World runs relived

Nancy asked me to do the blog on the trial so here goes. Sorry for the delay but the days just fly by and wifi connections are few and far between.
The trial was very well run and weather was great. Cool with sunny periods and no rain other than a short sprinkle a couple of days. Shuttles ran between fields but they were all close together. Field one and two were lovely open green fields with no markers at all to help with the cross drive lines. Field three was the killer with long stubble and slight undulations. As the mornings wore on the hearing became an obvious factor. The scores reflected the challenges of the hearing.

Nan ran on the first day on field three. We drew up right at one when it was warm and the wind had totally died. She couldn’t hear me on the fetch and she totally lost touch with me on the cross drive. Very heart breaking to have the run ended by hearing as she has been running so well over here. She finally just kept bringing the sheep to me. I couldn’t get to the cross drive panel and retired. I guess the next day one handler from Sweden I think actually laid down and whistled and the dog heard. Wished I would have known that!!

Gus ran near the end of the day on field two. The scores were very high on that field with at least six scores over 200 out of 220. Outrun was about 450 with a drive of about same distance, as was the case on all the fields. Hearing good on this field, sheep nice but a strong draw on the cross drive to a gate. The gate was behind a house that jutted out into the field. Gus lost nothing on his outrun and lift. He lost 14 on the fetch. The sheep were kept inside the gates but jerky as I was holding Gus back to try and keep the sheep settled. The stopping allowed the sheep to wobble. In hindsight I wished I would have run him a bitter differently, allowing him to get hold of the sheep more. Turn was a bit tough as sheep reluctant to go towards the grandstand. First leg of drive good and turn good. Had sheep nicely settled through first part of a long cross drive and then they started to run for the gate which lay past the cross drive panels. They strung out as well. I was keeping Gus high as many handlers had missed the gates high. Aled Owen’s sheep had strung out and ran half way as well but of course he managed to line them right through the gate! Me not so clever. Realized I was low so gave Gus inside flank but too late as I had him on the high side. Then had to flank him way back around to try make the turn but the sheep had already disappeared behind the house. Judges hit me 40 points for that mess. Gus brought them back nicely into the shedding ring. Marked shed took me time but lost no points. Gus penned them very well as the sheep were tricky to pen. No points off the pen. I let him do the work and he didn’t need me! Back to the shedding ring for the marked single with under a minute to go. Aled Owen had made it look so easy so no problem right!! LOL. Thought I had it but two held back as I was about to call Gus instead of one, ran out of time – so 20 points off there. Score of 146. Not near high enough to get to the semi finals as they took 7 from each field each day, but Gus ran well so I went away with knowing he ran well and sure wishing we had another shot at it!!

I had certainly hoped to do better in representing Canada but you do what you can and I sure learned so much from the experience and from watching the great handlers that make it all look so easy. Competing with so many excellent handlers and talented dogs will be an experience in a lifetime for me.

Lead up to the Worlds

A bunch of pictures from this last week, a few from Skye.  Unfortunately we did not get any pictures from Saturdays trials but here is the down low:).  Lee and I left at 0530 from Eastside Cottages, very sad to say good bye and headed off to Dunkeld for the Athom and Weem trial…we had asked to run early so we could take off to the next trial about two hours from Dunkeld, Fort Augustus.  We arrived at Athom trial right on time, 0830.  I got out of the car to check in with the trial director and he said, “right, lees at the post right now”,   “Right now.” I ask….she’s still in the car.  “Aye, now.” …ok then, “LEE , your up!”.  Well her feet got outta the car, she grabbed Gus and walked to the post…..and there you go.  They had a good run,  a bit of a wobble of there cross drive, there was water in the middle,  then clean pen and shed.  A solid run considering we actually had no idea what was going on lol!  Then Gwen and I were up, in typical me fashion, I was rushing….and did not set her up right at the post.  She had seen Gus’s sheep come up the fetch line, but also saw the exhaust.  I sent her, she crossed, could not see

Arriving at field on  Tuesday to check things out

Arriving at field on Tuesday to check things out

The gang at the beach at Nigg.

