So, here's our trialing schedule for July, August and September.
Kelly Creek - Huntsville, UT 7/2-4
Nicomodes Gulch - Monte Vista, CO 7/15-17
Free to Be, Mountainair, NM 7/27-31
Kemmer - Kemmer, WY 8/26-28
Steamboat - Steamboat, CO 9/3-5
Meeker Championship - Meeker, CO 9/7-11 I'm wait-listed for this one and may not get in
National Finals - Carbondale, CO 9/13-18
In between these dog trials I will be on the Strang Ranch giving lessons and helping the Strang's prepare for the finals. And I'll be enjoying uncommonly good company, riding with Bridget, if she'll have me, and training my dogs every chance I get. I am truly blessed.
It's been bloody hot here all week, but I'm training, training anyway. Kelly Creek is just right around the corner, and the dogs aren't in shape as much as I would like. They are running well, all things considered though, and we are prepared for heat, if not for altitude.
Star man faltered in the heat today, and it seemed to zap his strength most of all. The sheep were hot, and heavy, and Star was sluggish, and slow. Not a good combination. After a few outruns, and the drudgery of shoving stubborn sheep down the fetch line, I fell back on work that's fun and fast. After some simple flanking drills, we reverted to shedding. Still running out in front of the shed off sheep, Star was gliding through the holes easily enough, and wearing with intention under my quiet "shush, shush, here, here" to hold his sheep.
I made it a short day for both dogs. There was little shade, the drinking water was hot, and the sheep were unhappy.
I loaded the dogs, and went to Coto de Caza in Orange County again to give lessons to some really nice people who are just learning. The area they have to work in is an arena made from PVC post and rail fencing. The sheep were quick to find a way out, making it difficult to keep them in afterward. Star took turns with Mirk doing sheep retrieval today, and made some new friends whom he impressed mightily.
Star has a tremendous personality and he makes friends easily. Today he made his retrieval and then would run to everybody there in turn for a pet and some love. It is as if he said, "I was wonderful, wasn't I? Did you see me? I was wonderful." And, of course everyone agreed. He exhibits the same behavior when we are anywhere working where there are other handlers. He runs back when I call him off, wagging his whole body and looking for praise, which is always quick to come his way.
Short and sweet again today. I have so much to do before I leave in 3 days that I don't have a lot of time for the dogs. But I squeezed them in today, then went home and worked on the trailer until 8:30pm.
We were in the big field with Buff's owner, who came for a lesson. Buff is going with me trialing this summer, and I have him entered in every one that would allow me 3 dogs. Because of cancellations at Nicodomes in Colorado, he's entered in all of them, except the Meeker Championship, but I'm wait-listed there anyway.
Just a few short outruns, some fetching and driving, and we were finished. On the first outrun, I set Star up in front of me, and he ran tight. Again, I'll not complain about that, because of his tendency to run wide. However, the next time, I stepped off to his side with him beside me, and got the most beautifully made outrun that he has given me since the dog trial at Zamora. I thought, "OK, now we're ready for the summer," and called it a day.
Next week's post will be from the Kelly Creek Trial in Huntsville, UT. Check back!