"You are not going to ruin your dog."

The DD action figure that I'm getting for Christmas will say this.  It will have a chord. (Coming out of her BACK, incase you wondered.)  But the chord is just a fashion statement.  The doll will be motion/whining sensitive.

Jai and I participated in the Gem State Herding AHBA trial this weekend.  We signed up for HRD Level II because it's the oddest prime number and I don't like reading things like Entries or Rules. Two seemed like a good choice for a lazy person.  I always pick the middle shell. Even at the beach.  The middle beach.

Anyway.  This event was a Ranch Trial and consisted of 4 trials held on two different courses. 

Trial A was a system of obstacles starting with a gate sort for 5 sheep, into a small area and through a little barn, opening and closing many gates, around cones in small pens, changing sheep, driving sheep down alleyways, ending in a small outrun, lift, fetch, drive, and settle, repen. Twenty minutes.

  Trial B was in an 8 acre field with a take-pen, drive, poles to weave your sheep through. penning, new sheep from another take pen…through a gate into a 2nd pasture….remembering to close one's gate GOOD ENOUGH (we learned this late. Sadly) so that one's sheep didn't burst back through into the first pasture and fraternize with USED SHEEP in the freestanding hold pen.  Where one would be testing the DQ FOR LANGUAGE rule and finding the judge disinterested, frankly, in one's finest slurry of F bombs. Completely. Yawningly unimpressed; more curious as to what one would do next about one's sheep swirling endlessly around the pen clogged with OLD SHEEP and one with still about 10 minutes left on the timer. 


I got in trouble with DD for quitting our pro-novice run at Wessels last summer.  Things got a little ugly on the drive…which looked more like a hijacking.  SO, I 'retired'….preferring to spend our time sobbing gently (me) and peeing on things (Pat) in the culvert over the hill.

"Everyone had trouble! PAT HAD A PERFECT OUTRUN, LIFT AND FETCH! Your score would have probably placed!"

I'm careful about quitting a course now.  Death will have to be imminent for one of us.  The rapture will have to tear the sheep from my novice heathen grip. 

So, If one cannot be DQd for a few dozen F Bombs, one needs to  move on to plan B.

I tend to swirl endlessly around Plan A. This is a problem.

"You need to learn to not panic WHEN ONE THING DOESN'T WORK, TRY SOMETHING NEW. MOVE ON to SOME OTHER SOLUTION."   (I think the action figure will say, "TRY SOMETHING ELSE! IT'S NOT WORKING! TRY SOMETHING ELSE" followed by a brief siren, until you hurl it across the room.  When it hits the wall, it will say, "WHAT WERE YOU THINKING?")

I worry about this lack of new ideas on the trial field.  Jai is sensitive and I'm sensitive and she lacks confidence …and I lack confidence and when things go to hell, we both tend to not know what to do.  Except maybe distance ourselves.  I tend to stare and reach that perfect, useless, zen state.  I might add a whistle.  Jai tends to go way out and lay down a lot.

We did finally get the sheep off the pen, we muddled through the rest of the course.  Jai wagged and cringed and I apologized and cringed our way back to the car.  I texted DD:

"I'm ruining a good dog."

"I can't trial for awhile. We are not ready."

"No." is what the action figure will say to defeatest proclamations.

"No?" you will ask the action figure.

"No" it will answer. Like a correction. Louder each time.

"HAAY! KNOCK IT OFF!" it will growl.

This action figure is going to save DD a LOT of time and phone minutes.  Texting. 

It will come in three sizes: Open, Pro-novice and Novice.  Novice comes with a stock stick that hurls with accuracy at your cringing whining form.  Open laughs at you when you fall.