That Time of Year

It finally arrived, complete with single digit temps and sub-zero wind chills that freeze the snot in your nose. Winter.

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Don’t get me wrong, for the most part, I like winter. Seriously. I love the nights when the silence is so thin a single whisper fractures it, the way the stars sparkle, and the way the wind dances with the snow across the open fields, spiraling it upwards in crystalized waterspouts.

The thing I hate about winter is that, for the most part, training comes to a grinding halt. Sure, there are those rare days when the temperature is bearable, the ground’s not a frozen accident waiting to happen, and I can actually swing the gates, but those are few and usually hit during the week when the dayjob sucks up all my daylight hours.

Our teamwork is starting to pay off. Our first open Farm Trial leg and a High in Trial along with it.

Our teamwork is starting to pay off. Our first open Farm Trial leg and a High in Trial along with it.

This year it’s going to be even worse. Not winter, per se, but my impatience with being unable to work the dogs on a regular basis. It’s going to be worse because I ended the year on a high, which is saying a lot considering the numerous low points I struggled with over the course of the trialing season. I feel I made great strides with Jig’s training but, more importantly, with my attitude and handling. She and I are finally coming together as a solid team. The sport has once again become fun for me. Really fun. So fun that even thinking about it puts a stupid grin on my face. I can’t help it.

And Dillon? He’s ready for more serious work. Thanks to getting a few opinions on my work with him, I finally know what I was doing wrong. Of course, it was my fault and not his. He’s just a pup. What does he know? Only what I tell him. And when I’m not clear, or try to tell him things far beyond where we are, whose fault is it if he doesn’t understand?

Oh sure, there is dry work we can do to while away the time, and we’ll do some of that, I’m sure, but that’s not the fun stuff. Not in their eyes or mine. At least Jig gets to help with chores every day. Maybe I’ll start hauling Dillon out to do that from time to time. Not much to it, but it’s something to keep us going until we can start regular training again. Until then, I’ll take every opportunity Winter offers up, and try to wait patiently for the first glimmer of spring.

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