Sunday, February 24, 2013

One of the Best Places on Earth

One of the best places on earth, in my opinion, is the UC Hopland farm. We were lucky enough to spend another day there this weekend. The UC sheep team was nice enough to hold a Pro-Novice "fun"trial for everyone to test their dogs and their handling on the trial field at Hopland.

The farm's yearling replacement ewes were used, and they have not had a lot of dog work, although they have had some. The young ewes worked differently from the mature ewes who are normally used in the November trial. The mature ewes are busy raising their lambs. I have a neat picture of them grazing on the roadsides, but I cannot get it to load in Blogger right side up! Oh well! I clerked for judge Claire and had a great and informative time doing that. Trying to follow along thinking of how I would score a run compared to her thoughts was really a brain teaser for me.

Most of the folks were there in order to gain experience on younger dogs. It was a nice jovial group and despite some chilly wind, was another beautiful day similar to the weather for last weekend's Knox clinic. The handlers were also very fortunate to have calm consistent setout done by Elgar from Wales with his favorite spotting dog Gael. Lucky me, I was allowed to run Coal at the end in a non-compete run even though he is in Open and the rest of the dogs were Pro-Novice. It was nice to get out there on the big open fields with Coal, as we've had little time to work together it seems, in weeks.

And Spot AKA Ernie got some meet-and-greet which he enjoyed. Another nice day in one of the best places on earth!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Just Dive In

I've started and deleted several blog posts, in an attempt to catch up on here. Finally it is a case of just dive in and start.

Looking at my last post we were waiting for lambing to start. Lambing did start, on Super Bowl Sunday and promptly put us into a disaster. The first ewe's lamb was not presented right and things did not go well. But for the help of friends over the phone and in person we would have lost both the ewe and the lamb and not just the lamb. Many lessons learned. Now we are waiting for the Scotties to begin. It looks like five or maybe even all of the six Scotties will lamb. Waiting.

Looks like I did get into Sonoma Wine Country trial. I'm trying to get Coal tuned up on his flanks, stops, shedding, and so forth. There is only so much prep work you can do with a dog who's been to those trials before. It's all up to him once he gets out there, especially at Zamora.

This past weekend we audited a day and a half of the Jack Knox clinic up at the Hopland university farm. What a great location, beautiful weather, lovely sheep, a wide variety of dogs and working styles! And of course the thought processes of working with the dogs and sheep that Jack Knox so generously shares with the rest of us. He really challenges you to think things through from the dog's perspective. What is the dog thinkin'! He kept saying. Give the mind a chance to work. Sounds simple, but isn't -- for we mere mortals!

I had it in my mind to start looking for something else to trial, in the next year or two. I figured it would be a long process to find what I wanted that could work out with my present situation. Humm I needn't have looked very far as Spot was almost right under my nose. So we have a new guy here who is one who really brightens my day and makes me laugh. A lot of potential waiting to be discovered. Looks like I might have a fun summer starting a dog. Yeah, just dive in. :-)