As reported from New Mexico, Kilt was a Baaaad girl. RT X 3 and 1 DQ. Zero for 4 in the open classes. These were easy sheep for her...yearling range lambs. Sometimes Kilt just decides to do her own thing leaving me out of the equation. That doesn't make much for a partner on the trial field. I'm sure most of my friends, wonder why I bother. I question myself at times, too. Especially when I heard the judge tell some others that certain dogs need a different handler. Sigh. But, just when I least expect it, she will lay down a good run getting a placement. That always gives me a bit of "false" hope. :0)
After the trial, I had a lesson with Herbert Holmes (American Border Collie Ass. Pres.) from Texas. I think he and his wife had some 7 dogs entered in the open classes. And, of course when it came time for a lesson on the trial field with the same range ewes, Kilt took every soft whistle. How exasperating. But, she did move when she felt she needed to with the sheep's movement. Herbert had none of that. He put the screws to her by cracking a lunge whip at her for doing that each time she decided independently to work.
She thought about it and turned her head away. But, at the same time, I could see she was smiling. Honest....she had a BIG shit eating grin on her face. She is so damn smart that there is no way I can possibly keep up with her. Maybe that is what makes her so endearing to me. It's her stock sense, her good looks, her comedienne ways, and stamina to go 24/7. I know it's not her teamwork. Kilt will probably only ever be a fantabulous ranch dog, not a trial dog. I understand that, so I can't be too disturbed, only hopeful.
Herbert made things crystal clear to me. He drew a line in the dirt. The top half was white and the bottom half was black. Anytime, Kilt is in the top white half she can continue working. When she even thinks about crossing the line into the black half, a clear correction, (one she needs to think about) needs to be made. That way there is NO grey area. This should make it clearer to her what is expected of her.
Plus, I learned a bit more about pressure on, pressure off. It sounds simple, but really it is quite complex. Herbert stood behind me and used my shoulders like reins on a horse. He showed me how I "nagged" at Kilt, never really making any impression on her. He was right. He told me that she doesn't get to work, unless she can listen to me as her partner. He also gave me his cell phone number and said to call him day or night. Now, how kind was that! He added....no trialing for at least 6 mos. to a year. He didn't think she was too old to get the message after years of not listening to me. We'll see.
That same morning I got to audit (for free) a gal who was taking an international shed lesson from Herbert. I got to assist with the moving of the range lambs with Herbert to show the person taking the lesson where she and her dog needed to be to line out her sheep. I learned lots!
Before I got on the road, I went around and thanked all for their help. I gave Geri a hug for a well put on trial. Really, it was a fabulous small trial with great sheep and fields. We could do without the high winds for a couple of days, but that's the way the wind blows (pun intended)
I had a great time! I will be back next May weather permitting and the creeks don't rise. :0)