Saturday, May 28, 2011

The best laid schemes o' mice an' men...

...gang aft agley
It sure went all agley for me yesterday.
I was on my way to Michigan for the Semasa trials, and only got 10 miles from my house, when a deer came popping out in front of me.  I saw it coming and slammed on the brakes, but it was too close and leaped in front of me.  I can still see expression of the deer as it jumped out, the huge black eye, and the slow motion flying of deer cartwheeling through the air.    The person behind me stopped to see if I was ok, and said the deer was still alive.   I called the police and they came to fill out a report, and try to hunt down the deer.  It must have been injured, but limped off into the brush.  I don't know if they found it.   The car was still drivable to get home, but I wasn't sure (and the repair shop people weren't either when I took it there) that the radiator wasn't damaged.  They couldn't get the hood open as it was mashed- well, they could have, but it wouldn't have closed again.   So I went home again.  What a disappointment.  I was really looking forward to seeing friends I haven't seen in a long time, and trialing the dogs. 

I had entered Sprite in open sheep and ducks, and started cows, and Dodge in started everything.  I had Hank along as a back up dog and company, or in case runs opened up.

On the positive side, it was a really beautiful day yesterday, sun shining, a bit of coolness in the air but warm enough to sit out in the sun.  I spent much of it working dogs after dividing the sheep into several groups  (and after spending what seemed like hours on the phone calling everyone under the sun- Motel 6, insurance etc.).

Sprite worked the ewes and lambs and did really well.   None of the ewes are challenging dogs anymore.  She worked on some small outruns.  I love the way she starts those, she goes out wide, feeling the sheep and thinking the whole way.   Sometimes she hooks in at the end but yesterday she didn't.  Then a little driving.  We kept the session short to avoid tiring the little lambs, especially tiny baby G-Girl.    Some of the older lambs are looking humongous compared to her. 

Tessa had a small group to work in the 100 x 100 pen, and we practiced her good flanks, walking up, and stopping.  She has such a nice standing stop that I only ask for a down occasionally to be sure she knows it.  Mostly I have her stand.  

Hank worked a light group out in the big field, who, sad to say, were not light enough.   Even the hoggs (I finally looked that word up.  It just means young sheep of either sex) are now coming running to me as soon as I send him, which means they aren't great for working on outruns.    So we had a sheep training session where every time they started to run to me (and Hank was no where near pushing them that way) I'd stop him and flank him back toward me.   After a few times they would at least hold still until he could get around them.   At the same time I was working on getting him out further.     It may not be the most efficient training, since it is always better to work on one thing at a time, but I thought it was successful anyway, as by the end of the session he was doing a better outrun and the sheep were holding still longer.  

Cinder also got a small turn with the sheep just to keep her paw in.   She's getting a little "fluffy" these days so I have to keep her exercise up, plus she loves to work.   I didn't get the camera out yesterday, so these pictures of Cinder are from a few years ago.    Looking at them is a little like looking at old pictures of myself- as in, hey, look, a waist. 

Best dog ever

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