Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Busy Sheep Weekend

What a busy weekend this one was, but much fun. Saturday i rolled over to Julie's for a foot trimming party. A whole gang of us girls descended on the sheep, trimmers and blood stop powder in hand. A couple of hours later, with much talking and laughing and sheep wrestling, and all was done. We all went out for a yummy lunch to replenish the fuel we'd used up (and ice cream is lovely fuel :-) . Then back for more dog work and hanging out. It was a really enjoyable day.

Sunday was much more laid back. I had a lesson early and then spent the day working around the farm doing this and that. I'm not sure what all i did but somehow it got to be dark and i was still going, with chicken salad still to be made for the gang coming over Monday.

Monday broke a gorgeous weather day, low humidity and reasonable temperatures. Some of the folks who have been helping get the farm ready for the trial came over so we could worm Kate's sheep (to be used for a couple of classes at the trial) and work them in smaller groups since they're quite a bit more "fresh" than my hair sheep. By the end of the day, several were a lot more clean as well! What is it that would make a sheep think the middle of a pond is the safe and secure place to hide from a dog?! One wether apparently had watched Micheal Phelps at the Olympics and decided to embark on his own training program. Seriously, this wether looked perfectly happy and content tooling around in the pond and i wonder if he doesn't amuse himself swimming in Kate's pond during the day while she's at work?! Fortunately Julie's bitch Twist was there to show off her water herding skills. She and Jet made a fine water rescue team, working together to put things right. I'm certain those two dogs slept better last night than they had in a loooong time. We started out by working the sheep in groups of four and quickly realized that was not a good idea with the more novice dogs, but we did get through them all once with the slightly more experienced dogs and it gave us a chance to evaluate the sheep for the trial. Next we brought them out in groups of six, so they'd all get worked through by less experienced dogs and figure out it was okay and could relax a bit into the work. That was especially useful for the younger sheep that have never been at my farm (most of Kate's adult sheep came from my flock). Once more through in groups of five, and the sheep were done for the day without too much wear and tear. Now they know the field and the handling/set out system, and have been treated nicely for a short run around the field. Hopefully this will make the actual trial less stressful for them and also give the dogs a chance to be successful - it is a novice trial after all and we want the dogs and handlers to have a good time and do well in a new setting. Right now, my plan is to use Kate's sheep for the Nursery and Ranch classes, and my home flock for ProNovice and Novice-novice. At the end of the day, i hopped on the ATV and Jet and i took Kate's sheep home (she's just up the road from Shoofly). It was another nice day at the farm with good friends and good food (we always manage to eat good ;-) If the weather cooperates, we're going to try to repeat it this coming weekend and make some decisions on which sheep should be pulled from the trial.

All in all, we managed to put the "Labor" into Labor Day weekend but it was a lot of fun and my favorite kind of weekend.


Anonymous said...

I was thinking maybe we could somehow mark the swim-happy ones. Hehe It was a fun day - thank you for having us all out. I think the trial will be a lot of fun!

Robin French said...

Yes, we'll have to try to weed out the ones that like the back stroke before the trial. Hopefully one day this weekend will be hurricane free so we can get that done!

It was a lot of fun and i'm looking forward to more training days this winter with the girl gang. :-)

Anonymous said...

Where's the camera when you need it???!!!