In At The Deep End

Well what can I say……

Danby Show held in the North Yorkshire Moors area is a show I have been attending for many years, usually to compete in horse classes. But since retiring from the professional horse world I thought I would do something a little different.

I entered some photographs into the competitions and arranged a day out with a friend, Nicky. Nicky decided to enter a lemon drizzle cake, her first time too.

Sheepdog trialSo on show day I took my two border collie dogs with me, Zena and Kay. My young dog EV Kay is in training to be a sheepdog and hopefully do some trialling.

We had a walk around the show ground and came across a stall Moorland Sticks. I spotted a sheep crook I liked and discovered it was made by Eric Brooks, a gentleman I had been talking to only a couple of weeks before to gain information on what to look for in a good stick! Eric Brooks has made and competed with sticks and crooks for many years, and was competing at the show also. So I bought the stick and wandered around the show field to get the feel for it and to see if it was the right length. It felt very natural so I was glad I did not have it shortened.

Back to the sheepdog trial field, I  intended watching some of the dogs run in the sheepdog trials and watch to see if I could gain any knowledge or tips. There were not many entries to start, the field was quite small, not much bigger than my home training field. My friend Nicky encouraged me to enter and have a go, she paid the entry fee so I could not back out and I’m sure she did it for entertainment value. Not what I had prepared to do that day but nursery dogs were being accepted and there was another guy entering for the first time too. So what the heck….in at the deep end, my first ever dog trial, with my first dog, that I was training myself. Not one to take the easy route.

So entry done, nerves kicked in and I wondered what have I let myself in for…

Waiting for my turn seemed like an age. I walked onto the field, up to the Judge and explained it was my first time and it might not go to plan! He smiled nicely, asked me if I knew what I should be doing and told me to wait for the sheep to be put into place.

There I am at my post, new crook in hand and ready to go. Kay laid beside me on my sheepdog trialright. I sent her away and she ran wide up the field to behind the sheep, but then in my lack of experience I failed to control her soon enough to get a lie down. Her youngness and keenness meant she lifted the sheep on her own and put them into flight mode.

I managed to get her under control and proceeded to fetch the sheep down the field, but the line taken was more like a bumble bee in flight than the straight line it should have been. We managed to round the post – the right way, and off the sheep shot up the field again with Kay in hot pursuit. Kay just found it all too exciting and wanted to chase, so I called her off and decided to retire.

Not the best first start to my trailing career, but hopefully and Kay and I will improve.

Back to lessons I think!

On a final note the photography competition went well, 2 firsts, 2 seconds and a third out of 6 photos entered and Nicky’s lemon drizzle came a very good 3rd place from 13 entries.

All in all a good day out.

What the clients Say!

I received this wonderful review from a client I am teaching at the moment. It is so nice to know that I am able to help them progress together

“Tina is a brilliant instructor.

She has recently been helping me with a sometimes difficult, green mare and has also helped me to back my youngster. She is a very reassuring presence, which has been hugely helpful for both challenges!

Tina is so knowledgeable that she is able to see things from the ground that you can barely see/feel yourself as a rider and knows when to push you both a little harder. She equips you with tools to continue your progress outside lessons according to your personal goals and also explains why she asks you to do things, rather than just telling you to do them.

She might explain things with some different analogies to what you are used to but they always make sense in context and, more importantly, they work!”

Written by Tilly Stephens

Training Continues in all weathers!

We are progressing well with the sheep dog training, albeit slowly, due to the inexperience of the handler. I’m sure EV Kay would manage better without me.

Kay Sheep dog herdingToday the weather is awful……I have Arabian horses from the desert out in the pouring rain eating grass, and I have Shetland and Ryeland sheep hiding in the horses field shelter. Nature is strange. A bucket of food was not enough to entice the sheep into the training ring. I tried to herd them myself to no avail, they just doubled back on me, back in the shed!

As Kays training was going so well I thought I would let her help me get them into the ring. No longer just a small circle but a larger area, so I can ask a bit more from her.

So with Kay on a long line, we pushed the sheep out of the shed, around the horses that had now come to see what we were up to, whereupon the sheep ran as fast as they could to the farthest point away. My ankle not being that good to walk on, let alone run, I took the decision to let Kay go and sent her “Away”. A marvellous out run, and that’s where it ended! Sheep scattered everywhere and pushed through to the next field. I really must get some stock fencing up instead of post and railing.

sheep RyelandsAfter quite a few chaotic minutes we finally got the sheep in the pen, more by good luck than good judgement. as Kay got a bit too excited,  with the sheep going every which way but the right way, in all that space.

As it continued to rain, pour and blow, water running down my coat, through my coat, and through my jeans until my knickers were soggy, I continued with Kays training. Dedication or stupidity I’m not sure which? Back in a controlled environment, Kay went wonderful! Suffice to say I think I will be looking to buy some water proofs!

What a day!

First blog of the newly updated website. I am here writing because I need to rest my ankle after the not quite so successful dog training.

Still trying to make the field dog proof, but Kay, being keen to work is managing to find ways in to visit the sheep. Not sure the sheep appreciate the visit.