Wednesday, September 17, 2014

US NATIONAL 2014



The Final-
The weather in Carbondale did not disappoint and Sunday brought clear skies and brilliant sunshine. Huge thanks to Bridget Strang, the Strang Family, volunteers, set out crews, judges, local committee, sponsors and all those that contributed to this year’s National. Putting on an event of this magnitude requires a tremendous amount of work and your efforts are greatly appreciated!
The Open field required a change prior to the start of the trial and as a result the scope of the final was approximately 400+ yds for the first outrun (to the right) and 250 yards for the turn back. The drive was 200 yards, cross drive 250 yards and roughly 200 yards back to the ring.The sheep were good coming in and heavy on the drive but notably freer than the last time in Carbondale. The running was tough and several teams struggled with the fetches. I walked the fetch lines for the competitors the night before and they were angled more like two cross drives. Rather than hold the sideways pressure many dogs balanced the first lot straight to the handler. Most dogs turned back well and several made the drive gates but as of the final run, no one had yet to finish the course. A highlight of the morning was watching the best shed of the day, Michael Gallagher with Cain. The high score for much of the day was 509 (out of 680).
Alasdair ran last in the afternoon and for the first time in quite a while, it felt like he was an underdog. While we were confident with Cap and Sweep on the Rambouillet, we felt Gail was the least suited for the range sheep. She is a thoughtful dog with a bit of eye that these sheep often dislike. She also has a tremendous amount of heart and try—however the run went, we knew she would give it her all.

The first outrun started wide but a quick pull in put her easily to the first lot. It was a beautiful fetch and perfect turnback. A few bobbles on the 2nd fetch but solidly through the gates and a little off line as the sheep ran to join the first group. She put the sheep around the drive with relative ease and plenty of time in the ring. The sheep flowed well at the shed and they quickly had the ribboned ones separated with 9+ minutes to pen. Gail efficiently drove the plain ones away and marched the collared ones to the mouth of the pen. The sheep broke but with patience and pressure, Gail got the only pen of the trial. It was an excellent run with 602 points-so proud of her! We bought Gail in 2013 from Andy Carnegie and are very grateful to him.
We finished the night with lots of laughs, fantastic wine & good friends. The National is more than a sheepdog competition; it is about partnership, friendships, joy, disappointment, excitement, frustration and success. It is about making memories and stories.
This year it is about a wee dog with a huge heart. —




National Day 4
Another gorgeous day in Carbondale. The rerun sheep were quite good around the course though a bit heavy late in the day and still a test at the pen.


Congrats to all those through to the Final and to Suzy Applegate, our 2014 National Nursery Champion!

 US National Days 3-4


Yesterday afternoon was sunny with a warm breeze and the sheep in Open improved notably-they were not as testing nor were they putting as much sideways pressure on the dogs on the fetch or drive away. We hoped that would hold for today but alas, not to be….
Tierney Graham had a solid run this morning in the 140’s and just about 10:00, the sheep went off-running sideways or hell bent from the top. A few taking off to bolt over fences, neither provoked nor chased! Terry Parrish,Terri Warner, Bruce Fogt and Joe Haynes were just a few to draw very difficult groups. The tough packets were hit or miss & there were still some very good runs including Michael Gallagher with Cain. Amanda and Angie Coker also had scores high enough to go through to the next round.
Alasdair had a great start with Sweepy until a standoff which resulted in an unfortunate DQ.
I drew a very high headed ewe in a packet that sealed our fate before we began. We had no chance; They were so determined Cap had to be in front of them at times-the only way to stop a sheep running full out towards a destination. He held the sheep well on the turn and drive away but after making the drive gate, they took off again. While he convinced the sheep back on line, we had forgone too many points. He shed easily but no way could we pen them. 
The run was dreadful but Cap was excellent!
He worked his heart out. It was a great effort & very proud of him. Many of you know about the health issues Cap had this year. He is healthy and we are so grateful-his first trip to the trial field in over 7 months.


While today did not go as we’d hoped, could not be happier to have my partner back!!
With a spotty internet signal could not post yesterday but want to recognize Ron Burkey who had a great run with Shadow & currently in the lead along with Alasdair & Gail on a 161! -will update as possible. Should know semi running order/qualifiers soon —
US National Day 2
The morning began brisk & sunny and the sheep’s coats were dark and wet from the overnight rain. 
Noelle Williams had a solid run to start the day in the 140’s running just prior to Jim & I.
Jim had a very good gather and solid drive away. At the drive gate rather than take my whistle, he became independent and brought the sheep back through the gate. His single minded thinking ensued and rather than fight I retired as we were not working as a team. The sheep were a challenge early on and the resulting scores were low but became better as the day continued. Stand out runs include Joe Heather Lynne Haynes, Christine Jobe and especially Alasdair w Gail, with the high score of the trial so far on a 161.
Derek Fisher ran 10 year old Jen at the end of the day and she gave her heart with a difficult group & the best shed of the trial we’ve seen so far! Especially hope these two get through to the next round.


