Rico’s First Sheep Herding Clinic

I had been looking forward to this last weekend for a couple of months — Rico’s first sheep herding seminar in Central Oregon, near Bend. It was actually a handling seminar, so it was more about me and all I don’t know about sheep herding. Rico is such a natural!

I met Heather in Hubbard on Friday afternoon and we started our caravan drive across the Cascades.

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I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed the drive. It’s been ages since I’ve been in the mountains. It did my soul good to get above sea level and see some vistas.

It rained most of the trip, but the sun did come out. It was a pretty quick drive with only a few slow downs for construction and slow drivers. (That’s Heather in front of me.)

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We made it to Terrebonne, where our Air B&B was located, at about 5:30. Our third friend showed up about a half hour later. We gave the dogs a quick break, then headed out to dinner.

The Air B&B was fantastic! Two bedrooms with two securely fenced dog yards. It was much less expensive and so much better than a hotel. I loved that I could just open the front door and let the dogs out to potty! It was incredibly quiet and we didn’t have to live with the noise of our neighbors.

We were back at the Air B&B by about 8:00 and I was hoping for a good night’s sleep in preparation for a busy day of herding.

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I didn’t get any video or photos of Rico herding, but we spent a good deal of time in this pasture. This is my friend Heather with the instructor, and Heather’s young dog Navarre. I just LOVE Navarre.

Rico was such a good dog all weekend. I feel bad that he has so much amazing natural talent for herding and I’m no inept as a handler. There’s so much to learn about herding. I feel like I’m holding Rico back with my lack of experience.

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My friend Heather did get a couple photos of Rico and me getting ready for our turn with the sheep on Saturday.

The clinic was held on a working farm, surrounded by huge fields that we were given access to for walks and dog pottying. We spent a lot of time in these fields over Saturday and Sunday. The dogs had an absolute blast running and playing! It’s so much fun to have them in a place where they can really open up and run full speed.

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Saturday morning was rainy and really windy. It cleared up and calmed down in the afternoon and we ended the day with a sliver of sunshine.

The forecast for Sunday called for rain and wind all day. Luckily, the wind was much milder than on Saturday, but it did rain most of the day. Every good Oregonian has solid rain gear, and I’m glad I didn’t leave mine at home. They say that in Oregon, there’s no such thing as bad weather, just inappropriate gear! My rain gear got a work out at this clinic!

Rico only worked in the round pen on Saturday as the instructor wanted to work on my skills. Sunday, we moved to the larger pasture, and Rico really rose to the occasion and made me so proud! It’s so amazing to watch him work sheep. His instincts kick in and he just seems to know what to do. There’s nothing like watching a dog do what they were bred to do.

Bender really enjoyed his field runs. I’m so glad we had access to these fields so he could have some excitement this weekend too. Both boys were so good.

I loved being in that country side! It was so nice to be up at a higher altitude. The rolling hills covered with juniper trees and sage brush made me feel like I was back home. The fresh air and views were so good for me!

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We drove home past Mount Hood and even got to drive in some snow at the summit. It rained the entire way, so we didn’t get any views of the spectacular Mount Hood.

The dogs are still tired a day after we got home. Nothing better than a tired dog!

 

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