10/13/2015 Farewell to a Piece of My Heart and Jig’s Journey ~ 2015 ASCA Nationals Part 1

This is a tough Nationals for me and I nearly didn't make the trip. On the Tuesday before we were to leave, Quinn got sick. I honestly said my goodbyes to him right then and there. As I took him into the emergency vet I was pretty positive I wouldn't be walking out with him. I did, but a trip to my vet later in the morning didn't give me much good news. Still, over the next couple of days he seemed to be improving to a point where I felt I could safely leave him and he'd still be there when I got home. It's a decision I won't ever second-guess. I guess Quinn wanted me to remember him as I last saw him and not as his health declined. So he put on a good face and I felt a bit better about packing up and heading to

09/21/2015 Jig’s Journey ~ RRVASC Trial

I've come to the conclusion that trialing Jig is a lot like handling some highly explosive chemical. It's certainly exciting, as long as you don't jostle it too much because that's when it blows up in your face. I entered the RRV trial this past weekend to see where we're at before heading to Nationals. I have a couple weeks to firm up our weakest areas and want to make sure I'm focusing on the right ones. She does so brilliantly at home, there's no way of gauging our progress without putting it to the test. There were some good parts, some terrible parts, and not much in between. The good parts earned us a few class placements, an Open Duck title, one leg toward her Open Sheep title, and High Combined Non-WTCH for the a.m. trial. The terrible resulted in a JCT. That came in our last sheep run. Apparently, five

07/30/2015 Jig’s Journey ~ Cow Camp

When the opportunity to attend a Larry Painter Cow Camp presented itself, I jumped at it. Jig loves cows but rarely sees them. That makes it a bit unfair when we go to a trial and I'm expecting her to handle them like a pro. I'd heard nothing but good things about Larry Painter and so was thrilled when I got a spot. So, on the 22nd I loaded up the truck and headed out to Ohio where the clinic was being hosted. Needless to say, I had a blast and, despite the heat, we managed to learn a lot and come home with plenty to work on. Before our first session I watched the other dogs work and listened to Larry's comments and instruction. One thing he was working on was getting the dog to hold the pressure and not pop out of the pocket. Translate that to mean, when a dog

07/09/2015 Jig’s Journey ~ Summer Already?!!?

I've been a bit of a slacker on keeping up with posts. Problem is, I've been super busy. If you've ever checked out my writing blog, you'll see I've been almost as absent over there. If you haven't, Wednesday's post will give you some idea what's been gobbling up all my time. And yes, training is part of that. Among other things, the end of June was the Steve Shope clinic here at the farm. This year, Steve threw down the gauntlet and laid out some expectations for the dogs who will be returning next year. Some of us have been a bit

11/30/2014 Jig’s Journey ~ Revisiting Nationals

Just a quick (photo-intensive) post to share some of my favorite photos from our cattle runs at the pre-trial and National's trial. Thanks to Lori Herbel of XP Photography for the excellent shots. (You'll notice our National's run was much calmer than the pre-trial run.)

11/11/2014 Jig’s Journey ~ ASCA Nationals Part II

Yeah, this is a bit late, but I'm still trying to catch up from being gone for ten days. First, from the Brazos County Expo website, a much better image of the grounds than any I could get. I would gladly go back. The grounds were great, the hosts wonderful, the stock some of the nicest I've found at a Nationals. When we set out for Nationals I had a goal: finish both Jig's remaining started titles. I'm pleased to say we accomplished that goal. Did we do as well as I had hoped? Nope. But did I still have a blast, and do I still love my dog? Absofreakinlutely. Time and miles. Jig needs both. Our sheep runs fell completely apart, which served to catch me totally off guard because on the home turf in training she does very well. We got in that looooonnnnngg arena, and suddenly I no longer existed

11/02/2014 Jig’s Journey ~ ASCA Nationals Part I

We arrived at the Expo center in Bryan, Texas at noon on Friday. The trip down had been fairly smooth and uneventful. Just the way every trip should be. Jig handled it well. For her. There were only two minor incidences. One involving getting her neck and front leg so entangled in a canvas bag Gail had in the back seat that we were forced to cut the strap to get it off her. And one involving her chewing nearly all the way through her harness. The part on her chest, I may add. Quite a feat if you ask me. Thankfully I had a bicycle harness along to replace it with. Mostly, she spent a lot of the trip doing this: We did finally hit on something we think may be her issue while traveling: speed. She's pretty calm and relaxed until around 70 mph. Then she starts to get

10/24/2014 Jig’s Journey ~ The Coyote Classic

Last weekend we went to MN to attend the Coyote Classic put on by the Upper Midwest Australian Shepherd Club at Conroy Farm. As always, it was a great time. I got a great surprise when I arrived at Deb's and found Gail in the kitchen. That was the awesomesauce on the entire weekend, as I didn't expect her to be there. But she'd come to support me in the quest for Quinn's last cattle leg. That gets its own post so I'll move on to Jig. On the plus side, we ended the weekend with a Started Cattle leg, and came within two points of a qualifying score our first time running in Open Sheep. There were some blue ribbon moments sprinkled about, which was a good thing. Most of those came on Friday and Saturday. By Sunday… I don't know about anyone else, but by the third day of a

10/09/2012 So, You Think You’re Ready to Trial?

I was reminded this past weekend at the SEMASA trial (thanks to a very good friend not afraid to tell me when my head’s in an uncomfortable location) that there’s a whole lot more to trialing than preparing your dog.  A big hunk of competing has to do with preparing yourself.  You can have the best trained dog on the planet and if you walk out into that arena with the wrong attitude it’s going to come back and bite you in the arse. I’ve been working hard to make things black and white for Quinn.  I don’t course train.  I break things down into manageable chunks and work till he gets it right.  Not just once.  He needs to consistently get it right before we move on to the next piece of the puzzle. I went into the SEMASA trial confident in Quinn’s abilities to get the job done.  I also