a blog about Kilt and her kids plus Trouble our JRT mascot.

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Sequim, Washington, United States

Monday, April 16, 2012

Oh, this is fun!

Sheep dog trialing is kind of like standing in the bathroom of your RV fully dressed with the shower on while flushing all your money down the toilet. Are we having fun yet? A friend told me that at Deer Creek and I laughed out loud.
Many people trialed Sat and Sun and never got further than the lift. Most who did well Saturday didn't get scores Sunday and visa-versa. It's a tough sport. Why do we keep doing it then? The reasons are MANY.
This is what I drove through to get there.

We all watch each other grow older and hopefully our dog(s) improve with age, too. Plus, we are in the great outdoors; snow, sleet, rain, and 100 degree weather trying to get sheep through an obstacle course. Sometimes we don't even make the first part of the course, the outrun. We have traveled 100's of miles and paid $$$ for gas and hotels to be on course for sometimes less than a minute! We all must be nuts.

Everyone looking a bit chilly and wet on day one

Love this.  Gail waiting in the blind with slipper socks on her hands as gloves.

Weather improved Sunday.  The Lombardi's and Jim Oxford came out to watch.

Deer Creek (Porterville AKA P-Ville) I'm betting they have the TOUGHEST sheep in the country. It's not for the weak of heart or for the dog without presence and guts. A weak dog may get lucky on one day (maybe), but NOT two days in a row. The odds are against it. These sheep are very confronting and will sniff out the first sign of weakness in a dog. I didn't take Yoko because she doesn't have a reliable face grip. She will grab a heel in a heartbeat. These sheep have beat her in the past. You have to know your dog.
This might be Sandra Milberg's open dog.

Even at the pen they met your dog face on

This is how going around the post looked both days.

I know Kilt. It's GAME ON. She has a ton of presence and she can back it up. That's what makes her such an excellent ranch dog. Unfortunately, she is too hard for me to handle well, so trialing is kind of hit and miss for us as far as scores and placements. But, she is the type of bitch I want to use for breeding. Stamina, presence, and guts.  I don't want to see this WORKING breed weakened. 
Kilt would make an excellent "hill dog."  She has the stamina for the hills, she has independent thinking, and she will die trying....to bring you your stock.

Here's a sheep stuck in the creek.  The river is out of bounds :0)

Jet has feel and pace, but would not die trying to bring you stock.  The sheep would sniff him out as weak.  Yoko is in the middle.  I spayed her anyway. Lovely focus like Jet, but not enough guts to breed (at least for me, anyway.)  I bred Jet to Kilt hoping for biddability in Kilt's pups along with her grit.  I got the biddability, but I'm not sure I got grit.

If you don't do well or even if you do do well, there is gorgeous scenery everywhere.

Deer Creek

Yep...you can get a GREAT trialing dog without power...no doubt, but is it good for the breed?  Maybe, yes, and no. Biddability is good.  I'd like to see the dogs I want a pup from work the Deer Creek range ewes.  LOL  That would be my requirement. :0)  I'm speaking about open dogs.  I don't think the baby dogs should even try them.  It is a blow to their confidence.
Kilt was in the top 10 the first day, the hardest day, with rain soaked heavy wool range ewes.  The harder the sheep, the better we usually place.  Day two, she took a large tumble in the uneven pasture on her outrun and got up looking to get her bearings.  I gave her a whistle to reorient her.  I think she was embarrassed.  She brought the sheep down the field at full tilt missing the fetch panels. 

Looks like a postcard across the street from the pasture where we were working sheep.

An Egret flying over the course

I told myself I would not let her make a wide turn at the post.  Kilt likes to slink under the judges truck and flatbeds appearing before her sheep like a moray eel.  I hate that.  So, I did accomplish a tight turn at the post, but that was about it.  She was hard for me to handle through the rest of the course.  I heard "Time" just a nano second before she got the shed.  We had difficulty getting the shed, because I think she scared the sheep. Range ewes are usually easy to shed, but Kilt had them balled up like a group of mackerel. What a tough bitch she is.  hahahahaha  I love it.  I liken her to driving a Ferrari, sometimes out of control.  Fun?  Oh yeah.  But, sometimes I am just the passenger going along for the ride.  I think with a top notch handler, Kilt would have been a good trial dog.  Maybe. :0) 
Meanwhile, I will take a few more rides with her.  And, hope that her Buzz son (Champ) will have all the qualities I am looking for in a stock dog. 
Hopes and dreams....Yep, this is the main reason why we do this sport. :0)

1 comment:

Karen said...

Yep, hopes and dreams keep us doing a lot of things:)
Lovely scenery to look at while standing in the shower fully clothed, while flushing that money down the toilet!