We are home from our trek across the state to attend the beautiful Fire Ridge Sheepdog Trial in Milton-Freewater Oregon. What a wonderful weekend! We were honored to stay with our new friends Erica & her very humorous husband Randy at their gorgeous home in Walla Walla. Jaenne stayed there as well & the dogs enjoyed nice long play sessions in their yard. Friday evening was spent eating the best lasagna I have ever had at Mary Hamilton's house, and Saturday evening more delicious food courtesy of Melinda Eden at a little place in Umapine, OR for the handlers dinner.
You can read about Jaenne's weekend at the trial on her blog Kip & Mo
Quick Congrats to Dianne Deal for her incredible wins this weekend in nursery, pronovice and open. Dianne...you rock!
Back to our regularly scheduled programming.
The novice/novice course was challenging. Mary Ann Lindsay swept the field with two lovely runs to a well deserved overall win. Unfortunately there were only 4 scores out of two complete novice class runs - Mary Ann had two of them. Our new friend Erica had one with Tate, and I had the other with Brynn. I had to retire both of Beth's runs, however I was VERY happy with Brynn. She got a 55 the first run despite being handler impaired. The second run was even better - up until her handler screwed her up and the sheep got away from us and she was unable to get them back off the exhaust. I chose to retire to help her rather than struggle with something that was not going to end well.
Mary Hamilton video taped the runs for me - she cracked me up when she said "That dog saved her ass" on the video. She was right! Brynn did a good job in spite of her idiotic handler. This sport is truly humbling.
Brynn placed second over all, even with one run retired. I asked a friend of mine what it means when you see scores like this. She said it could mean one of several different things, either...
1) Handlers were not ready
2) Dogs were not ready
3) Sheep or course were not what the competitors expected
4) Conditions were too difficult
In Brynn & Beth's case it was #1. Handler was not ready. I am not sure why...we have been working plenty. My confidence level is growing & my dogs were ready. I think, for me, it was a combination of sleep deprivation, low blood sugar and cephaloanaldisproportion (in layman's terms that is "head up ass syndrome").
I need to get over myself.
To be completely honest...I am too damn self conscious about my appearance. I confess, it is ego.
Not ego about winning or losing.
Not ego about my dogs.
A deep seated embarrassment about my damn weight. I feel like I don't belong. I see all these skinny people and think - what the hell am I doing here? Insecurity is ego. It is worry about what others think, how they feel, what impression I am making. It is ego pure and simple...and so easy to allow myself to be sucked into it's self destructive depths.
I need to remember why I do this. Why am I here? Remind myself of the postive effects this journey has had on my life.
I am here for my dogs. I am here for me. I am here to learn, to improve myself, my dogs and my life. I am here to grow as a person. To have fun, overcome challenges; make friends.
And for once in my life...not quit something I love, because I don't feel like I belong, or can't be perfect.
I need to focus on what I love & why I am doing it. Not my waist line, immense derriere or what people think of my frizzy horrible white hair.
I am here for that amazing feeling I have when everything comes together. When you experience that symbiotic relationship between yourself, your dog & the sheep. A truly intoxicating, enchanting feeling that cannot be duplicated - a space in your head where you let go of the ego, the self conscious thoughts, self destruction and simply slip into a world of teamwork and purpose.
Why am I really here?
I am here for my idea of Nirvana - Where I can find perfection in the moment, where nothing else outside the teamwork between myself and my dog exists. It doesn't have to be peaceful, it can be hard as a pimple on a boar's ass...but as long as we face it together...then it is perfect.