As the snow falls steadily outside the window, I am sitting under a shitload of blankets and drinking tea. It's nice to be alone once in awhile. I can't help but think about this past weekend and all that I learned. This blog doesn't really involve Cedar directly, but it still applies I think because it affects her.
(I don't have any photos of the trial, so I'll put in some photos I took of Cedar in the snow today :) )
I know I've talked about how the work Cedar and I have been doing lately has helped to give Cedar more of a "purpose" about the whole thing. It's more about WHY and WHERE we are moving the sheep as opposed to just going around in circles or fetching back in forth. There is a reason we need sheepdogs, it's not just a fun game to do with your dog like obedience or agility. I think I knew that before, but didn't really understand it, if that makes sense.
Well, this weekend I sort of had MY purpose defined. Or, at least, clarified. I spent the weekend at the Sleddin' and Sheddin' SDT out at Patrick Shannahan's farm. Thanks, Jodi and Katy, for letting me tag along! First of all, it was cold. Very, VERY cold. Windy, snowy, and bitter. But I didn't really care. I had a blast, and decided that this is something I really want to pursue seriously. I felt that way before but now I am totally hooked!
This weekend, I saw some great dogs run, watched some great handlers in action, met some new people, and learned a TON about how the whole trial scene functions. I especially enjoyed working in the set-out pens with Coleen. I really liked getting to work with the sheep and learning about their behavior; what makes them move, how to sort them, how to get them to move off pressure, how my pressure affects them, etc. I liked getting in the pens with the sheep to sort them off and/or push them through the different parts of the chute. I would love to work the pens again, it was a lot of fun!
I also got the opportunity to scribe for Don Helsley in the Pro-Novice class which was very educational. He was such a nice guy and answered all my questions. And I'd never scribed before so that was a good learning experience, too.
I am so appreciative of everyone who has taken the time to help a newbie learn the ropes! Hopefully Cedar and I will be ready to give Novice a shot at the February trial... I think we could rough our way through most of it right now, except for the outrun. But give us two months and i think we might have a chance of being almost there :)
On a sidenote, I've taken up practicing my whistles again. I've gotten past the "wow you sound like a dying cat" stage to sounding more like a bad American Idol audition. You know, one of the ones that make it on TV just because it's fun to laugh at the less fortunate.
But I suppose I've made some progress.
More later, I am thinking about a billion things at once and it makes it hard to focus, so sorry if this is too fragmented :)
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