2013 Sleddin’ and Sheddin’ Sheep Dog Trial, Caldwell, Idaho

Its been one whole year since Kate and I began competing in sheepdog trials.  Last year at this time, Sleddin’ and Sheddin’ was our first ever trial, and this year we returned and had much better runs.  Last year, we only finished one of our four runs.  This year, we got pretty good scores for four out of five runs.  Its been a fun year and we’ve learned a lot.  Here’s a few pictures from this year’s trial:

Kate waiting her turn

Kate waiting her turn

Leroy the barn cat

Leroy the barn cat, eager to get pet by me

Belle the livestock guardian dog.  She has that PVC pipe hanging from her neck to discourage her from running around and playing with lambs

Belle the livestock guardian dog. She has that aluminum pipe hanging from her neck to discourage her from running around and playing with lambs (and inadvertently hurting the lambs)

Belle coming in for a pet

Belle coming in for a pet

This is Kate's 3/4 brother, Jake.  He has an amazing coat

This is Kate’s 3/4 brother, Jake. He has an amazing coat

Harper came to the trial with me, and he had some fun writhing around in the snow:

Snow, snow, snow...

Snow, snow, snow…

...snow, snow, snow...

…snow, snow, snow…

...snow, snow, snow...

…snow, snow, snow…

...Harper loves snow!

…Harper loves snow!

A Cold Cold Trip in Grizzly Gulch

My italian friend, Gian Luca, and I went backcountry skiing today…despite the fact that it was -10 F.  We started at Alta and went up Grizzly Gulch to Honeycomb Peak.  Then, we skied along just below the Emma Ridge line on the south side.  Even though it snowed two feet this past week, it still wasn’t enough snow to prevent us from hitting rocks.  So, we investigated the north side of the ridge and found the snow to be too unstable.  Leaving us to gently make our way back to the car, to live to ski another day.

Gian Luca making his way up through the frosty chill

Gian Luca making his way up through the frosty chill

Here's a shot of the avalanche we intentionally triggered with a ski cut, to determine the slop was unsafe.  This is a shot of the 2 foot tall crown (were the snow separated) with Gian Luca in the background

Here’s a picture of the avalanche we intentionally triggered with a ski cut, to determine the slope was unsafe. This is a shot of the 2 foot tall crown (were the snow separated) with Gian Luca in the background

Baby’s Second Day Skiing

We went for another family backcountry ski tour, in Albion Basin, Alta, Utah.  And, again, everyone had a lot of fun.

Enjoying our second family backcountry skiing day.  If you look closely, you can see Suicide Chute (which I skied last week) in the background, between the trees

Enjoying our second family backcountry skiing day. If you look closely, you can see Suicide Chute (which I skied last week) in the background, between the trees

Carbondale, Here We Come

Kate and I won a Nursery trial this weekend, giving us the final result we needed to qualify for the 2014 Sheepdog National Finals!  Now we don’t have to worry about qualifying, so we can spend the next nine months preparing for our second attempt at the Nursery National Finals.

National Sheepdog 2014

Baby’s First Day Skiing

Here’s some quick photo’s from the baby’s first time ever backcountry skiing.  We climbed up Albion Basin, Alta, Utah.  Everyone had a lot of fun…and no one cried.  We also shot some video, so I’ll add that once I get it compiled.

At the trailhead (Albion Basin), about to begin our big adventure

At the trailhead (Albion Basin), about to begin our big adventure

Working our way up hill, and enjoying the ride

Working our way up hill, and enjoying the ride

At the top, taking a little break before we ski down

At the top, taking a little break before we ski down

We made it back safe and sound.  Mom and baby both had a good time

We made it back safe and sound. Everyone had a good time

Chilling after skiing

Chilling after skiing

Suicide Chute, Little Cottonwood Canyon

It hasn’t snowed much, yet, this year.  Normally I’ve skied by Halloween, but its almost Thanksgiving and I’m just now getting out for my first day of the year.  There’s not much to choose from, but Suicide Chute (on the side of Mount Superior) is completely filled in…so I strapped my skis on my back and headed for the long boot pack up the chute.  I was pleasantly surprised by how good the snow was in the chute.  It was a great first day.

It was mostly cloudy today, but the sky cleared up for a shot looking up the chute

It was mostly cloudy today, but the sky cleared up for a quick shot looking up the chute

Here's a shot of Mount Superior while driving down from Alta.  Suicide Chute is the thin strip of white in the middle of photo

Here’s a shot of Mount Superior while driving down from Alta. Suicide Chute is the thin strip of white in the middle of photo (kind of angling down to the right beginning on the ridge line)

Sheep Herding Practice at Shauna’s

This weekend, I’m finally back in town, with no competitions.  So, we headed up to Shauna’s to get in some herding practice.  It was fun because Tracy and the baby came along.

