|My Working Team, caught together in a rare moment|
This is my working team: (l-r) Coal, Ryme and Spot. It's too bad that Ryme is looking away from the camera, but of course he is looking in the direction of the sheep!
Coal is now eight years old (which is hard for me to accept and believe) and he is my Open trial dog, that is, when I can go to a few trials. I am regretful that I could not trial him more, but that's the way things have been in the last few years. He is a life changing dog for me and I am so grateful to have him. Coal is always willing to try whatever I have in mind, and he has a lot of want-to. He has placed in a few USBCHA trials, and I think the highest we have ever been is second place in Open. His downfall is his extreme amount of eye, which I constantly work to try to deal with. He is a merry little monkey off the sheep field and always makes me smile. There is not a bad day for Coal - he always has good days!
Ryme is almost six years old. He is my best guy for ranch work and chores. He loves to sort sheep and do any kind of close work. The wheels sometimes fall off if I try to work him at too much of a distance. As a result, most trialling scenarios have not worked out well for him. His temperament is not good and he is not trustworthy around other dogs and people that he does not know. So I am really careful with him in public. With people and dogs he knows, he is very friendly and playful. I am just trying to give him the best life that I can. He has a chronically bad rear leg so we are very careful with that. Right now I am teaching him to shed. This will help us a lot with chores and it also provides me with another learning experience of teaching a different type of dog to shed. It also gives us something to work on when I train. Yesterday there was a little ram lamb who was trying to get bossy; I put Ryme on him and Ryme snapped at that little ram right at his nose. The ram decided he'd better move along with the rest of the flock. It's nice to have a dog who will do that!
Spot is two years old and he is my hopeful. It has taken a long time to get him going, in comparison with all the other pups of his age group. He was so keen and so strong that it was difficult to get him started in the right direction. But now we are on our way and Spot is learning to drive. I'm using Spot for any small chore that comes along (or that I can make up, literally). I wish we had more sheep chores for him to do. Right now I am just working on his driving and lengthening his outruns...working on that elusive stop on the fetch, so I have it just in case. I'm really excited about his prospects and am fairly certain - at least at this point - that he will make a trial dog. His temperament is excellent and his stock sense is very good. Spot has a TON of want-to and is (now) willing to work with me to make that partnership happen.