I love this stuff!!!
I had as much of an adrenaline rush today standing in the middle of a flour circle that I did running my dog in agility at Nationals. Seriously. So. Awesome.
I remember way back when I didn't even have Brit. I'd take Wicca out to Altapete once in a while with Sarah and Gyp, and watch in awe as Border Collies zipped around here and there. When Brit came into my life and I started Herding with her to give her something to focus on I never imagined we'd be able to actually do stuff! It sounds weird but it's totally true. lol
Today I stood at a post (well, there was no post, but there was a flour ring I had to stay in) and directed my dog around a course and she did it! So. Cool. I love this stuff!
Today was the first in a Winter arena series. We are in the "Ranch" level which is the easiest one. The handler can leave the post to help with the chute. (a panel against a fence) There were 17 dogs entered.
Brit listened to me (mostly), and was just amazing. Her movement, power and speed gave the sheep no time to think about stalling, and even with a few little bobbles we still had Great runs! I am so proud of me! For thinking on my feet and remembering what I am supposed to do. And of course proud of Brit. What a dog she is. I am so lucky to have her as my first herding dog. She is just a darn good dog! She may not have a lot of eye, or be the most stylish dog out there but she gets the job done!
In the first round we placed 4th. I was not nervous until I stepped to the post, and then I may have stopped breathing for a second or two. But as soon as I sent her the nerves went away and we had a great time. A super respectable run for our very first time! She handled the wiley sheep just fine and we had a fast pen time. We had a bobble around the post which cost us some time.
The second round I was a little more excited, less nervous. But the sheep had been getting progressivly worse as the day went on. Lots of face offs, gripping, and DQ's. Brit doesn't Grip. And she would never face off a Ewe. She is a chicken. So I knew I had to just keep her moving to get it done. And she did. And it was awesome. I just shut up and let her do her job. And we came in 1st. Which floored me. Seriously.
Herding is such a crapshoot. Sheep can be difficult. It's hard to plan for stuff when you have three (or more) other living, breathing, thinking things to plan around. It is all about the moment- what the sheep give you and what you tell your dog to do. (and what the dog does...) all play a role in how well you do. I am a SUPER novice. I mean, the 200 foot outrun we did today is the biggest we've done. lol. But already I can see that- it is a lot about luck, and a good dog, and quick thinking. ;)
What an adventure this dog has taken me on so far. Who would have thought. Really.
The next trial is just a few weeks away and I can't wait. I already booked a lesson for this week to work on a few things. Like "There" which I could have used a hundred times over today.....
Enough chatter- here's the video. I combined the two runs so it is like 6 minutes long and will be boring unless you like sheep, and dogs, and in particular Brit. ;) I've watched it a few times already....