Sheepdog News

BevLive: Belgian Open, Day 1

First day of the Belgian Open was very pleasant upper 70s turning to a bit of rain in the afternoon. The trial is being run on three fields with the handlers divided into three cohorts. My cohort ran on field 3 in the morning and field 2 in the afternoon.

Again alas rerun sheep changed significantly as they were run. By the end of the day they were bolting around the post to the exhaust and in a few unfortunate cases right off the field. This didn’t prevent Scott and Derek in my group from running well. Poor handling in regards to the second drive gate ruined those of my runs that weren’t already trashed by Joe’s not listening on the fetch. I had two okay runs and two bad ones. Getting rid of the bad mojo before the big event I hope.

Faansie and Elmaria arrived and added to a very pleasant group with whom to spend the day. Unfortunately the way the fields were arranged all over town we got to see very little running, just our own group. Tomorrow more of the same then on to the World.

BevLive: Dutch Open, Day 3

Dogs ran great. Joe had a particularly good go on the small field. Not normally his forte. Alas neither was good enough for the double lift. Nan ended up twelfth. Scott is the only one of us to get in.

Not much to report as I left to drive to my next B&B then spent two hours trying to explain Trump and the American electoral process to my hosts. Was a struggle since I haven’t figured the Trump thing out myself. Happily we moved on to a far ranging discussion of European politics and gardening.

Drive out to the new fields. Bigger than the previous trial, happily. Now at dinner with friends not discussing politics.

BevLive: Dutch Open, Day 2

Long day. Hot again although not as humid, hot or windy as yesterday. It has cooled off now and we’re all wearing our beautiful new handler jackets that Heather Haynes arranged for the US team.

Ran Nan early this morning on the small field. The draw is everything there as a bad sheep can ruin a great effort as we demonstrated. Nan was great her one sheep not so much and we ended with 85. She redeemed herself later in the big field scoring 92. Joe ran great as well getting a 94. So they are both remote possibles for the double lift as is Joe Haynes and Pepper. We get our final runs in the morning.

Serge Vanderbilt Sweep and Jaran Knive have dominated along with Nigel Watkins. The US team has managed not to embarrass ourselves and we’re getting quite the warm up.

I got to see James McGee and Silver in a bad sheep at the pen on field 1. A lamentable common occurrence, very impressive heading just enough to turn the ewe and never a misstep. They are deservedly leading the pack.

Tomorrow we all get one more run and the head to Belgium for an evening handlers meeting.


BevLive: Dutch Open, Day 1

Editor’s Note: Bev will be also posting on Facebook, but we’re duplicating the posts here for those who want to read them this way.

First day of competition at the Dutch Open. The sheep are mixed bag of some kind of red and white breeds. They are smallish and light boned and moderately active. There aren’t a lot of them. They needed to rerun them at least three times and maybe four, we aren’t finished yet. They improved with the rerunning in spite of the increasing heat. It was about 90 by mid-afternoon and fairly windy. The humidity is pretty extreme even for a Connecticut girl.

The two fields are separated by a canal and their respective seating areas. Field one is a less then 200 yard outrun. Field two is quite a bit bigger I think in excess of 300 yards.

The sheep dictated some of the low scores as the occasional group could be quite difficult especially at the pen. Mostly the same problems we see everywhere, missed gates and poor outrunning.

Derek had a good morning run marred by a bad pen that cost him the shed. Scott and Joe Haynes both had trouble on field 1. Joe redeemed himself on field 2 with Pepper, scoring 86, currently 5th with only 60 dogs to go. Scott had a good go with Alice on field 1 getting 82. Derek had a good field 1 run as well gaining

My Joe ran well but didn’t please the judge so much, scoring a respectable 78. Nan was more to the judge’s taste earning 87 both on field 2.

Every dog runs twice on each field. The dog’s three best scores are combined and the top ten compete in a double lift final Sunday. There are plenty of scores in the nineties especially on field 1 the smaller field. I’ve run both dogs on field 2 and ran Joe last on field 1 where he was an idiot. Scott and Now Haynes had good runs on field 2 to finish out the running.

None of us brought chairs, obviously, and find ourselves standing more than we want. A shopping trip is certainly in our futures. As hot and muggy as today has been the forecast is for a week of rain. Nice for the dogs buts going to be wearing for the handlers and horrible for the rental car.

Day is done we are back at our really good restaurant to rework our performances.


BevLive: going home

Last of my blog. Most of our party had a successful day, myself, not so much.

Ran early and Joe wasn’t so good. Oh well, another trial down the road. Mich, Barbara and Amanda all had a good day, getting through to the final.

The sheep were good, not running too much although there was some fighting, especially with poor Stella’s run. She was a star, handling a very aggressive ewe with real aplomb and more than earning her big score.

Barb and Stella

Barb and Stella

Barb and Stella shedding

Barb and Stella shedding

Another trip drawing to a close for me nothing left now but a long drive home. Thanks for reading this blog.

Handlers dinner

Handlers dinner

Amanda: agony and ecstasy

For those who believe us to be out living the dream, forget it. The last couple of days have been fraught with bitter disappointments. Howell made it through to tomorrow in good style. Dorey did not make it to the semis. I consider her my first string dog. None of my regulars could console me as there was no cell device here. You get the picture. The car park diminished rapidly today. Handlers headed home to all places in North America.