The gang at the beach at Nigg.

At Nigg, just outside of Fearn, near the world trial field.

At Nigg, just outside of Fearn, near the world trial field.

Gwen and I at Nigg

Gwen and I at Nigg

A graveyard on Skye from 1046!  Clan Nicolson...

A graveyard on Skye from 1046! Clan Nicolson…

Kristi O' s next knitting project!

Kristi O’ s next knitting project!

any sheep, it was a very up and down hill with long grass, then she turned to the exhaust….I tired one more whistle, but called my run..,,all this happened in thirty or so seconds:)!  So big kudos to Lee to just walking up and getting it done, I was a twirling idiot lol!  I had no time for the deep breathing exercises….. Anywho shortly thereafter Nan was up,  they laid down an awesome run, sheep were Texels. Bit of a wee wobble on the cross drive, but other than that pretty nice.  Once that run was done, more and more people started to arrive, Faansie and his wife, Mossie magnnasun and his wife lotta,  Ian brownly, Andy Carneigie ….but we were httin’ the road for the Fort Augustus trial, so we did not catch any more of the runs, nor do you get your scores.  Yesterday Faansie found Lee at the registration to let her know she placed, and thinks she was second.  Hopefully we will find out via the Scottish Farmerlol!  But very well done, considering the in and out scenario and a large and competitive field.

Fort Augustus we got there by 12 noon.  Much more relaxed, no rush….there were tons of people there, from all over.  Lots from Holland, Sweden, Finland, Switzerland.  And of course all the Scottish boys, who are now greeting Lee and I with giant hugs and scotch kisses lol!   Here we are running on Black Faced Ewes.  Big field, great field!  Lee placed in mid seventies with both her dogs,  this trial they actually posted scores, but only final scores.  Gwen and I had an awesome run, I was so proud of her.  Big deep outrun, beautiful lift (we had a very nice packet of sheep), many ppl didn’t even get a lift.  We hit the fetch panels right on, I held her back a lot as the blackies run!  We had them nice and settled.  We had a rockin’ tight turn around the post, and the drive away started well….they were pulling hard left and I didn’t stop her in time, so she got in front of their heads…then I over flanked her back, then got flustered and gave her three wrong flanks,,,arrrghhhhhhh…..but we pulled it back together, hit the panels high then cross drive was solid, but goobered up right at the panels AGAIN,  hit them just low, then to the chute. She rocked at the chute, Julie Hills lessons def. paid off. We almost timed out, but she never lost them out of the mouth until the end…one  black/grey was determined….Gwen covered her tiwce, third time she broke for the exhaust Gwen took her down lol!  So we dq’d.  But it was a helluv run for us. One I will go over in my head again and again:)

Trial field

Trial field

Trial field three

Trial field three

Trial field three

Trial field three

 

ok, I have ot go and get ready, we are off to the worlds.  I am sure th is is full of typos, will edit later….

The four blackies

A little follow up on today as it is pouring with rain out, the wood stove is on and we are all cuddled up.  Lee and I split our blackies we have been working into two smaller groups, four and five.  We put the five up a new field, huge hill.  We played catch, hid sheep, etc.  They worked well.  We set the pen up in the original field with four.  Completely different dynamics, those black faced ewes can run!  Lee and Nan managed a pen,  Gus almost had them, but Gwen and I really struggled to get control, she never really was able to settle them, a very interesting day for sure.  We need a stronger steady at the top, but if my timing is off  it is not pretty.  We did almost get it, but we were a both a little excited I think….they definitely were not happy not to be with their pals, and it made it much more challenging for sure.  Even though she stayed well off, any movement from me once she got them under control, sent them running…you get the picture.  We worked on a  bit of what Julie was helping me with yesterday and I felt some good success there.  We def. had good success on the big hill, but it certainly shows you when you are moving ahead too quickly and need to go back to foundation stuff.  One thing we are really pleased with,  all our dogs  are recovering quickly after the hill work.  Ok, that’s it for now, the dogs are tied out and there is a small hurricane blowing…..

