I’m feeling so much better today. I could almost go outside and dance. Go figure it’s nasty outside. I awoke to grey sky’s and the sky just steadily turned darker. Then the winds really started whipping around and the first clap of thunder in the distance. Did you hear that Vic asks? I’m like yea I heard it isn’t it just wonderful. I had pretty much given up on the day.
I’d made a post to the Aussie Herders List about sponsoring the boys and the response was over whelming. As most of you know I began my herding with ASCA and still have a great many friends there. The out pouring of their support made me feel good all over. Almost hard to believe they would for a guy with Border collies. So it looks like we will be going to the finals sponsored by the Australian Shepherd people. I’m honored they would think enough of me as a person to sponsor my dogs. The sun finally came out! Whooooohooooo! I’m going to work the dogs this evening.
It’s about a 20 minute drive to Hopes house and the skies are turning just a bit grey. I still feel like I can get in some valuable time with the dogs. Tonight I left Kane at home and just took Tait, Tigr and Joss. It’s hard to take all the youngsters and get them some work right now, but Joss is at the age that he can’t be ignored. He is beginning to do nice outruns, starting to use a fair amount of eye, and he looks so much like Tait I sometime confuse them. He has such a powerful presence that he scares sheep from long distances. This will haunt him till he learns to hide or turn off that intensity.
I worked Joss first on the large group. He getting a pretty decent little outrun to about 50 yards. If I move farther out in the pasture to pressure him a little maybe 75 yards. Count on the sheep lifting fast and furious, but we’re working on that and it will come in due time.
Next I use Tait to pen and cut out four sheep. I wanted sheep that would move off a dog okay. but still be a little bit of a challenge. So I made sure to get out the Wiley old Dorper. Tait drove them around the full course with ease. The old Dorper wanted to lag behind, but he wasn’t going for it. This was exactly what I wanted. I had Tait drive them way out in the pasture over the levee and gave him a “that’ll do”. Good boy.
Tigr knew it was her turn and she was wound up. I had to reset her three times before I could do the outrun I wanted. I can see the sheep’s heads as they stretch their necks to see where the dog is coming from. Didn’t take them long to figure out the game. “Sppppp” I whisper and she’s off like a little red rocket. Her out run once again is just breath taking. I don’t care which side I send her from, it’s just a thing of beauty to watch. She fetched the sheep to me in a nice straight line coming directly over the levee tonight without loosing contact. She had full control and would have nailed the fetch panels except I messed up on my timing. We still got three out of four. Sorry Tigr! She brought them in a straight line to me and around the pole in the direction I wanted and went into a straight away drive. Wow! She is really in tune tonight. “Walk up” I whistle gently. Hit the drive panel perfect center took every inside flank. The old ewe that was lagging behind seems to fit right in now and isn’t ever a problem. Now we come to the cross drive so I give her a short “come bye” whistle she responded and slowed to the “steady” there. I can hardly believe it; I’m not used to this being so easy. She drove them across holding the pressure from them breaking back towards me and hit the second panel with ease. “Comeeeeee byeeeeeeee” I whistle and she shot around them and brings them on the trot to my feet. “That was just awesome! Good girl! get a drink!” She runs and jumps in the stock tank. The sheep ran to the gate where their other buddies were being held captive. I think to myself this is a good place to stop but I just couldn’t. “Spppp” off she goes and collects the sheep with ease and I give her a “walk up”. These sheep didn’t want to leave me so I take a step toward Tigr and she holds the pressure all the while walking up. I had her drive them about 75 yards in an angle across the pasture. She’s taking the inside flanks just great because they are wanting to break and run to me. One wrong step and they would be around my knees. We hit the panels and I’m pretty jazzed up. Her maturity is just shining right now. The little confused dog from the other night is forgotten. A short “away” flank and a quick “steady” and she is cross driving the opposite direction from before. The sheep wanted to break towards me or the holding pen where their buddies are and she is holding them online with just short flanks commands. What an enormous pressure that has to be on a young dog so once we hit the end of the cross drives of a 100 plus yards I gave her an “Awayyyyy” and she flanked to cover the pressure which was Bye. “Lie Down” I whistle and she hit the dirt, “Awayyyyyy” and she took it this time with ease. I’m feeling like the worlds best handler right about now. I put her away on the perfect note; she just became the champion of my heart.
I’m so pumped I decide to work Joss one more time. I send him out just as the winds start howling. He does a nice job and fetches them back to me. Dang my hat blew off and now it’s starting to sleet. Brrrrrrr this stuff is really cold and was stinging when it hits your exposed skin, so I told Joss, “that’ll do buddy”. I don’t want to get sick again. I put the dogs in some of Hope’s kennels and run for the house. I’m very happy with tonight’s session.