realized how important it is to my ongoing well-being to have a dog to work and carry forward with. Still working all the dogs and mainly letting Spot push sheep and working on takeaways from the confidence lesson that we had with Derek last fall.

Meanwhile things float to the surface. Like, when you step to the post (or walk to the line in agility, or run for officer position in an organization, or become a manager in a business, etc.) you put yourself out there in the public eye. Or when you enter a trial and then don't step to the post.  Or when you step to the post (or line) and then retire your run. True friends are supportive. They let you be and come around to whatever choices you need to make in your own time. When you want to talk it through, later, they listen (sometimes endlessly - gah! ) and offer suggestions.

What else happens is out of my control so that is how I am choosing to view it.  Observers have opinions gained on the sidelines but not on the trial field.  Still others somehow think it is their business what that handler does after they step away from the line. This is the contract that we make when we step to the line or the post despite that fact that it is nobody's business but our own as to what we do. We agree that our actions are viewed and public. Much like writing a blog! :)

Letting things be sometimes lets positive things happen.

My opinion is this. If I step to that post and send my dog, I am far and away a winner no matter what the outcome is of that run.


Friday, May 12, 2017

The Light of Failure

A very thoughtful friend sent me this.

Enjoy :)

The Light of Failure


Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Two out of Five is...A Start




Our Nevada trip to the extremely well-run sheepdog trial in Carson City was a good one. We had a good time even though our first run again resulted in an RT. But, our second run got us a score. So, two of our so-far five runs in Open have resulted in a decent score, in two of the hardest sheepdog trials in our traveling radius.  It's not bad, or at least it's a start. I had hoped for a bit better but it could be way worse.

I had never seen so much snow on our drive to Nevada on Highway 50. Oh my! The piles of snow on the side of the road from the snow plows towered over my car by two or three times. It was beautiful but the immense acres of snow were astounding. The mountains were beautifully frosted with remaining snow. I had to keep reminding myself, this is April.  But we were extremely lucky- the weather for the trial weekend itself, was beautiful.

The trial was held on the middle of Carson City, in a residential area, on a remnant of a pasture that remains undeveloped but will probably not be that way for long. It is a flat field with beautiful views and easy access and close to all the amenities of town. The trial is so well run and ably staffed that it is a really good one to put on the calendar. The sheep used are from the Borda family locally, and they were Sierra Nevada range ewes (who I believe must be part Thoroughbred). The sheep definitely defined this trial. They were very tricky to say the least. The lift was IT. The trial runs were all about that lift and how it was carried forward into the first part of the fetch.This was an Open trial after all...but it's really a test of the dogs and the dog and handler partnership.

We had five ewes per run on a ten-minute course. On Spot's Saturday run he got out there, had trouble lifting, but got them going, then things got difficult and messy, and he seemed anxious. The sheep were carrying him offline. Before things got too bad I decided to walk. He is still learning about different types of sheep, let alone this type of sheep. I didn't want him to have a bad experience.

The second day I sent him the other direction (away). I was determined to try not to put any extra pressure or anxiety on him from me. I didn't try to show him the setout point and just walked to the post like he knew where the sheep were. I think this was more successful. We made it to the shedding ring where we timed out. I was pretty happy to get the outwork and drive completed. I kept talking to Spot when he was close enough to me, like when we were turning the post. This trialling thing is taking more of an adjustment from training, than I perhaps thought it would -- especially on the different types of sheep. We are learning as we go.

I had a great time visiting with friends, and the boys and I were treated to cozy lodgings and wonderful hospitality. And there were puppies to play with! :-)



Thanks to all who helped to run this trial, and to those who offered me such great hospitality. It is all very much appreciated! :-)

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Making it Real and Back to the Future

Recently a friend whose ewes were getting really close to lambing, needed to sort said ewes out of a bunch of other sheep and move them to their lambing location that is more in-by. We showed up at the right time and the dogs and I helped to sort the groups. It was nice to put their training to work - making it real - in a helpful situation. We could have gate-sorted the sheep but that is hard on the gates and on my knees. So, I sorted them using a mini-international shed for all but the last few, who got gate sorted. First Ryme helped me to sort six training sheep out of the bunch and those were put away. Then we worked quite a while to sort yearling ewes out of the rest of the ewe "bunch".  This was a lot more difficult because some of the yearlings were really attached to the big group and kept running back to the older ewes. We got this part way accomplished, and Ryme was apparently getting tired. So I broke off and got Spot and gave Ryme a rest. Spot and I finished the job and we put the bred ewes in a pen to be loaded on the trailer and put the yearling ewes out in a pasture to graze. When you have a real job to do it makes it really clear why all the training we do is so important and not just being incredibly picky about clean flanks and stops.



Of course it was raining lightly during this chore and I suppose I should be glad that it was not just absolutely pouring. We are still having a record rain/weather year. It still feels like winter and we are more than halfway through April. It is a good thing that the bred ewes went to their lambing spot, that morning, because the first one delivered healthy twins, late that afternoon, and another ewe had a single, that night!

Back in my childhood we watched the Jetsons' cartoons on TV, and we were led to believe that commuting to one's workplace would eventually be accomplished in a blink of an eye in a space ship that traveled at the speed of light. Astro the space dog was often present in the passenger seat of the space ship. :-) Now in a similar fashion, my commute has been shortened to a few steps, because I have joined the ranks of the WFH set.  Back to the future, for me. It takes some getting used to and I have not fully made the adjustment, yet. The dogs gather around my work space and sleep, most of the day. So far only one conference call has been interrupted by a loud squeaky toy being tossed around, when I mistakenly thought my (soft) phone was muted. Back to the future. It's an odd combination, an ages-old tradition such as bringing ewes closer to home for lambing, and a Jetsons-like work experience.

The Boyz at Carmel, our favorite place