Last day at Eastside

Driving up to Julie Hill's place

Driving up to Julie Hill’s place

Julie, Ban, and Mac working a brace up onthe hill, checking her flock

Julie, Ban, and Mac working a brace up onthe hill, checking her flock

Our back garden at Eastside Cottages

Our back garden at Eastside Cottages

The back garden at Eastside looking at it from the garden gate

The back garden at Eastside looking at it from the garden gate

Here are a few pics from our day at Julie’s on Wednesday. This morning the boys have left to hit the links, Lee and I are off to set up a pen and try our hand at penning the blackies. We are also going to move to quite a hilly field and do some practice work. The sun has just come out after a night of rain, but overall our weather has been awesome. The rubber pants have yet to be strapped on! The dogs have a great back garden we can tie them out in, pictured above, at night we have this little stone alcove where we have set all the crates, right outside our front door. All the dogs have really tuned into working these light hilly sheep, it makes us wonder about the “boredom” factor at home, working our own sheep and how that affects our training.
I’ll touch in later tonight, we have an early 5.30am start tomorrow to hit a couple of trials…lucky Lee and I will be in their car (Lee’s and Brian’s) where we have “Bunty” the SATNAV….often she will tone with us…”at the roundabout take the second exit”…the second exit…THE SECOND EXIT YOU ~£€>£*^|>} moron”…. I think just as we leave we will master the roundabout of six lanes, 12 entrances and exits. Sometimes Bunty includes the entrances, sometimes she does not…Lol! And for my family, no I did not choose the name Bunty, Lee came up with it all on her own. When we went to Julie’s we had no Bunty, it was back to maps and pulling over at pubs to ask the way, or just twirling around the round about until we figured it out…we twirled a lot that day….at one point I had Lee jump out of the car and spring down the road to read a bunch of signs, “your kidding me she says”, “No” I say, “get out”…Lol!away she went sprinting down and came back with excellent information, who needs Bunty:)

Oh what a day!

Welllll…..6 am – Lee and I were walking the hills, then we went to work some black faced ewes, did some very good “training”. The owner of the farm, Ali, had left around 0700 on his quad with his two dogs to gather a bunch of ewes and lambs, lambs to go off to market. He said once he brought them over the hill, we could help him sort and then we could take the lambs down to the pens to get ready to load for market. Great! Well we waited and we waited. We had a lesson lined up with Julie Hill in the afternoon so we were a wee bit anxious on the time, it was kinda like waiting for “that guy” to call you back lol! At 1030 we see Ali and a big flock cresting the hill. “Lee, I can hear the quad, let’s go!”, so we got out dogs and hiked up yet another hill….we met up with Ali at his sort pens waaay up the hill from our cottage. He sorted, we waited. Lee Gus and Nan took the ewes away, three fields over. Gwen and I took hold of the lambs and headed down to the farm, she worked hard!, but kept them quiet and controlled, I gotta say I was super proud of my little dog, black faced lambs never worked before and she held her own, calmly. We got stuck pushing them through the gate to the field leading up to the sorting/ loading pens – luckily the calvary was coming up over the hill – Lee, Nan and Gus. Gwen and Nan quickly started to work together, Gwen following Nan’s lead, super cool to see, Lee and I both giving our dogs directions at the same time, super cool. Once we got through the gate, Nan took over and I had Gus and Gwen on lead, up the field into the barn yard, here I let Gwen off to help Nan, Nan pushed, Gwen hung back to keep any escapes for making the dash. Everything went very calm and smooth! A highlight for sure…..until….we left for our lesson with Julie Hill.

After,, ehemmm getting lost for, well a wee while, eheemmmm, we arrive at Carcant Estates where Julie is the tenant farmer. One of the nicest people I have ever met! However, just prior
to finding Carcant Estates, we stopped in at a farm, I saw a bunch of sheep, a round pen and a guy….we had been lost for awhile, so I said “we are pulling in!”… Well as we drive up Lee says “oh! It’s Bobby Henderson”…so we had a good chat…then carried onto Julie’s Place, Bobby said he would be back later to have a look at our dogs. Ok.

