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

05/23/2016 Jig’s Journey ~ Sticking With It

One of Jig's regular jobs around the farm is to move the sheep to their temporary grazing area. [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7rQXkDB_qEU] This time of year, that happens on a near daily basis. It's a challenging job because it's very rare that the 'gate' remains in the same location more than two days in a row. The electrified netting gets repositioned into often very creative shapes around the open field, wherever the grass is in need of trimming. Not only does that change, but the route we take to get there varies. With the adults being grass-whores, and the lambs being… well, lambs, the job can frequently test Jig and I to the extremes of our patience. Me, more so than her. Over the past month I've been getting very frustrated with some of Jig's antics once we're in the open. For instance: her reluctance to take the flank I want her to take, her

05/04/2016 Jig’s Journey ~ Who’da Thunk It

Cow Camp finished up last Friday. Then there was the drive home, the catching up on All The Things once I got home, sprinkled with a healthy dose of Life In General and a large dash of the DayJob. So, yeah, I'm a bit behind in my update. Anyhow, Cow Camp was amazing and I can't wait to do it again, which, unfortunately, won't happen until next year. The highlight of the week came on Friday when Larry pushed me and Jig to the point of my head imploding. As one of the other attendees pointed out, however, he wouldn't suggest we try something if he didn't think we were capable. Personally, I think, after a week of putting up with us, he was having a bit of sadistic fun. ;) We had spent a lot of time over the course of the week on Jig's flanks and getting her to roll that

04/26/2016 Jig’s Journey ~ Cow Camp Part I

Saturday, Gail and I headed down to Larry Painter's place in Missouri for a five day cow camp. I had the opportunity to work with Larry last year in Ohio and knew I wanted to do so again. I was super stoked to get in this clinic, as it's likely the only chance I'll get all year to put in any steady cattle work with Jig. The clinic started yesterday. Larry has a great facility and some awesome stock. We finished day two on a high note, which was a good thing because the second half of day one didn't leave me in very good spirits. We started working Jig in the small pen, roughly 16x24, getting her to stay in the pressure, to lie down when told, just reminding her of the basics. Also, because I haven't gotten the chance this spring to do much actually training, I wanted to

03/10/2016 Jig’s Journey ~ A Good String of Days

All things considered, this week has been pretty good. The weathermen have consistently gotten it wrong (again), so, instead of three days of rain, we got three pretty decent days with mostly sun. That is, in no way, a complaint, because it meant three consistent days of working Jig. She hasn't gotten to do anything beyond chores for the last

01/12/2016 Jig’s Journey ~ The Start of New Year

Happy 2016. Winter has finally decided to settle in, meaning there isn't a whole lot of training I can do right now. The ground is frozen and the temperatures have plummeted into the single digits with the added benefit of a sub-zero wind chill. However, when the opportunity presents itself to utilize the benefits of an indoor arena and an exceptional trainer, even if it means a lengthy road trip, I snap it up. I was lucky enough to be able to get up to Deb's in November, and again this past weekend. I had a great time in November, and got some good work on Jig. Of course, I went with the plan to work on one particular problem and found out I had much bigger ones. Deb helped us work through them and gave me more tools to address what was going on. On that trip Jig was pretty relaxed, so working on

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

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

10/04/2014 Jig’s Journey ~ The Real Payoff

Most of these posts have been about training, and getting Jig ready for Nationals, but around here I need a dog for more than just trialing. There are jobs that need doing at various times. Sheep need to be moved from one pasture to another, sorted, loaded onto trailers

09/20/2014 Jig’s Journey ~ Blue Ribbon Moments

Blue ribbons don't always come from trials. They come from moments. ~ Deb Conroy Deb is always good for an awesome quote or two, and that was my favorite quote from the clinic last weekend. I think just about everyone in attendance had some of those moments. It was a great clinic, with a super group of dogs and handlers, and some pretty decent weather (once we got through a rainy Friday). When I'm hosting a clinic and I give my opening schpeel on the first morning, I like to tell folks not to go into a training clinic with the mindset that they're going to solve their problems in just a few days. Instead, I like to think of attending clinics as way to gather tools for my training toolbox. I have certain ways I approach things, and I'm fairly consistent (I think) with my training. That doesn't mean I'm opposed