Saturday, September 25, 2010

Kudos for Finals Webcast!

Nothing but kudos from here about the wonderful Finals webcast today!

My old and slow computer got an upgrade to its guts last night -- I very carefully opened it up on the kitchen table and added memory -- so the webcast worked just fine this morning. The dogs woke me up at 5 AM; I tried to go back to sleep but suddenly realized, hey, it's 8 AM in Virginia! I was so pleased to find out that my scary computer work had done the trick.

I can't imagine that there is possibly one blog reader who doesn't have the link for the Sunday finals, but here goes, just in case:

USBCHA National Finals Streaming Video Link

It's hot-hot-hot the dogs got just one quick work apiece after another run to the feed store for hay. Now back to chores put off due to streaming video!

Good luck to all the competitors in the Sunday finals and a special shout-out to our trainer, Bill B. and his fine dog, Mike, for getting into the final round.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Virginia Finals TV Interviews

There are three short interviews (each about four minutes) on this Washington, D.C.-area TV station website. The reporter is covering the USBCHA National Finals and the Belle Grove Plantation where the Finals are being held.

TV Interviews Link

They are pretty well done and give you a picture of where the action is happening this week!
It makes me a bit sad to think it has already been a quick year since we were at the Finals outside of Klamath Falls, where we had such a good time and met so many friends!

Good luck to all the competitors this week.

And a hearty "job well done" to our District One gals who did so well in Nursery.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

More Humility, with Tri-Tip

Coal last Sunday at the Hagemann Ranch fun trial (photo by T. Tucker)
I just love this photo of Coal taken last Sunday at the Hagemann Ranch. We ran in a "fun" trial generously hosted near Bodega Bay by the Hagemann family. There were three "celebrity" judges to score the runs, all handlers from days gone by who have won many a trial in the Redwood Empire style.

We were treated to fresh sheep who had no use for a dog. This proved to be quite difficult for those of us who (a) have no opportunity to train on fresh sheep and/or (b) have dogs who have little to no experience working truly fresh sheep. Coal lifted them and then eventually I retired on the fetch before he blew up. I was told later that I should have let him blow. It is all about factor (c) the handler who has so little experience running the dog on fresh sheep and knowing what to do with that elusive split-second timing. Another comment from one of the judges was something along the order that our trial dogs of today might be too obedient. Something to think about. Well I would think about it more intelligently if I understood the concepts more completely. Let's just say it's all more of that humbling learning experience that is dog trialling and the tricky balance between what is just enough and what is too much.

Afterwards we had a wonderful potluck that was centered around grilled tri tip at the Hagemann Trout Farm, a lovely location. If nothing else the Redwood people do truly know how to serve and eat a great meal!

Fortunately we do not have any trials for a few weeks. Whew! Coal, Rime and I are working on our various assignments until our trainer gets back from the Finals. I am hoping to show progress or if nothing else, no de-evolution! Sigh. Pass that jug of humility this way, would ya?

Monday, September 6, 2010

Labor Day Weekend 2010

The dogs and I have been relishing a three-day weekend with me away from the office and having time to rest and recuperate. And work dogs! We've put in three solid days of dog work, two of them at the home field working with a setout partner/dog (thank you, thank you, you know who you are!) and the middle day working at a friend's place to get that "away from home" effect, especially for Rime. I am hoping we see improvement and progress from the three consecutive days of scheduled training and handling efforts.

The Labor Day weekend ritual in the past few years has consisted of frequent checks at the computer and refreshing the Soldier Hollow Sheepdog Classic scores page. Congratulations to all who have made it to today's final round! As it's not over until it's over I can't congratulate the winner yet but they are all champions to have made it to this day.

Last night I finally got a chance to watch the documentary, "Sweetgrass". It is really worth watching and savoring if you are at all interested in the sheep industry, ranching, and the American West. Oh yes -- and the occasional border collie plays a role too -- but really the movie is all about the sheep and the family that cares for them. Even in the rough moments, the care shines through. I imagine it was really impressive in the movie theater on the big screen with all of the panoramic photography. But even on my old TV I really enjoyed the film. Put it in your Netflix queue!

Once again I was lucky enough to have a friend taking pictures of me working with Rime. This time we were at a friend's place where we went to get Rime working 'away from home'. The sheep were lovely white (yearling?) dorper/dorset crosses who are much bigger and stouter than the sheep we normally train on. It is great to get Rime (and Coal too) out on sheep that they don't know and to work in a different place. I just wish we had more places to go. Rime turns 21 months old today so I am feeling bits and pieces here and there of his maturity starting to kick in and that his work is starting to come together. Anyway here are the latest and greatest up to date photos of Rime learning a bit of an assisted drive and also of us working on a bit of pace and feel on his sheep. Enjoy.

Photos by T. Tucker.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010


SB250 has been defeated, at the eleventh hour (literally) in the California Assembly. Details are as always on the Save Our Dogs website. A huge thank you to all who helped!

Let the good times roll!