We met Julie, so welcoming , she didn’t know us from Adam, but she was so warm and put us at ease right away. We brought out some Cheviots and went awaaaaay up a big hill, or rather the sheep went waaay up the hill. Julie indicated at the top of the hill there was a large plateau that goes a long way. We don’t have pictures, but the top of the hill was already aloooong way:). Nan started us off, bounding through the bracken and Julie gave an awesome commentary on working Cheviots. While she was giving us the feedback for Lee and Nan, the sheep drifted quite far up the hill heading for the plateau ….she suggested rather nonchalontly that I send Gwen to gather…GULP!ok…ssshhhh, away she went, the sheep went over the plateau, Gwen continued the climb, reached the top and I lost her for what seemed like forever. I turned to Julie, shrugged my shoulders, she reassured me, just wait she gestures. I wait and wait. Then little white heads appear over the crest, straight at me, at quite a clip…..then Gwen’s little head appears, I was so proud of her…she came down hard through the bracken, and I could have helped her more, but what the hell, she brought them! Then it was Gus’s turn. Amazing. The sheep disappeared pretty quick, it was incredible to watch him learn and partner up with Lee right away to say “hey partner, tell me and I will figure it out.” Gus as well had a big run up the hill, over the plateau, found his sheep and brought them home. Lee took both her dogs for huge drives cross the hill, through the bracken, amazing to watch, especially as I was getting the commentary from Julie. Wow is all I can say.

We went off and did some close at hand work, subtle things and some different terminology that really got me thinking and understanding. Of course, the trick is to transfer it to my handling. Her ability to communicate what she wants to her dog, while recognizing the signal. The Communication her dog is giving to her is uncanny. When I had a bunch of sheep up against a fence working Gwen, she pointed out some very clear communication Gwen was giving me to help me, it went right over my head until she pointed it out. Yet another light bulb moment. Julie demonstrated some of her close at hand training techniques with Ban in a round pen. really interesting to watch.
Then up to her house for a cup of tea, where Bobby joined us. Lee and Julie went up another hill where Julie checked her flock and worked a brace with Ban and Mac. Lee said it was amazing to watch, some incredible work on the hill sorting blackies and Cheviots from hundreds of yards away.

I hung out with Bobby, who gave Gwen and I some pointers, working in a “small” field. Half an hour or so of incredible work and guidance, simple quiet encouragement. Then he worked about three or four of his dogs for me, all at different stages of training, he talked about similar issues I am having with Gwen, showing me how he helps his dogs through it. It was hard to focus, because I just kept thinking I’m so lucky I am so lucky. It was like Lee and I met up with two old friends. I am getting this all down now on my blog because I just can’t grasp what an incredible day this was. When I was working Gwen with Bobby, she already had had a very busy and intense day working the black faced lambs on the hill, but as he pointed out to me, she has heart.

Herding at Eastside Cottages

Another great day in the Scottish highlands! Our B&B is on a 3000 acre holding with 1500 Scottish black faces. Our host Ali is really interesting and has grown up on this farm which has been in his family since the 1800s. Watching him careen about the steep hillsides with his ATV and two border collies while bringing in sheep to sort was hair raising to say the least! We helped him sort off some lambs to take to market and then he set out some black faces for us to work.

We went out with great trepidation expecting sheep running in ten directions or circling the wagons and trying to ram our dogs in defiance – but it turned out great with our dogs doing an excellent job of adjusting to the light but challenging ewes. Was neat to hear the black faces’ horns clacking as they ran into each other deciding which way to run to try and beat the dogs. Shedding is fun as you have to stay a long way off but the sheep react to every slight move.

Long hikes up the hills take you past ewes grazing amongst the heather. the heather is very thick and tough so we sent the dogs up the hill always to see how they would manage the heather. Gwen did a great job of leaping and running over top of the clumps while managing to get around the ewes. what a tough tough job dogs would have gathering sheep off those hills.

Lee

Our first trial in Scotland – Nigg.

