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muggs

Nosey question for the sheep trial people here

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Thanks Colin and Rebecca for the information. Yeah, Colin, if I make it to this one or another one in the near future, I would have to come dogless - my newly adopted girl is known for barking her head off at sheep and my young pup, albeit very well-behaved, sometimes likes to "announce" his arrival at new places, even to the trees. We're working on this...

 

RDM, I love it! That really shows me you can get into it for fun even if you're a city girl-maybe just country at heart.

 

And Laura, where's that agility trial?!

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Laura, we have the will-work-for-ride-time in common! I LOVED the work, still do (miss it really). Through my (1st) college years I worked for ride time, even though I never made any shows (poor college student). Now I've made the transition to dogs (although I'm still pretty clueless and totally inexperienced) and hope that some of that experience will spillover.

 

Muggs, I'll be at the Lawndale trial too (to spectate), so hopefully I can catch you there.

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I figured some of that knowledge had to spill over for me, since I've never taken a basic dog training class or never read a lot of books (just to drive Becca crazy!). I've always just seemed to "know" it.

 

Muggs, the agility trial is in Chapel Hill all 3 days...come on out! http://www.petbehaviorhelp.com/agility/directions.htm And I'll get those other directions to you as well, it's been a crazy work week.

 

Laura, I tried to email you something, but it bounced?

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Hi all,

 

I got my start in horses as well. I was horse crazy from the time I was about 8 years old until I (finally) got to start taking lessons when I was twelve. Stayed in horses for over 10 years- did the 4-H thing, a little working cow horse/cutting and bought a quarter horse mare that could slide forever (and not do much else) for reining. My fellow horsey friend (Kristine Dedolph/Decentls) was asked to find a home for a border collie belonging to a friend of hers. She took that dog to a Roy Cox clinic to try to pawn her off on someone, and ended up becoming interested in working dogs and kept the dog. That dog was a nice dog, and I watched Kristine work her, mostly on ducks at first, for about six months before the lady who bred that dog had another litter. I traded an old saddle and $100 for the last pup in the litter and got Leary. Leary was a hard dog from the beginning- or at least we thought so. We had no help- Kristine & I- just some books and very occasional clinic. I was told Leary was exceptionally talented, but I was holding her back. Looking back now, I can see what Leary really was misunderstood. Not a hard brave dog, not a dog that needed to be "controlled" but instead an excessively pressure sensitive dog who was frightened when working. Poor dog- really screwed her up about 10 ways to Sunday.

 

When Leary was over a year or so old- I was already getting frustrated with her progress- which basically was non-existent. She could gather sheep but everything else was a fight with her. I was worn out with it by the time she was three. She was "retired" from any aspirations of sheepdogdom. She is still around, keeps the couch warm and occasionally goes out and gathers sheep for the heck of it (very, very quickly and with lots of style LOL)

 

Kristine lost her first dog in an accident, and she only had a little pup. A mutual friend of ours gave her a six month pup that he didn't have time for. I had already planned to get a second dog- even though I was frustrated, I really liked stockdog work. I even had a name lined up, "Rhett", for my next dog. Kristine "stole" that name for the dog given to her. As fate would have it, she decided she didn't have time to devote to both pups and offered to sell Rhett to me for $50. At that point, the only thing I knew about Rhett is that she was a soft dog that listened. After Leary, that was the most attractive thing she could have been.

 

Rhett was a great dog for me- what should have been my first dog. She had alot of natural stock sense and was very strong about heading stock. She turned out to be a very brave cow dog, we won our first Novice cow class- it was Rhett and my first time ever working cows. She only got better on cows- and I let her lead the way. She taught me tons about handling stock- not so much about training dogs. I honestly didn't do much training of her- she downed when I asked her too, and brought me stock. She never had much of a drive, if I didn't control ever move she would be around to the head in a heart beat, and she had pretty strong opinions about what I knew about where stock should go (what? Drive? Are you kidding??? They could get away!!....)