Today’s clear skies highlighted the beautiful vistas and the sprinkling of snow on the mountain tops make the scenery even more spectacular!

US National Day I

The course is 13 minutes-400 yd. outrun, left hand drive, shed any two, pen. Prevailing weather was cool and wet with bits of sunshine as well as significant downpours. The range sheep are cross ramboulliet, even & fit with nearly every group challenging the dog at some point during the run. The field lends itself to a left hand outrun and generally the sheep apply sideways pressure on the top half of the fetch.
The yearlings are leaning on the dogs in the main and are difficult at the pen. Most every handler is having a heart stopping moment!


Stand out runs include this years Meeker champion Ron Enzeroth w Mick, Dave Imas & Terrianne Warnerr. There were several good scores in the making that ended at the pen w an unfortunate DQ including Higgy, Louanne Timmons Twa & Lori J. Perry. Rains expected to end tomorrow w much cooler temperatures. Ranch is gorgeous and the trial a very good test

Friday, July 4, 2014

New ON LINE Training Course, MacRae Way: The Outrun



We have a new ON-LINE training course, MacRae Way: The Outrun, available now. The Outrun module provides effective tools and exercises for encouraging the Outrun, extending the Outrun and instruction expressly intended for the expert trainer looking to widen an outrun.

Promo Video, THE OUTRUN


Through 90 minutes of video footage this course explores how to encourage development for a more natural outrunning dog and provides tools for dogs that need training to achieve an outrun.

We contrast both types, detailing the progression with 5 dogs. We also address how and when to introduce a spotter in preparation for a young dogs first sheepdog trial.  

We believe dogs should be committed to going to balance point and outrunning before driving in earnest and sequentially, ‘The Outrun’ module follows ‘Starting Young Dogs’.

‘Starting Young Dogs’ our is flagship offering and details our systematic  training method with an emphasis on balance point. Because our foundation training makes complex training like sorting the outrun & teaching bends/turnbacks intuitive for the dogs, we reference our training system in ‘The Outrun’ and future courses. However, all courses are valuable independent of one another.

The Outrun is available for $99 with 4 weeks of access.

All courses are being delivered on-line only and will not be available on DVD. For details on 'The Outrun' or 'Starting Young Dogs', please visit MacRae Way, ON LINE Sheepdog Training 




Thursday, March 6, 2014

Here is the SCOOP: You asked, 'What exactly is included w MacRae Way: Starting Dogs & what is the value for an experienced handler?'




Many have inquired, 'What exactly is included in MacRae Way: Starting Young Dogs & as an experienced handler, does this course have value for me?'

We have created the attached audio and text to address your questions. Thank you for listening & enjoy the journey.

Click Below Link for Audio:

MacRae Way: Starting Young Dogs, Podcast


Corresponding Text Below:

While this series obviously addresses a young dogs start on sheep it holds a greater value as well.

Our objective is to not only provide key information to enable a handler to train a young dog with a solid foundation but also provide accomplished handlers with an understanding of the philosophy of our training system.

 Our experienced dogs have great enthusiasm to
·         turn back,
·         bend, on sheep seen and unseen
·         do blind outruns
·         are positive shedders.

Not just at 3 and 4 years old but at 9, 10 & sometimes older.

For those of you unfamiliar with our open dogs you can view them on film from various years on the final day at the US National. You’ll note these characteristics with Nan, Ben, Bill, Star, Bear, Max, Cap and Sweep.
Successfully teaching these complex components is possible through our training system, which we have used effectively for a combined 40 years. 

Additionally, what we train in the round pen establishes the system that we are able to call upon in later training to address issues such as:
·         Confidence building,
·         Pulling in or pushing out the outrun
·         Holding the line on the drive,
·         Helping Dogs with difficulty holding pressure,
·         Helping dogs that wear excessively
·         Helping dogs to hold a single
and much more.


While many of the 17 dogs that appear in the 20+ hours of total footage are client dogs, dogs we have recently run and are currently competing with are also featured.

Alasdair starts Zac in this segment, and in future courses trains bends, shedding and penning with Queen and Li,

I start Nell in this course, and later introduce turnbacks and bends with Jim and Sweep, shedding and precision work with Cap and Max and we have lots of content on training dogs with ‘eye’ with Nap & Max.


The first course has 4 HRs of video footage with 6 different dogs at various stages. The dogs are markedly different in ability and temperament. 4 of the 6 pedigrees are:
Alba Lyn X Don, McClure’s Lil X Applegate’s’ Buzz, Star X Alba Cap, Ford’s Cap X Ford’s Maddy.