Nancy asked me to post about the trial so here goes!
On Fri I drove 3 hours north to Fearn and stayed at a quaint little hotel that is yards from where the world trial will be held. The trial field will be awesome. Luckily the next morning I managed to follow John Scott,who owns Fearn Farm to the weekend trial which was in Nigg. He almost managed to lose me as we wound our way up into no where along narrow trails. The main purpose of the trial was to work the sheep that will be used at the World Trial. They are not worked by dogs other than Huntaways. ATVs are the main way they are moved. They proved to be tough to set by the “boys” and very tough to pen.

Nan was up second as I was one of the first competitors there at 8:30. The trial never started until 9:30. The judge, one of the many Mcdonalds, was a one man show doing the timing, scribing and judging. The field was not big but was challenging with sheep set up on a ridge which leveled out just before the fetch panels and then boasted many dips and hills. The sheep were very reactive to the dogs so dogs had to stay off. They ran a “packet” of 6 to get through the sheep but it seemed to lead to lots of splitting of the groups. Sheep would turn quickly and then run like crazy when the dog disappeared into a dip. Nan adjusted to them nicely which I was very pleased to see. We missed two in the drive away panel . She got them penned with some good forward work and the split was ok. Gus started out over reacting to their twitchy behavior so we missed the fetch panel but then got hold of them on the drive and did an amazing job penning them without me saying much of anything. There were about 55 or more dogs and the pen sorted out most. They don’t post scores. The next morning Andy Carnegie informed me that I got a “shout” by placing fourth. Ewen MCKinnon later informed me of the top 5 scores with Nan earning an 85. Mosse Magnuson was 2 & 3 and a Phillip was first with 92. Unfortunately I didn’t catch his last name. So many new names to learn.

Nancy joined up on Sunday to have her first Open run in Scotland with Gwen. They did an amazing job and earned many admiring comments especially when they heard how inexperienced both were! Very exciting to see them both do so well. Nan had another nice go but we missed our cross drive panel as did many due to the sheep breaking hard midway through the cross drive and running downhill. Sheep got half way around the pen once so more points off there. She had a nice shed on the last two as we were running 5 sheep on Sunday. Gus had lovely start to the run but also missed cross drive panels and could not get them penned. We left early for our 4 hour trip to our new B&B which is near Edinburgh. Tired and missed a few of the zillion round about turn offs but of course very happy with our first Scottish trial!

Lee

First days at Eastside Cottages

What we saw when we driving up to Eastside

What we saw when we driving up to Eastside

Trial field at Nigg

Trial field at Nigg

Me and Gwen at the pen, she handled the sheep like a champ!

Me and Gwen at the pen, she handled the sheep like a champ!

Nancy's run at Nigg

Nancy’s run at Nigg

Nancy's run at Nigg

Nancy’s run at Nigg

Another shot on our approach to Eastside cottages

Another shot on our approach to Eastside cottages

For the first time at a trial I didn't watch my dog!  I watched the view:)

For the first time at a trial I didn’t watch my dog! I watched the view:)

My cousins place where Lee and I overnighted and learned to sample like champions: 8yr, 12yr and 38yr

My cousins place where Lee and I overnighted and learned to sample like champions: 8yr, 12yr and 38yr

We met Brian and Ian as they came up the course, way too fun

We met Brian and Ian as they came up the course, way too fun

Before the crowds came

Before the crowds came

Dogs had fun here!

Dogs had fun here!

The pictures are a bit mixed up, but all are from the weekend and our arrival at Eastside cottages.  Saturday day, Gwen and I spent at St. Andrews, Saturday night I met up with Lee at my cousins place in Narin, then Sunday am we headed off to the trial at Nigg.

After the weekend trial at Nigg, not far from Tain and Fearn, Lee and I drove back to Edinburgh where we met up with the boys at Eastside. If you look at their website it has a tremendous amount of information on the sheep farm here, the history and the surrounding area. I can honestly say the website does not do it justice. Lee will blog on the trial and details of it later tonight, I wanted to get some pics up of where we are now. We spent the morning helping the owner sort of lambs for market, watched his dogs gather from the hills. This afternoon he is setting some sheep out for us in his small field(it’s huge). The sheep are all blackies, and well, let’s just say “light”. Should be fun, I ll report back later. Very proud of our dogs at the trial, everyone did very well, but Lee will weigh in later on the details. For now enjoy some of the pics, views, sheep and more views….oh, and a couple of Gwen at St. Andrews. First bitch allowed int he members clubhouse lol!

