Hmmm ... it's been a while since I've updated this.
Not much going on. The days are getting shorter. It's dark by 7:00 p.m. now. The time change happens in a couple of weeks and soon I'll be going to work when it's dark, and coming home when it's dark, and only seeing daylight on the weekends. Here's where I start making it a point to get out of the office for lunch. The trees are all different colors and absolutely gorgeous! I need to take more photos ... quickly ... before it all goes away.
Friday night I worked Reese in the round pen. Despite the fact that I've only done it a couple of times, I think she's got the basic idea of getting around her stock, so it will soon be time to move her into the field. She was lovely. She waits patiently for me to close the gate behind us, and for me to get to my sheep before I release her. When I send her, she initially goes in and makes it a bit exciting, but kicks out pretty readily and then is just ... lovely. Stops. Goes both directions. Stays out. Buzzes a little bit, but I don't mind it at this point. And holy holy ... is she ever fast!
Saturday, it was off to judge the IHA trial.
The weather held out ... in fact, it was gorgeous out! There were several trial runs, and quite a few test runs. The people were so fun to be around, all excited about the possibilities with their dogs. The first trial run was Jody R. She had the misfortune of having a small malfunction at the gate, and no ribbon on the sheep for the shed. She handled it in stride and ended up doing very well. I don't remember how the placements went, but there was a lot of nice work by all the dogs with some very light sheep. Great experience for handlers and dogs, and it seemed everyone had fun trying to figure it out.
The test class worked out really well. Don worked with each person/dog team, and I judged it. On Sunday, we switched that around. Lots of nice dogs. I was glad to see so many new people! I worked with all of the test dogs in the morning while Don judged, and then I ran Echo in the trial. I wasn't going to enter her, but the fact that the pen was proving so difficult the day before really bugged me! I felt like I just judged a bunch of people trying to do it that I should put my money where my mouth was. And Echo worked very nicely for me. I was very conscious of my voice, the tone, the volume, etc. Whistles proved a little more difficult to control, so I abandoned it. One thing I realized is ... through Echo's new-found sensitivity, she has a great "git!" at the pen, where I want her to turn more than 90 degrees off the sheep to lessen the pressure. Just a little bit. And it worked well here. I tried not to worry about the clock, and was concentrating more on watching the sheep's heads and waiting for them to even show the slighest interest in going in the pen. They never did. Echo and I ended up coercing them to back into it. Very. Slowly. The gate was not on a wheel, so I had to give up my post for just a second to grab the gate, and I was afraid everyone would pop out, but they didn't. Woo hoo!
We got to the ribbon pull, and there was no ribbon on this set. Don told me to "grab one of the spotted ones." Since there were 4 out of 5 spotted ones, it seemed a bit easier. Ha. Not. These sheep wanted nothing to do with people. I tried a couple of times to grab a leg, but they proved too fast for me. I got a hold of an entire sheep and held it, and I hear someone say, "Now kiss it!" So ... I did. I've been makin' out with a lot of livestock lately. Yuck!
Lots of fun, and it was really nice to work with Echo in that environment. It's the most connected I've felt with her in a while.