The big win from this weekend is that it went wrong and i didn’t freak out. Which I have to say is pretty awesome. Click brownie (actually recently discovered truffles from Amore Chocolates) for the handler. I laughed pretty much through our entire takepen debacle and it wasn’t that ‘i have to laugh or i’m going to cry’ sort of laughing. Watching Molly’s reaction to being in a small pen with sheep that look something like this was honestly better then Saturday Night Live. Not Robin Williams Live funny, but way better than cowbell. And yes, our sheep had horns and they knew it.
The sheep were apparently disinterested in coming out of the take pen for many people during the trial, but so much so that they actually wouldn’t come out of the takepen for us. To the point that i kicked Molly out of the take pen and physically stood inbetween the sheep and the back of the pen. Not that they noticed; they were busy trying to dig a hole to China or any other location that was not in that take pen. Bless Molly’s little heart, she tried her best considering we started doing take pens last week. She wasn’t sure about going around by herself so i stepped in with her. Then she tried to go to balance, but there was no where for me to go that was both in balance and yet out of the way enough to give the sheep an exit. She even tried (finally) to be a little cow dog and went to head without connecting. Which left me laughing in the take pen and wondering where that dog was when we were in eastern Washington actually working cows. I think we need some livestock flash cards. She was so pleased with herself and disappointed that the sheep were gone that as I was leaving the arena she tried to get through the gates and into the sorting area as the stock handlers came through. So close and yet, so far away. Poor Molly.
I did discover something interesting in all this. Successful or not, I really don’t enjoy trialing in that A-course B-course format. Maybe it’s the ADD. Maybe I just don’t understand the idiosyncrasies of those courses and why they’re used as the benchmark for a working Aussie in ASCA – either or both are probably the malfunction. Maybe my competitive style is more like golf and less like football? What i do know is that i’m just not competitive enough to worry about the above mentioned maybe’s. Much like other folks i love to show off, but a few months ago Molly and I were working in the big arena on something new to us. After working through it and heading out to the parking lot, an Open Handler complimented me on her and how we worked it out together specifically. “She’s a great little dog. Keep at it.” That, for whatever reason is worth so much more to me than a score sheet – qualifying or not.
Not to suggest that trialing the A or B course in ASCA is bad or unworthy. Some of my dearest friends are totally into it and I will always be out there to support them. It’s just not my bag. I love the ASCA Ranch course and can’t wait to actually be successful at it. A & B just don’t work for me somehow.
So we’re going back to where i can see the goal and understand it’s purpose. Apparently, despite the information on my drivers license i’m still 6 years old and insist on asking ‘why’ all the time. Though, when i was 7 i took apart my neighbors power tools to better understand how they worked. So if this is the timeline we’re using next year will be interesting…