 

I competed in cow dog trials almost exclusively with Rhett and then her daugher, Nellie. In our earlier cow dog days, it was not so hard to be at least presentable with limited access to working cows. However, cow dog trials have made leaps in the quality of competition and I have found myself looking hard at what I want to do with my dogs. Somehow it didn't make since to keep risking their life and limb when they weren't gaining the experience they needed and neither dog had the natural cow sense of Rhett. They get along ok w/ cows but when push comes to shove- the cows shove pretty hard.

 

I have always been very interested in the sheepdog thing, and since what I have is sheep and what I really have now are sheep, not cow, dogs (Rhett is now retired)- I decided about two years ago to focus more on USBCHA sheepdog trials. After years of competing in Open level WCDA trials, we went to our first "official" USBCHA trial last year. Right now we are competing in Pro-Novice- mostly middle of the pack competitors- and really enjoying it. I am still involved in the cow dog worlds as well, but will be trialing my current dogs mostly in sheepdog stuff. I am expecting a pup (Thanks Diane!) who may take me back into cow dog trials more often.

 

What I really like about this is the people I meet and the friends you may only see a few times a year but who have been part of your life for so long. I've found some good and bad in every group, but for the most part- supportive and fun-loving is the general attitude amongst stockdog folks.

 

Jaime

[email protected]

Las Vegas,NV

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Former horse girl here too. Owned 3 when I was in Jr. High/High school. Worked my tail off to pay for them too. It was mostly pleasure English/jumper. But since most of my "McDonald's" earned income was going to board, I couldn't afford that many lessons/tack. So I only entered one schooling show and that was enough for me.

 

In my Sophmore year, my parents up and did some stupid stuff which forced my biological father to step in and take custody of me. I had an hour to pack up, call my friends and say good-bye. That was the last I saw of my horses.

 

It wasn't until I moved to Hawaii that I actually had a bit of time and money to look into horses again. But the barn witches here are SO bad that I just couldn't stand them hovering over my every move. So I got out of that within a year.

 

When we finally got a house we rescued a Border Collie from obvious Australian show lines (long back, long coat, big Rottie head). I was able to get him on sheep a few times. But we are so limited in our sheep-resources here that it didn't last long. I think Buddy has been on sheep 6 times or so.

 

Now with our 20 month old girl (from ISDS lines) I'm ITCHING to get her on stock. But we have no access to anything here. It's so sad.

 

Well, actually - maybe it's for the best. Once bitten, I think there is no turning back!

 

Denise

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I am enjoying this tremendously! And it's theraputic for me...Thanks to all for the sentiments about Luke and hugs, etc. I'm putting together a scrapbook with all the posts and some pictures to keep him alive forever.

 

I was into horses first too (still am, living a double life!)I did Pony Club (SAM!!! I knew it!), combined training and some Hunter stuff, broke ponies for a couple of older horsewomen (Sue Meredith, Woodlands Ponies of Lawrenceville, VA and Mary Barnes of Ashland) and when Mary died in her 80's, I fostered all of her ancient horses/ponies til the last one died last year at 33. I am a 4H leader, have 13 horses/ponies, my "kids" do CT and dressage mostly. I ride some, ought to ride more, but these DOGS came into my life in 1993, when I had to put down a Lab mix I had who was my constant companion and Karen Lacy came into my life (I'm a pet groomer by trade) to have her three dogs groomed becuse she needed it and wasn't feeling good enough to handle it at the time. I bathed Rip, Midge and a third one I can't remember. Those two dogs in particular were such wonderful dogs to work with, just getting groomed, that they made a huge impression on my aching heart, Carly being gone all of three days. It was fate. I asked her if she had any puppies...I was considering a purebred dog to do obedience/agility with, and Border Collies were down there on my long list. Well, she had two. One was spoken for. What do you think that made me do. Yes, buy the other one. I left him at Karen's for a week to get over the insanity of what I did.

