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

10/23/2021 Autumn Musings

Fall has always been my favorite time of year even though the Sad typically comes in full force part-way through September and lingers well into October. This year, however, it hasn't seemed as strong. There have been moments, usually triggered by a Facebook memory or a bout of reminiscing with friends, but the sharp edges are dulled. Although I still feel the sting of tears behind my eyes at those times, they aren't as eager to spill over. I have to confess, it's a bit odd. I suppose because I'm so used to having a love-hate relationship with Autumn -- the cooler temps and beauty of the season constantly overshadowed by the Sad like storm clouds on the horizon -- that feeling it diminished seems somehow

10/10/2021 Trial Brain

I had a bit of an epiphany at the inaugural 3 Sheeps to the Wind ASC Corona Classic last week. It came about thanks to comments made by a good friend who pointed out that my cues to my dogs, especially Finn, were practically non-existent. He suggested (rightly so) that I pay attention to that and cue the boys just like I do when training. That got me thinking (usually never a good thing) and replaying my runs in my head which led me to concur that my friend was 100% correct in his observation. And, not that it's an excuse, but I actually came up with a reason, albeit, not a very good one, and hence the epiphany. I suffer from Trial Brain. Upon further reflection it occurred to me that when I enter the trial arena, I feel (on a mostly subconscious level) as though I need to perform. Even though

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

03/24/2014 First Trial of the Year

The first trial of the season is always a bit nerve-wracking. This year, what made it even more so, is the fact I haven't done any training since last year. But, it was only a duck trial, and only Quinn ('only'--ha, ha!). Still, the pre-trial jitters kicked in, adrenalin started pumping, and I questioned my sanity for ever deciding to put myself through this time and again. Once I'm out there to start my run and it's just me, the dog, and the stock, everything else disappears, and the judge becomes something of a hazy, indistinct image at the edge of my awareness. I usually always think my runs are worse than what they turn out to be. There are the occasions where I think they were better than the judge does, but those are pretty rare. I'm pleased to say, our first trial Sunday was a huge success. Quinn qualified

03/06/2014 Oh, How Ducky!

So as I'm sitting here twiddling my thumbs, waiting for some semblance of spring to peek through the layers of snow and ice smothering the earth, and pondering upcoming dog-related events. Specifically, the UMASC duck trial to be held at Conroy Farm in MN on the 23rd. Yes, the 23rd of this month. You know, only a feather over two weeks from now. Excuse me momentarily while I panic. I've entered Quinn in this trial for two reasons. One, it's an excuse to spend the weekend with a couple of my sistas. Two, Quinn needs one blasted duck leg for his Advanced Duck Title. Okay, there's a third reason: I'm certifiably nuts. You see, ducks are not my favorite creatures. I don't care to live with them. I don't care to work them. I don't even care to eat them--dark meat. Blech. As a handler, I used to really suck at ducks. They