I'm setting goals for Champ and myself. I would really like to get to the finals, if not next year, the year after that. Champ will be three years old the end of this year. Anyway, I'm going to do my very best to try to make it happen. I have qualified nursery dogs in the past and this year I had at least 6 qualifying scores on Champ at some big trials. But, it just wasn't in the stars for us.
I was blessed when I moved here to have have a five acre farm to work my dogs at Patricia Pedersen's home. It is the same distance I used to drive to Task Farms in Leona Valley, Ca. It takes me about 15 min. She has 18 sheep of every variety. Plus, her place is like working on a golf course because she has irrigation.
I am in no way ready to consider getting sheep for our place here in Happy Valley. I have had enough on my plate with getting the house finished, the forest behind the house excavated, Champ with Lepto, and Jet on the way out. It seems it has been one calamity after another since I have arrived. It always makes me laugh when someone asks me, "When are you getting livestock?"
But, do I love it here in Sequim? You bet I do. We never had a temperature hit 90 degrees all summer here in Sequim. I think we had two days at 87 degrees. I'll wait until Spring to tell you what I thought of the winter :0)
I have joined the Washington Stockdog Club and the Oregon Stockdog club. The Washington website is the best sheepdog website I have ever had the pleasure of viewing. Every thing you could possibly want is on that web site!
I have been working Champ 2-3 times a week over at Patricia's. He is coming along fairly well. He's a team player that would work ALL day if given the chance. There is NO quit in the dog. I am now broadening our horizons by looking for someone to give me lessons with him. Plus, I'm looking for other places to get him to for experience. We need different fields, different sheep.
I was pleased how he performed at Lacamas, Vashon, and Fidos. But, we can do better :0) I just need another pair of eyes to give me a bit of direction with Champ. I think he will be able to move up to open this year. That's not really pushing him, because he really enjoys shedding. Outruns are no particular problem for him. We just need work on pace and driving. Most of our problems I'm sure stem from me.
I have been working with him on shedding a large flock, a couple of sheep (then have him walk them off) a couple of more sheep (and, I might run them off while leaving him to watch the bigger group) and a couple of more until we get down to one or two sheep left. He still needs a bit more finesse and a harder hold when challenged, but I am very pleased he enjoys shedding so much. We are getting a little system down.
The other thing I like about Champ is that I TRUST him. He just doesn't do stupid stuff. (Oh Yoko…did you hear that?) Yoko keeps me humble. Champ can go nose to nose if he needs to, he can bite a nose if challenged and he has a lovely low heel bite when needed in crowded pens or loading sheep. I never had to teach him. It was just natural to him.
Not too many upcoming trials on our plate other than a few one dayers at Fidos, but we are going to the Fire Ridge trial in mid October some 6 1/2 hours away because I was told it was a difficult pro-novice course, plus he will get to run three times. The more difficult, the better I like it :0)
So, I will see if I can line up some lessons and keep my eyes looking forward. Enjoying life to the fullest. Might as well. You never know when your time is up!