That was Calvin, and he was the best puppy in the whole world, and showed me what Border Collies were about. Because I had a SHEEPDOG, I ended up at an instinct testing thing in Petersburg hosted by a Collie club, and they had this strange man there who told it like it was and had no hands (Roy Johnson). Scared me to death, but he was kind, said my dog was okay, and I ought to look into this thing, herding. I ended up signing up for a Jack KNox clinic in Edgewater MD., met a lot of really fabulous people, one string-bean guy who drove up there from Abingdon and slept in his car in March (David Henry) with his very young dog Holly. Jack told the host, Virginia Dove, that he liked my dog, and he was very promising, but stuck with me, he was stuck being a very strong dog who never lived to meet that potential.

The next year, Karen told me she liked what I was doing with Calvin, and gave me this puppy from her breeding of their Eve and Vergil Holland's Kip, who I took, at great risk to my marriage, and named Luke. Luke was quieter than Calvin, and had a delightful, easy way about him with sheep, and it was much easier to work with him than Cal.

In the end, I found it amazing how much I knew about horses applied indirectly to the stock work, and learning about stock and dogs has made me a better horseman. I started out volunteering at trials in the pen to learn more about sheep, and eventually found that, without sheep, I was not going to learn enough to competitively trial, and I liked the pen work so much, it has become my thing. Having the horses still makes it equally hard to do more, and I am constantly reminded that I have them (by my husband who takes care of them) when I take off to go do dog trials. I am really torn between them. I have recently gotten into Natural Horsemanship, I think because of the dogs and sheep.

I am blessed;I have Luke's mother Eve, Simon, Beryl, Turk, and rescue dog Pearlie, all the Border collies I never would have had if I hadn't met Karen when I needed a puppy that day. AND I agree, these BC people have been tremendous to me in my journey, so many people, big hats and little ones. I look forward to continuing this journey, even though it is inevitably going to have it's ups and downs.

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Originally posted by Debbie Crowder:

met a lot of really fabulous people, one string-bean guy who drove up there from Abingdon and slept in his car in March (David Henry) with his very young dog Holly.

 

I am blessed;I have Luke's mother Eve, Simon, Beryl, Turk, and rescue dog Pearlie

Debbie, and as fate would have it... you end up with that string-bean guy's great dog, Beryl! Now that's a full circle moment as Oprah would say.

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Originally posted by Debbie Crowder:

...Karen Lacy came into my life (I'm a pet groomer by trade) to have her three dogs groomed becuse she needed it and wasn't feeling good enough to handle it at the time. I bathed Rip, Midge and a third one I can't remember. Those two dogs in particular were such wonderful dogs to work with, just getting groomed, that they made a huge impression on my aching heart, Carly being gone all of three days. It was fate.

Aw, I'm so happy to know that Rip had a part in it. I enjoyed reading your story. I was recently trying to figure out how you and Rip figured into each other's past. He's still the best behaved dog I've ever had, and I doubt that I'll ever have another like him.

 

Thanks for sharing!

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Originally posted by C Denise Wall:

I'm an old horse person too. Jumpers, three day eventing and dressage.

Hey Denise, can we call ourselves something besides "Old Horse People" - I really don't like the sound of that...

I prefer "Recovering Horse Person" :rolleyes: , I've been through the 12 step program and now I'm a dog-aholic instead (although every once in a while I still get the urge for a little nip of horseflesh...)

- former eventer, foxhunter, and "mother of all Ponyclubbers"

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I have only had horses for Sunday afternoon pleasure riding...we sold those to place sheep in the field and barn.

