June 22, 2012:
I've been out and about trialling over the last week. On Friday I headed up to North Wales to run two trials on Saturday - Llanbedr and Llanrhaeadr - and then Hiraethog yesterday. I went in search of different kinds of sheep to broaden the experiences of my dogs (and me too!), and I was not disappointed. We came across all sorts or sheep. In fact, Wynn Edwards referred to his sheep at Llanbedr as 'licorice allsort" sheep. Now Licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra), also known as "sweet root," contains a compound that is about 50 times sweeter than sugar...but I can tell you this, those sheep were not sweet! I heard many other descriptors for them, but not once did anyone call them sweet! They were touchy... they were big... they were fleet footed...they were not nice at the pen...did I mention big? ...they were in great condition...but they were not sweet! Little Sioux liked them and so she found herself 'in the money' yet again. Fourth! Huge grin from me! No luck at Llanrhaeadr but I was really pleased with how Penny and Sioux handled the sheep. Sioux backed hers into the pen...fabulous....but unfortunately I had not heard time being called....Oh, and don't mention the cross drive gate! We live to fight another day.
Yesterday we went to Hiraethog. Mynydd Hiraethog (also known as the Denbigh Moors) is an upland region in Conwy and Denbighshire in north-east Wales. It includes the large reservoir Llyn (Lake) Brenig (one of the largest areas of inland water in Wales) and the Clocaenog Forest, which holds the largest population of red squirrels in Wales. There's quite a good book called Mynydd Hiraethog: The Denbigh Moors: by Robert J. Silvester, Louise Barker, David Leighton, 2011 which is well worth reading. This trial is certainly picturesque! The outrun was a good distance, the sheep tricky. Fantastic. Loved it. Thick fog dogged the trial all morning, delaying proceedings for a long time. However the organizers got through roughly 98 runs is a miracle! Kudos to the set out people! Both my girls completed their runs, with Penny managing to eek out a 4th placing, despite really tricky sheep.
Last week Sioux got the all-clear from the vet. The toe surgery she had back in October has been a resounding success! Now I can get down to the real work of getting her fit for the national. The clock is ticking!
I went up to see the national course recently. It's tricky! Actually, it's downright difficult. Just the type of course I like. One thing is for sure, if I can get my dogs out to the sheep, anything after that will be a bonus! But the if in that sentence is a very big IF! Can't wait to have a go.
Well, the weather here is sh*tty! Wet and windy. Yesterday saw snow flakes on the trial field. In June! What's going on? The thistles are taunting me. Revenge will come sweet, if and when it comes. We did have one day of nice weather and lucky for us, our neighbour arrived to top the main training field. Last week I went out with the video camera to get some video of Sioux. All I got was the sheep waist up and shimmering grass - no sign of Sioux. Will try again soon!