You'll notice, lots of my pictures of Kate are in the sheep's watering tubs.  Because its how the dogs cool off between runs, and typically one of the few times Kate sit still long enough for me to snap her picture.  This weekend Kate was funny, because the tubs are put away for the winter...but, Kate crammed herself into this little bucket

You’ll notice, lots of my pictures of Kate are in the sheep’s watering tubs. Because its how the dogs cool off between runs, and typically one of the few times Kate sits still long enough for me to snap her picture. This weekend Kate was funny, because the tubs are put away for the winter…but, Kate crammed herself into this little bucket

She got all four legs into the bucket

She got all four legs into the bucket

After practice, we ran over to Willard Bay to let the dogs swim and play.

After practice, we ran over to Willard Bay to let the dogs swim and play.

Strang Ranch Fall Sheepdog Trial

A week has past since our trip to Virginia.  But, Kate and I are already working on qualifying for next year’s nationals.  And, we were able to get one of the two results we need at a trial in Carbondale, CO, with a second place finish, at Strang Ranch.  It was a tricky competition, since there wasn’t a lot of room on the small field, and the sheep (which were Rambouillet) were really skittish and jumpy.  However, Kate and I managed to hang on and finish the course.  Also, its good to get as much experience as possible at  Strang Ranch, because it is the location of next year’s National Finals.

We just need one more top 20% result, and then we’re qualified.

Here's some of the Rambouillet sheep after their turn of being herded was over

Here’s some of the Rambouillet sheep after their turn of being herded was over

Here's some of the sheep being exhausted (escorted off the field) after their turn was over

Here’s some of the sheep being exhausted (escorted off the field) after their turn was over

A view of Mount Sopris from the Open field at Strang Ranch

A view of Mount Sopris from the Open field at Strang Ranch

Sheepdog National Finals at Belle Grove Plantation

Kate and I have returned from our trip to Virginia, where we competed in the Sheepdog National Championships (Nursery category, dogs 3 years old and under).  Unfortunately, our run didn’t go as planned.  We couldn’t get the sheep to move.  The sheep were being stubborn and Kate and I have never encountered that, before.  So, we gave it our best, but we were eventually disqualified for “lack of progress.”  I was very proud of Kate, though; because she wouldn’t give up and she was really thinking “outside the box” trying everything from jumping up and down to running all around crazy.  She didn’t get to show everyone her skills, but she showed everyone her heart.

Oh well…it was a great experience, and we far exceeded any of our expectations just by making it to the finals.  Next year we’ll be in Nursery, again, and we’ll have a lot more experience under our belt; and the finals will be in Colorado on a field we’ve already competed on…so, our journey to make it to next year’s finals begins now.

Four of us came from Utah, to compete at the Finals.  Here's all the Utah dogs having one last play break before the Finals begin.  Kate is in the dead center, in the deeper water

Four of us came from Utah, to compete at the Finals. Here’s all the Utah dogs having one last play break before the Finals begin. Kate is in the center, in the deeper water.  Cowpasture River, Millboro, VA

Belle Grove Plantation is located in Middletown, VA.  They put up a banner welcoming the Finals

Belle Grove Plantation is located in Middletown, VA. They put up a banner welcoming the Finals

This is Kate's grandfather, Riggs, competing on the Open field.  Rural Virginia is very scenic

This is Kate’s grandfather, Riggs (who won the National Finals in 2010, the last time they were held in VA), competing on the Open field. Rural Virginia is very scenic

Kate hanging out in the grass, moments before our turn

Kate hanging out in the grass, moments before our turn to compete

Here's the entry gate for the Nursery Finals field.  It was pretty cool to walk onto the field for our first National Finals

Here’s the entry gate for the Nursery Finals field. It was pretty cool to walk onto the field for our first National Finals

My friend Diane and her dog Tess (Kate's cousin), did great by placing 15th overall.  Here they are penning the sheep on their first run

My friend Diane and her dog Tess (Kate’s cousin), did great and placed 15th overall. Here they are penning the sheep on their first run

Kate's first National Finals.  Hopefully this can be an annual tradition for us

Kate’s first National Finals. Hopefully this can be an annual tradition for us

Here we are posing for one last picture in the rain.  We had a great time and learned a lot

Here we are posing for one last picture in the rain. We had a great time and learned a lot