I went from beagles my entire life to a BC - what a shock! I had taken a few lessons from a almost non qualified instructor while still living in the city...and once we moved out to the farm we seemed too busy to really get the working dog idea rolling. I really dove in during a sentimental time close to two years ago. My father was diagnosed with cancer and died within 3 weeks. Being a brain tumor survivor myself - while sitting with him I began to wonder, if that were me laying there, what would I be sorry I had not accomplished. I've had a wonderfully successuful career, raised a great young man I am very proud of, and friends that I cherish. I had always "planned" to start working my dogs. Within 90 days I had located someone in the working dog community to drag me on their coat tails and get me started. I ended up selling the first dog I tried to train and buying an open level dog that is hesitant on the shed from Nancy Schreeder. I ran pronovice with him last year and did okay. This year we moved up to ranch and are feeling the growing pains! But, we'll work it out. I am also working with one of my pups, Abby, who is young but full of promise. I bought a puppy from Dee Lee out of Tommy Wilson's Dot, and Dee is starting him now. I never could get hooked by the agility or flyball bug...but I love working the dogs on the stock.

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Hey all. It's been a long time since I've posted here and I'm sure many of you don't remember me, but I'm going to just jump right back in anyway!

I like threads like this where we can reminisce about our dogs and such.

 

I've been riding horses since I was about 8 months old according to my dad. He was working on a big outfit in Texas when I was born and my mom was working full time, so all of us kids rode with dad every day. We usually had our own horse (usually hand me downs from older siblings) to ride by the time we were 2. I've been pretty fortunate to never have a time in my life where I haven't had horses. (So far anyway.) I grew up ranching and rodeoing with my whole family. Kind of funny to be on the other end of it as a parent now and watch my 8 year old son climb onto his horse and pretend he's a saddle bronc rider already. :eek:

I grew up with Aussies and Heelers helping out around the place. I was given a 3 month old Border Collie pup and asked to find her a home. We hauled to every rodeo we went to trying to give her away. Nobody wanted her. Thank the Lord!! She turned out to be one of the best little cowdogs I've ever been blessed with. I put her to work pushing calves into the roping chute for us WAY to young. She never was much of a trial dog, but she sure gave me a whole new respect for these dogs. Her work ethic absolutely amazed me! In early 2000 a friend gave me a pup. At 8 weeks old I knew he was going to be special. We're certainly not tearing up the trial field a lot, but I've yet to have Zac let me down in any situation.

I agree that a big part of the appeal of working dogs is the great people you meet because of it. I have lifelong friends now that I'd have never met otherwise. I only get to a couple of trials a year right now but I SO look forward to them!

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What a fabulous thread! I grew up with a stray who turned out to be a non-typically colored Border Collie in the wilds of Long Island. She had all the intelligence, biddability, and moves but all she ever got to herd was a basketball. She was devoted to me and we went everywhere together in our suburban environment.

 

In 1980, Ed and I moved back to the small farm in upstate New York where he had grown up. We wound up with a cow-calf herd and he arranged to buy a mature Aussie to help (by this time we had four young children, as well). Jet wasn't too much help as he had never been trained well.

 

My husband brought home a Border Collie/Aussie cross, Rocket, in early 1986. Once he got some size on him, he was a good stockdog with courage galore, but we did not train him very well. He helped save Ed's life one day when a mad mother cow tried to rub him into the ground. He was fearless - one day, when the bull was feeling feisty, he tackled him by the nose, and took a wild ride around and around as that bull spun in circles. At this time, he had been mostly blind for some years - how he could work stock in the field or in the confines of the barn with virtually no vision was amazing.

 

My oldest son wanted and received an Aussie pup in 1992, and that dog grew to be our Mac. He is an absolutely great driving dog and close work dog (in the barn), mothers orphan or chilled calves like no other dog I have ever known, but doesn't gather.

 

With the children growing up and away from home, I was seeing a picture I didn't like - just me to help Ed and no dog to gather stock. We had seen a number of sheepdog demos over the years but had never quite gotten the bug until we saw Karen Lacy and her dogs. I knew that I just had to have a dog that would gather and work like hers.