 

Our Last Day at Northlees Farm

Lee working Gus on the hill with the River Tay in the background.

Lee working Gus on the hill with the River Tay in the background.

Gus fetching the sheep on the hill.

Gus fetching the sheep on the hill.

This is kind of a shot of the field where Lee Nan and Gus worked the big flock, it really doesn't show everything, but spectacular!

This is kind of a shot of the field where Lee Nan and Gus worked the big flock, it really doesn’t show everything, but spectacular!

Nan working the hill, opposite direction from Gus

Nan working the hill, opposite direction from Gus

Well Lee has left for Tain, and the boys just came back from golf. We all had an awesome day. Lee took Nan and Gus out to work the big flock, I dunno how many, there were a lot!, I video’d…..at one point Lee was in the middle of of all these sheep, Nan was hard to spot as the area was so large with lots of hills and valleys. My video efforts left something to be desired. But by the time we got Gus on, I was much better! Gwen and I passed on that, I was worried perhaps a bit more than our skill level, there were blackies and Cheviots and the blackies not keen on staying with the group. Gus did an awesome job of keeping everyone calm and together…we’ve had such a wonderful time here and Andy has been so generous with his sheep, I felt it best not to risk the big flock leaping over the fences into the Tups:)

We then brought a small group, five or six Cheviots across the road to a very hilly field (Lee mad me do the shed the group off, and the move), it was awesome! Then we played a lot of catch on the side of this hill, we were able to hide the sheep and just do lots of fun stuff. Above are a few pics of our morning. T say the least little Gwen has crashed. She and I worked some more on our own after Lee left, I just sent her out blind to go get the sheep…a bit fast and furious, but bring them she did! The setting could not be more spectacular.

 

Northlees Farm, our first two days

 

Here she is bringing up the rear! Lol!  She helped Andy's two collies Maid and Chip.

Here she is bringing up the rear! Lol! She helped Andy’s two collies Maid and Chip.

Northlees FarmWell here we sit, in a wee kitchen in the hills above Perth with our hosts Jean and Andy, Brian and Ian and a couple from South Africa….back bacon in the oven, boys are off to golf carnoustie, and Lee and I are heading up the hill again to work Andy’s Cheviots. It’s a 200 acre farm with about 400 Cheviots and a bunch of blackies.

Ian and I arrived first, Andy was working in the barn tagging snd marking sheep, getting them ready for market. Gwen and I were hanging about and he asked if I wanted to give her a go in a small pen inside the barn (I think he just want to see what we were all about:)). Well two hours off the plane, she was happier than a pig in you know what! Then we headed out to the fields helping Andy move sheep with his quad, quad leading, dogs pushing from behind. Gwen’s look said it all! Really! For Me!

In short order Lee and Brian showed up, they unpacked and we headed out the fields within fifteen minutes of arrival. Nan and Gus really happy to be out on the fields. Everyone is working great, Gwen and I are getting a bit more proficient at shedding, getting her gap a little smaller each time I try.

We have done a lot of walking as well, sheep and draft horses are everywhere. The farm we are staying at has five yearlings, big beautiful playful giants. Gwen and Nan are ready to take them on, Gus looks at them “chill girls, we’re on holidays”!

We have a mix of everything weather wise, but today not a cloud in the sky. Lee takes off this afternoon for a weekend trial in Tain, I’ll meet up with her tomorrow night, we will trial on Sunday. Enjoy the pictures! I have been having trouble with the internet but hopefully this will work!

Our greeting committee upon arrival at Northlees

Our greeting committee upon arrival at Northlees

The start of moving some Cheviots with the quad, Gwen eyes were wide open!

The start of moving some Cheviots with the quad, Gwen eyes were wide open!

Our morning walk, talk about happy dogs!

Our morning walk, talk about happy dogs!

View from the farm

View from the farm