11/15/2021 Finn’s Big Adventure

The ASCA National Specialty can be overwhelming for first-timers. Especially first-timers who apparently haven't been off the farm a whole lot except to visit other farms. And though Finn weathered the traveling just fine, his first couple days at the Brazos County Expo grounds had him just a wee bit anxious. He'd never seen bleachers, large covered arenas, lots of people and dogs he didn't know milling about (Are they staring at me? I think they're staring at me. I don't like it.), or any of the other strangeness he was subjected to. Thankfully he had his good buddy Ziva along to help bolster his confidence. We spent quite a bit of our free time just strolling around, letting Finn get used to the sites and sounds. Some of which took quite a bit of patience, more than a few treats, and a healthy dose of confidence. His first couple of

09/04/2018 The Year of Training Pays Off

At the end of last year I was so frustrated and upset with how the trialing season went, I decided to take a year off. Not so I could sit in a corner and lick my wounds, but because I was determined to fix as many of mine and Jig's issues as I could. I'd had enough of our melt-downs and non-qualifying runs. She's a better dog than that. I like to think we're a better team than that, though I'm definitely the weaker partner. I gave myself one trialing goal: finish Jig's WTCH. We needed only one cattle leg to do so. Jig and I both love working cattle though our methods are at opposite ends of the spectrum. I want nice, quiet control, power when required, and no rodeos. Jig seems to like rodeos, and has been known to actively go looking for a fight. After our failed attempt at

10/11/2017 Jig’s Journey ~ A Bump in the Road

Okay, honestly, it feels like way more than a bump. It's more like a wall that I've hit at full speed. Or, better yet, the mother of all potholes with spikes in the bottom. No, really hungry alligators who aren't even going to spit me back out once they're done chewing me up. Or this

06/03/2017 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

05/22/2017 Jig’s Journey ~ Our Season Begins

In preparation for the beginning of our trial season, I've been reading over some of my posts to remind myself of all those things I struggled with and overcame last year as far as my handling/trialing. The SEMASA trial is this coming weekend and I'm worried I'll revert to my old ways. They weren't exactly good ways, and I'd really like to avoid revisiting them if at all possible. (Take a look back at some of my posts if you missed it. There were times it was not a pretty sight.) To help me get through this week without falling into obsessive mode, I've compiled a list of things to keep in mind: Don't get lost in the hunt for a title. We're two legs away from Jig's WTCH. Even if we get it, that's just the beginning of another journey. There is SOOO much we need to work on yet. Watch the stock, not Jig. She's

09/28/2016 Jig’s Journey ~ Altered States Part 2

I love when a trial photographer is on site. It's usually the only time I get shots of my dogs working. It also helps me realize that perhaps my runs weren't as bad as they felt from the inside. It's always extra special when Dick Bruner is that photographer. Not only is he a great guy, he has a talent for catching those moments when it appears things are actually going good. Here is some of that calm, flat-footed duck work I mentioned in my last post. The drive up to the panels in one of our better sheep runs. For as reactive as these sheep were for Jig, she remained fairly relaxed. I, on the other hand, was a bit twitchy. No way could I give commands quick enough to keep things under control. Thankfully, this girl knows how to read her stock. And, finally, one of our best cattle moments happened

07/05/2016 Jig’s Journey ~ Unmet Expectations

They're double-edged swords, personal expectations. They can lead to disappointment when they go unmet, which can, in turn, create frustration and the desire to just throw in the towel and give up. Self-doubt raises it's ugly head and whispers, "You're not good enough. Not talented enough. You don't have what it takes." Long rides give me far too much time to reflect and, on occasion, wallow. I despise wallowing, yet, I fully admit, I succumbed and did a bit of it on the drive home from the That'll Do ASC trial Monday. Although we had some 'blue ribbon moments' over the weekend, Jig and I did not perform even close to the level I wanted us to. In fact, I came out of more than one run feeling about as inept a handler as I ever have. I'm not looking for sympathy here, or a pep talk, just laying it out there, because the other edge of that

03/02/2016 Remembering With a Smile

I won't deny it, this winter has been a bit tough. See, Quinn loved snow, squiggling in it, snorkeling, making snow angels, it didn't matter. Consequently, I've been missing him a lot. Though I normally keep these moments to myself, I came across this short video clip while looking for another file in my Dropbox. It made me cry, I admit it. But it also made me smile, and I hope it does that for you.   [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AYs30nfIrhE]

10/20/2015 Jig’s Journey ~ 2015 ASCA Nationals Wrap-up

I made it home Friday afternoon and I'm still trying to get back into the swing of my usual routine. That's always hard after an extended vacation. Triply hard this time. And with the rest of the month being just as busy, I don't foresee a chance to catch my breath until November. The trip to TN was great fun, all things considered. As usual, I got to visit with folks I only see once a year. I watched a lot of runs, laughed, ate, drank, cried

10/14/2015 Jig’s Journey ~ 2015 ASCA Nationals Part 2

First, a huge thank you to everyone for the well-wishes, kind thoughts, and memories about Quinn. Today was better than yesterday, but going home is going to be the hard part, I think. In any event, today was another day off for us. Our Open runs will all be tomorrow, and if we get done at a decent time, we'll be loading up and hitting the road to get at least half the trip home under our belts. We spent the day split between watching the Advanced cattle runs and standing in line to give Jig a chance to try dock diving. Since the girl is so crazy about retrieving, even when it involves braving the cold and crashing waves of Lake Michigan, I thought I'd see what she thinks about diving off a dock to retrieve her dummy. And no, I'm not the dummy. The dogs who haven't jumped off a