Thursday, October 27, 2011

Best laid plans....

Jubilee has started spotting blood--so she's in heat now too.

No Rally trial for us this weekend.

On the good side.... in a few weeks, I hope to be able to announce the breeding of her and Nathan!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Rally, Herding, and Heat Cycles, Oh My!

I've been pretty busy between keeping up with work and training and traveling. Competed on Saturday for Jubilee's 3rd Rally Novice leg, she got 100 points and 2nd place. The club gave out a beautiful rosetted red ribbon and a squeaky toy for 2nd place, but Lynx ate the ribbon and I think I lost the squeaky toy in the backseat of the truck.

I'm real proud of Jubilee, though, 99, 100, 100 scores for her 3 legs. She had a few moments of spaceyness in the ring on Saturday, but fortunately they were not at moments that affected the score.

Had four fantastic herding sessions with her over the weekend, though. I worked her in the 100 x 200 field and she did some really good stuff. She regulated her speed a lot, and we worked a lot on the "get back/get out" commands as well as "walk in"--really thrilled about that.

It's a boiling pot of hormones around here--Hunter has been in heat for 2 weeks, Macha's been in heat for a week, and Xita started spotting today. Coal is banished t the kennel for the duration--his thought process seems to consist of, "Hey baybeee! Come on over here.... hey baybeee!" Hunter shamelessly seeks to accommodate him, pressing up against the kennel fencing and stropping against the gate like a cat.

Lynx is a little bit better, being somewhat less familiar with the mysteries of the female of the species. Still, he's spent the night breathing on me and whining under his breath.

Jubilee's not in heat yet--hopefully she'll hang on a few more weeks. She is normally on a four month cycle, so I would expect her to start up around mid-November.... Two more weekends to get her Rally Advanced title--hang in there, girl!

I got to watch brother Jedi work sheep in the fading light on Saturday.

Handsome boy he is....

Monday, October 10, 2011

Jubilee's JHD

In between herding and rally with Jubilee, I got her to pose for a stacked shot. Unfortunately, it looks like she has no front feet in this picture, so I'll probably have to try again. In the meantime, this is still better than any other side shot I have of her. (Seems like she's always facing me!)

She's in great shape right now. I'd really like a bit more spare weight on her, but she's packed with muscle and she pretty much puts all her food into more muscle or burns it off. She's a densely packed 56 pounds, 22 and a quarter inches--not a bit of fat, but tons of muscle. I was comparing her to her mother Nike the other day, and I think Jubilee actually has thicker bone, it's just that Nike has twice as much coat! At this age, Nike was about 55 pounds, 22 inches.

In an AHBA herding trial in North Carolina, Jubilee got her 2nd required leg of her Junior Herding Dog title. She was a bit fresh and rude and almost blew it when she lost the plot in the far corner. Since then, we've had two good sessions where she kept her cool and ended up working calmly behind the sheep. I need to cement that picture for her--that working sheep is about teamwork and calm and that she'll get to do plenty with the sheep if she can keep all that drive and eagerness reined in. I have been debating competing her in the next level up in an AHBA trial coming up in November, but I think we just need a few more working sessions in a controlled environment before taking her out on a trial field again. I want her to concretely know that it is possible for us to work together without her circling and overrunning. I generally travel 3+ hours to my herding lessons, so there are times when it takes us months between lessons. I need to not let that much time lapse for us from now on, though. I need to keep her in work as much as I can.

Here's the video of her JHD performance.... You can see she was just on the edge of control. I could have kept moving through the routine a bit faster (particularly in the 2nd corner) but at that point, I felt that I needed to get some control (a lie down), and instead she blew up a little bit. Yet again, under stress, old habits come back--I never use German commands in herding, but I did in trial when I was trying really hard not to yell death threats....

In the next few weeks, I've got a couple of AKC trials lined up--I need to get her 3rd Rally Novice leg (she did her first 2 legs back in June) and I'm hoping to go on and get her Rally Advanced title in early November. I went into rally competition with no expectations, but now that she did really good on her first two trials (99 and 100 points), I want to do really well on her 3rd leg and in RA. Ambition, it doesn't take much to get it stirring! :D

I'm racing the clock a bit as Jubilee has always been on a 4-month heat schedule and that means she'll be back in heat in November sometime. If all goes as hoped and planned, she'll be bred this season--she's going to be 4 in February and I don't want to wait too much longer for her to have her first litter.