 

We arranged to purchase a pup and got Skye, who was killed at six months. He would have been a great cowdog, brave and bold, if I had been able to train him properly. Karen and Tom gave me Celt as a gift when Skye died. I couldn't love a dog more.

 

We adopted Megan from an unsuitable but caring home a few months later.

 

I was able to take Celt to a Gary Ericsson cowdog clinic when he turned a year old and, about six months later, a friend and I began taking monthly lessons on sheep from Susan Rhoades, a three-hour drive each way from here. I have also been able to attend a couple more of Gary's clinics, as well, where it is nice to be able to train on cattle, as that is what we have at home (we have no sheep).

 

I went down to Roy and Debbie Johnson's Breezy Hill Open trial last summer and Julie Poudrier encouraged and convinced me to run Celt in Novice. It was a bit of a disaster but I enjoyed myself and have since run him in Novice five other times (we have a real lock on the bottom of the scores), and in last December's Possum Hollow trial, where he won the Saturday Beginner's Arena Goat class (we only ran the one day).

 

I love going to trials to watch and to volunteer and, when I can, I run Celt in Novice. I have no expectations of running in Open someday but miracles do happen. My goal for my two dogs is to have reasonably trained, useful farm dogs that are great companions. And, if we can have fun at a trial, all the better!

 

Thanks Karen and Tom, Gary, Susan, Julie, and all you wonderful folks at the trials (and on the boards) who have been so welcoming and encouraging (like Sam, Robin, Stacy, Tom, Colin, Mark and Renee, Andrea, Eileen, Roy and Debbie, Joan, Laurie, Deb P., Sue Asten, Deb M., etc.). It's the stockwork, the great dogs, and the wonderful people that make this so enjoyable and so much fun.

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Muggs,

 

I will also be at the trial in Lawndale...as a spectator of course.

 

I don't trial but hope to learn more soon. I started Keegan at a clinic at Steve's a year ago exactly. I took him back 6 months later and he had matured a lot and did a lot better on sheep.

 

I don't know that I will ever trial with Keegan, but I hope one day to do something with Tess. I got Tess from Steve after I was ENCOURAGED from our fellow posters, and owner's of Tess' littermates, Laura (rtphokie) and Becca (brookcove).

 

Once you go, you are hooked. I have never seen anything this amazing in my life. I'm hooked, but my husband hasn't gotten the bug yet!!!! We actually saw our first working Border Collies on a farm in Inverness, Scotland on our honeymoon. We stayed at the bed and breakfast specifically because we knew that we wanted a Border Collie after we got a house. Or should I say that my husband wanted a Border Collie, but now I'm the one who is hooked as Becca and Laura can attest to.

 

Hope to see you in Lawndale. I think it is exit 10B off of 85 South. It doesn't say Lawndale, but it says to Shelby which is just before you get to the Lawndale.

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It's been fascinating reading through these posts! What great writers on this board!

 

Rachel,

I'm going to try - thanks for the exit info. By the way I'm from Charlotte originally and still have family there.

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Muggs - I moved to Charlotte 5 years ago August. I went to school in Greenville, NC and grew up in Northwestern PA...small town.

 

Hopefully you will meet up with us at the trial next weekend. One day I will probably take Keegan (older dog), then the next day take Tess (pup).

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I too came from a horse background--again trading work for rides- then latter worked with Polo, Apps, Dressage, cutting. Never found quite what I was looking for as a living with horses.As a kid I also had a Gerbil circus that neighbors paid me to put on shows at kids parties. And I had a rabbit that acted more like a dog than a rabbit. I lived in the suberbs(no dogs or horses allowed) and knew even then thats not where I needed to be. Mom says I talked about my farm since I learned to talk.

 

Married a cattleman--he said the locals were too smart to get married into a farm --- got tired of getting pushed around by calves at feeding time- so I made my pet Aussie go to work.

 

Saw a TV show that had Border Collies with radios on herding cattle out west. Figured I wanted one of them--- by now the operation changed from having calves pushing me around to calves that I couldn't get near.