Bridget Strang is practised at throwing a party. Great barbecue. Horse arena turned party hole.

Opening ceremonies at seven tomorrow morning. Double lift final afterwards for top seventeen.

Same time next year with the cowboys

Same time next year with the cowboys


BevLive: end of Nursery and Open

Another beautiful Colorado day. Not much wind but plenty of sunshine. Good running on the Open field.

The nursery sheep were quite a bit heavier I thought than in the preliminary round. It was hard to get a flow. Every time the dog wasn’t six inches away from them they stopped and sometimes when the dog was very close they stopped anyway.

My dog didn’t mind the heavy, but all the necessary stopping and flanking exceeded her training and we ended up ringing them at the second drive. Joni had no problem, with Ben winning easily I think. There have been very few scores posted. We never really knew who had what score on the nursery field as they were never posted there. We’re still waiting the final result as I write.

Back from looking at the new course. They moved the setout over and back another 75 yards. The drive us further away and reversed. Pretty straight forward except the drive is in a low spot for the last half so going to be very difficult to see and judge the panel.

I drew up 12th with Joe. Hoping for the best.

Joni did win the nursery. Charles Williams was second with a lovely little bitch named Lyn. I was 16th with Lee and very proud of her. She performed well above her degree of training. Next year we’ll hopefully do better.

BevLive: At the Finals

I’ve been delinquent. I’m sorry. The only internet is on the hill up above Barbara’s camper and last night was cold and windy with thunderstorms. I opted to hole up in my camper and not add to this blog.

It’s been good running mornings with wind in the afternoons. The wind coupled with difficult yearling sheep made for low scores. It appears that a 120 or lower will make the cut for the top 40 and Saturday’s semi-final.

Mich, Barbara and I all ran today which has been the best day of running I think. There wasn’t any wind to speak of until after noon and that was more at our backs than in previous days. The field is very flat with a few spots with not great acoustics, add any wind and hard sheep and many dogs can’t hear anything.

Mich got a 120 and Barbara and Maverick aced it with a gorgeous run and a 172, high score thus far. Joe and I struggled to get a 127. We could have done better, but a ewe broke at the pen and Joe opted to keep the 4 we had instead of flanking. I was fairly annoyed until I saw Allen Mill’s great bitch, Sis, get in the same mess after a stellar run and end up with a grip and no score. Ouch. It was a beautiful go not needing a pen.

Amanda: heroically keeping us all informed

Ever since we left Meeker, connecting with the world had been difficult. My computer is still dead after Sammy tipped the water onto it . No cell service is available at Strang Ranch, so Internet junkies are agitated and in withdrawal.

Meeker is splendid trial to win. The Merino sheep are magnificent athletes, descending from the rarified air of the flattops at ten thousand feet, to take on our sea level dogs. Two of mine made it to the semi-finals, Dorey and Howell. Howell set the pace early in the day with 104 of 110 points, a marked single and uncollared shed. Howell was back to his old self, after a course of Doxy. He marched them in style. Dorey had a difficult single at the pen, swinging around three times before we got them in. The same uncollared single wrecked havoc on the shed by running everywhere out of the ring and never giving us a chance to take the collared single. Only Howell made the final, but that was enough.

Howell drew up just before noon, which in high-desert-speak means heat of the day. From frost at seven to 80 an hour or two later. His first gather was very good. The spotters lost his sheep for the go back and Howell went tight for a couple of redirects. He picked up the second group and fetched smoothly save a few kinks. He drove well. His shed was a twenty pointer. But I lost a few taking risks at the pen. They did not get back together.

A few competitors nearly caught us, but none ever did. Howell’s second Meeker championship. You can never win that honour enough times. It was my turn to buy at the Meeker Hotel.

We got up next morning to work young dogs at Ila’s and ride on to Carbondale for the US National Finals.

On Monday we went about parking in the rough terrain of the carpark, with sage brush stumps, cactus. Leveling up is a big job. The biggest handlers meeting in North America ensues, with all anticipating their best ever finals. Mary Minor and Feist turned in the first run of our gang, She is still sitting eighth after two days of qualifying. Barbara Ray ran well with Stella and Howell will be back for semi-finals on Saturday.

he sheep were very different to Meekers’s Merinos–much more Rambouillait type, but difficult and demanding. Lots of good hands fell by the wayside under their pressure.

We went out to a Carbondale restaurant called Town. It was grand.

A long wait through the night for the Nursery to start. Haley Hunewill, Faansie Basson, and Joni Tietjen are leading the pack. I put Quark on the line at the pen after an OK run around the course. She grabbed one under duress and it was game over. I have Zola, tomorrow morning and Dorey on Friday morning. If I can get to wifi, you will hear from me.

Practicing with Zola

Practicing with Zola

BevLive: the Finals begin

Sheep arriving in Carbondale

Sheep arriving in Carbondale

Very limited internet here. Mostly while I’m walking dogs I need to keep an eye out for magic spots of connectivity.

Yesterday was the day to arrive and get level. We’re all parked together, a bit away from the many many other campers, which is nice. Had the handler’s meeting and the compulsive drive-walking yesterday at 5:00. Then Kak and Mich had appetizers and pizza for us all. Really nice to be warm with friends as it got cold and windy and even spit some rain.

8:00 start with the Open today. Nursery starts tomorrow. I don’t run today so I’ll go cheer my friends on.

Early Colorado morning

Early Colorado morning