I’ve been lucky enough to be absorbed by a sheepdog trial and training clinic for 4 of the last 5 days, so forgive me if all I post are some photos of the awesome skies and light we’ve had this past week.
(Quick update on the trial: Maggie ran in ProNovice in the Cedar Stone Farm trial last week. I was very pleased with her first run–no high placements, but we accomplished my goal for the day. She sped up and moved the sheep much faster and we finally (!) finished the drive. She is so cautious that she goes too slowly and we have been running out of time on the course. Our run was as messy as a Sloppy Joe, but damn if she didn’t respond to what we’d been working on and move the sheep more freely. Yay.
The next run was not so pretty, because it wasn’t a run at all. We got letters (RT for “retire”) instead of points, because she simply couldn’t get the sheep moving at all. I’d have felt worst about it, but neither could the Reserve Champion from the National Finals, so I can’t fault her too much. It was hot and miserably humid and the time of day when all sheep want to lay in the shade and chew their cud. I don’t want to excuse it too much, Maggie is brilliant on flighty sheep, but most of those live in Scotland, so she really does need to get more push to her. Luckily, we just left a great clinic with lots of ideas about how to put more power into Maggie, so I can’t wait to have our next training session.)
Back to the gorgeous skies we’ve been enjoying, a sweet group of lambs and an illustration of why they call my town “Black Earth.” Yup, the soil really is that dark; I’ve been told it is some of the richest soil in the world. (And yet, I live on a deposit of red clay. Ah well, that’s what sheep manure is for, right?)
By the way, I have a long, long list of great topics for future blogs (thanks to many of you, and well, life). I’ll be relatively quiet next week but I look forward to lots of great discussions about issues from barking (please stop) to whether we need to end training sessions on a “good note.”