 

A neighbor had a Border Collie that he brought back from Texas and never used- kept it on a leash for two years. I took her home and turned her loose to help me put the calves up and she did it.

Didn't have any idea how lucky I was and what could have happened turning that first dog loose

And at that time I was so isolated that I thought I had the only real working dogs around- never even heard of sheepdogs till years latter.

 

Now I have the best of both worlds-- I have the dogs to work and the horses to ride while I make a living working calves.

It took awhile but its my perfect nitche- and fills my soul.

There are some days its not as pleasant as others- like 32 degrees and raining or 100+ and all of us are suffering.... just makes us appreciate the other days more. It would be nice if there was more money in it too

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Originally posted by KillerH:

It took awhile but its my perfect nitche- and fills my soul.

Ah, that is all I want right now...some job, some career that fills my soul!!!!!

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Karen, next time I've got to try the horse! Still got that safe horse to loan until I figure out my rebuilt, uh, seat? I've got a much better camera and I will need some good pictures for promotional material.

 

Sending you a pvt note.

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I was a typical little girl in love with horses. Started riding when I was 8 or 9 (after pestering my parents mightily for riding lessons), but have never had my own horse. I rode on and off from childhood through college, and then got serious about it when I started grad school, but once I started doing my own research (as opposed to coursework) I no longer had time to ride horses regularly and then once I got Solo, I REALLY didn't have any leisure time for anything but dog things. I started out hunter/jumper, but my real love is dressage. If I can find a barn and have time (and money) I'm going to start doing dressage again after I move, and I nurse fantasies of one day owning a dapple grey Andalusian stallion with a mane down to his knees.

 

When I got Solo I had absolutely zero intentions of working him on sheep -- in fact, he'd flunked out of herding school in a former home because he refused to work. My plans were to make an obedience and agility dog out of him. After I'd had him for a few weeks and it became apparent to me that he had, er, "issues," I started thinking about trying him on sheep again in the hopes that it would be therapeutic for him, and when we finally got back to sheep, it turned out I was right. He is never going to be a world-beater, and he's very difficult for me to handle since he's very hard-headed, extremely pressure-sensitive, and grips (which means that I'm usually nervous when working him, which makes him worse). But the stuff he's good at, he's really good at, he's got great balance, and loads of push, and you'd have to kill him to make him quit. I took a couple of lessons with Steve Clendenin while visiting Becca in NC, and Solo wasn't exactly Steve's style, but Steve did have this to say about Solo: "He's got a motor on him, I'll give him that much." I considered that a compliment and accepted it as such.

 

I still retain hopes of making a trial dog out of Solo (he has turned out to be a much better agility dog than sheepdog), but in the meantime I realized that, like dressage, handling sheepdogs is difficult to do if both you and the dog are greenhorns. And, my trainer thought my relationship with Solo was weird and codependent and that I really needed a second dog. (He was right about that.) So he encouraged me to get a second dog and then found me Fly, who came "over the water" from the UK and took me a year to pay for. She was worth every penny -- Fly is the ideal novice dog, kind to her sheep, beautiful stock sense, ridiculously easy to handle, with the scope to move up in classes. We are running in Ranch now with mixed success -- the fact that we moved up at about the same time I started really writing my thesis hasn't helped -- and if we become more consistent in Ranch, and can find time to learn to shed (she came with everything but a shed and a look back), I will probably move her up to Open in another year or so. Whether we'll be competitive I don't know, but we'll try.

 

In another few years, as long as I am in the right situation, I would like to buy a well-bred puppy and start from scratch.

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Yeah- I've got a ride for you. Might have to get you on the picnic table to mount shes well over 16 hands. But a real baby doll once she realizes shes gonna get ridden- Old age sour puss till then .

 

Its much more pleasant on the horses than those dratted noisey 4-wheelers. But even they are better(and safer) than running on foot like I used to do That might be why I have put on a few pounds since then too.

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