Thursday, April 17, 2008

Everything's coming up roses...

Or, well, at least green! Today we hit 80 degrees. It was so warm, Tucker didn't want to stay outside- he was too hot, Lucy hopped in the stock tank, and Cori just plain would not go outside. I of course am revelling in the fact that it is finally truly spring, a time of renewed energy, and faith. I have many plans for my yard/home this year, my dogs, and me. Yard will be spruced up further- I am putting in a pea gravel walk way, and clearing out some of the woods to the side of my property. I am also planting more shrubs, and painting the front door- along with some new outside lights, AND fence.
The Chatham sheepdog trial is weekend after this. I can't wait to see all the top handlers out there, and just sit, and see how it's done. Regarding dogs, I have recently come to the conclusion that I would like to have a second dog to work. Yes, that is how hooked I am. Lucy is everything I had hoped she would be, but I simply cannot train her for hours at end. I wish I had another just like her.. Then I could trade off for each, and everyone would be rested :)
I have received just about the last registrations for the clinic, and that looks to be great- I just need to make sure I have everything I need. Food plans, scheduling of each person's time to work with Kevin; all that is something I want to have figured out before we even start. Well, enough for now, spring is here and I have lots to do!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Another day with the flock...

Well, another nice day working sheep has been had by all. I never imagined when I first got into sheepherding with Lucy, that my life would take such a turn. I have made some good friends, learned more than I ever imagine, and have a new found appreciation for the simple things in life. Worked Lucy on the Scotties again the other day. She was good, save for a couple shenanigans, but I was able to address them. She is not as mature, as say a BC for her age, but she is getting her stride, that is for sure. She has no problem covering sheep that are running hell bent for leather for the draw- none. It is almost as if this is her forte ;) We worked a little longer than the last few times on these sheep, and she seemed to think she could loosen up- but these sheep don't really allow that- so, I as her partner, have to keep her mindful of what she is doing. These sheep will tire of stupid stuff by dogs, and this means they will eventually just stop, and there will be a confrontation- which is something I would like to avoid- though Lucy has proven she is up to it, I don't think at her young age, I want her constantly bringing up confrontation because she is being impish. Anyway, before we left for the day, I decided to send her one more time. The sheep were the farthest away that they had been, and I thought that I would let her just do her thing. I sent her on the away side, and she did a nice outrun, came in nice behind, and brought them to me, while covering the pressure. Just like she should. These sheep make good dogs great. Nothing is lost on these sheep, and the dog just cannot be lazy, impish, or anything other than on task. I feel a bit more confident now about entering Lucy in the upcoming trials. She is listening, and we are working as a team.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Glorious, just Glorious

Was our day yesterday. Lucy and I worked sheep at our usual place, and got to see some other Kelpies work- which was very cool. Then, we got to go to another place and work those sheep. The weather was just absolutely perfect, and Lucy really really got a lot out of the second flock. This second flock doesn't take harsh handling well and will stand up to a dog. You need a dog who stays off, and will listen to a flank, or a down on a dime. Lucy was listening very well, and was able to handle challenging ewes. This little girl has matured so much. I have so enjoyed working her, and seeing how she is turning out. I have to say, I couldn't be happier with her.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Spring has sprung???

Well, officially, spring is here, but not really... I couldn't work Lucy this weekend, because there were 4" of snow in the field that we work in. I suppose we could have worked, but I chose to stay out of the mud, and not slosh around. Today I work up to 54 degree weather. That was a big surprise! The spring peepers were singing. This is good news. I have a bit of a busy week ahead, and am not sure when I can work Lucy again- as the rain is slated to come in again for later in the week. One good thing, is that the dogs have a large back yard to play around in, and Kylie and Lucy make good use of it. I have contacted a landscaper to get a walk way put in in the back, as the dogs have just eroded the ground too much; in addition to the walk way, I need the remains of the big tree that was uprooted by winds a few weeks ago, removed. I have also contacted a fence contractor to put up some nice horse fence around part of my property, to delineate my property from where my icky neighbor puts his trash. This will also prevent him from plowing snow onto my property, and leaving me with rocks/limbs/trash that he pushes over with the snow.
I have had some last minute contacts from people regarding Kevin's clinic. We are pretty full, but we may be able to squeeze one more in. Not much more to do before the clinic now. It's all over but the waiting.... Later this month the Chatham Sheepdog trial is happening, and that ought to be just great. It is the best northeast trial around; the sheep are not dogged, so you need a dog who has great cover, strength, and biddability, and the fields are huge. On the fetch you have to move the sheep through a tree line, and that can mess some dogs up. It is a good practice for the finals out in South Dakota this year, as there just aren't big fields in the northeast to work in. Some day, I will be out there. Lucy and I will get there. Until then, I will help out and enjoy and appreciate those dogs who handle this sort of venue with more than aplomb. I believe this trial is what it's all about; the big wide open spaces, unpredictable sheep, and dogs who have their chaps on, and can cover all contingencies. I may just have to video tape some runs!