Jig’s Journey ~ A Little Help From My Friends

I think if I worked on it for a day, I could come up with stockdog related lyrics to that song. What would you do if I gave the wrong flank? Would you take it or do what I meant?

Right. Okay. Um… moving on…

The SEMASA trial didn’t go as well as I hoped. I began the weekend by watching Jig way too much. That was one of the things I was going to try not to do. She responded by being way too pushy, something that’s never good on ducks and equally as bad on very light sheep. In both cases I slipped right into over-handling and using more commands than I normally do as I tried to micro-manage the bejeezus out of her. I’m not entirely certain I didn’t make up new commands on the spot. Jig, bless her soul, tried to interpret my blathering and do what she thought I meant which, in some instances, wasn’t what I thought I meant.

Clear as mud, right?

The cattle were Holsteins and they were… a challenge. For all the dogs, though, not just Jig. And Wow! She did some nice stuff. Even though the outcome wasn’t what I was after, I got to see just where our training has paid off and just where we need more work. Jig has a history of being a notorious header and rodeo instigator. Even when we (twice) got the steer that kept turning back every chance it got, Jig would go to head to stop it, and back off when it turned. That was so nice to see. She even hit a few heels when the steers decided eating grass was more important than anything else.

Anyhow, I figured if we were going to Q on cattle it would be Saturday on Course B, because the rest of the weekend was E and I’d never even seen that run. That’s it over there ——>>> in case you’re not familiar with it. Blue Ribbon Moment, we slam-dunked that dogleg on ducks in one run. It was a thing of beauty.

I digress. Cattle didn’t happen on Saturday. They won. Resoundingly. Pretty much across the board. Sunday wasn’t much better. Monday they were–surprisingly enough–slightly better. My handling… well… I came out of my a.m. cattle run after finishing with the most immense cluster-fuck of a repen I’ve ever managed to lay down. I’m completely at a loss to explain it. My brain just headed south, I guess.

Here’s the thing. Over the entire course of the weekend, even when I got to kicking myself for my inadequacies which resulted in not presenting Jig to the best of her abilities (which far exceed mine), I was surrounded by people who helped bolster me up, weren’t afraid to point out the stupidity of my ways, and kept pushing me toward striving to get better each day instead of curling into a whimpering ball and calling it a weekend. We shared laughs and companionship and without them I might have caved into a pity party all my own.

The most vivid example of this fellowship came after that first cattle run on Monday when a friend of mine taking pictures called me over after I’d put Jig up. She tactfully asked me what, exactly, a certain command I’d been using all weekend meant. I told her. She shook her head and told me that wasn’t what Jig thought it meant and then proceeded to illustrate her point with examples. It seemed every time I gave the command Jig consistently did something else, which ticked me off because that’s not what I wanted. After talking about it some more, and looking at what I’d been using it for at home and at the trial, I realized the truth of the matter…

I’m an idiot.

Someone else was kind enough to ask me about another command I’d been using. One I had caught in training the week before and made a mental note not to use. Guess the little man in my head lost that note. We’ll have to have a talk about that.

In any case, I went into the last cattle run of the weekend intent on using not only fewer commands but… um… the right ones. The result? A 99 and 1st place in Advanced Cattle.

Jig showing some of the nice quiet control she exhibited over the weekend despite my attempts to screw her up.

So we didn’t WTCH. Jig deserved to. What she doesn’t deserve is to be saddled with me. Poor thing. She’s lucky I have friends who are unafraid to suggest I remove my head from my backside, who give me the occasional kick in the arse, dust me off, and shove me back in the ring.

Oh, I get by with a little help from my friends
Mm, I get high with a little help from my friends
Mm, gonna try with a little help from my friends

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