Detailed instruction is included on:
·         Ensuring a good start
·         Starting the outrun
·         Starting to teach flanks
·         Teaching a lie down off sheep
·         Transferring a lie down on sheep
·         Taking your dog from the round pen to the arena to the 10 acre field
·         As well as detailed discussion of our training philosophy

We include quantifiable exercises you can replicate at home and exercises that address specific problems such as:
·         Dogs not covering
·         Dogs not holding the pressure on either the left or the right
·         Dogs not achieving balance point
·         Teaching flanks for dogs inclined to wear
And more

The course is delivered via live stream video and viewable 24/7 for the duration of the subscription.  
In addition to viewing on your computer our product does support HTML 5 playback on mobile operating systems such as iOS (iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch), Android, and Windows Phone.
It is not available as DVD or as a download. 

We are extending our introductory offer through March 29 with pricing at $199 available for 8 weeks.

This production would not have been possible without the collaboration of Kristi Oikawa and advocacy of Eileen Stineman. We are grateful for their contribution and thankful for the tremendous support from the sheepdog community on this project.


Thanks for listening. Enjoy the journey.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

MacRae Way: Starting Young Dogs, An ON-LINE Training Course


For those that train young dogs or those interested in our methodology, we have a new on-line sheepdog training course!
We have  a fundamental belief that how you start your young dog and early training can have a profound impact on your dog achieving his/her full potential.
Our objective in the The MacRae Way: Starting Young Dogs module is to provide enough information to enable a handler to start a young dog as well as an understanding of the foundation & philosophy of our training system; which sets the stage for all of our more complex training. 

This course is aimed at those actively starting a young dog, those preparing to start a dog as well as handlers interested in understanding our system, which we have used successfully for a combined 40 years. 
Just as we learn from others to improve aspects of our approach we feel there are many valuable pieces of our method that can be integrated into other training systems.

This first module is our most comprehensive and sets the stage for upcoming releases. 
Our philosophy, emphasizing balance point, begins with our dogs first exposure to sheep. We are far more concerned with helping our dogs become all that she or he can be in the long term rather than a dog that peaks young. 
This begins with the foundation and our system is important to realizing a dogs full potential particularly when training on dog-broke the sheep.

Additionally what we train in the round pen establishes a system that we are able to utilize in training such as outruns, blind turn backs, bends and strong shedding skills. This will be elaborated on in future respective courses.
In the first course we show 4 HR of video footage with 6 different dogs at various stages. We include quantifiable exercises you can replicate at home. The course is delivered via live stream video and viewable 24/7 for the duration of  the subscription. It is not available as DVD or as a download. 
Our introductory offer makes this course available for 8 weeks and should you like to repurchase this course at a later date there will be a discount identified by your single sign-on.

In producing our own training courses we strive to bring you a much more complete offering with courses broken down by each aspect of training and available in a 'shopping cart' format. Future modules include instruction on: Flanks, Outrun, Drive, Shed, Bends, Turnbacks and more. 
I hope to also have Alasdair do armchair conversations on theory  and stories of legendary dogs and handlers. 

In addition to viewing on your computer our product does support HTML 5 playback on mobile operating systems such as iOS (iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch), Android, and Windows Phone.
For Our Introductory Offer and Details on our on-line training please go to our website, The MACRAE WAY: Starting Young Dogs

Our Promotional Video can be viewed, HERE as well.

Enjoy the journey!

Monday, October 14, 2013

US NATIONAL 2013...

A tremendous amount of time and effort are required to produce a trial of this magnitude. THANK YOU to the committee, co-chairs Barbara Ray & Lori Cunningham, Michelle Dobbs, all the volunteers, the set out crew and every one who made this week at Belle Grove possible. While the extreme weather conditions made executing the National much more difficult, it appeared seamless to the handlers and we greatly appreciate the hard work. Thank you also to Susan Rhoades for offering the practice field.

Congratulations to Scot Glen & Don and all those in top placings.

Neither Alasdair nor I did well in the nursery. Alasdair ran Renee Newcomb's Skye and like many dogs, retired in the first run. Nell showed glimpses of both her mother & father (Star X Alba Cap) in round 1 and made it through to round 2, but with running sheep that she could not get with I retired. We enjoy  watching the young dogs and it is a treat to see those from parts of the country we do not travel.

The highlight for me was running Max in his 10th consecutive National at 12 yrs. old. We drew a difficult ewe in the qualifying and did not make the semi but as always, Max punched above his weight. He looked more like a 6 year old than a 12 year old in this, his last National. It has been an brilliant journey. His natural ability and talent have afforded me invaluable experience. He is a tremendous partner and friend; I am so grateful and incredibly blessed.

Cap ran exceptionally well in the semi's but did not get the breaks; with a difficult ewe and a shortened clock we timed out before the single, missing the cut for the final. Alasdair and Jim suffered a similar fate but Alasdair made it through to the final with Sweep and was Reserve Champion! They had a flawless turn back, best gather, excellent drive and Sweep was very impressive and positive in the ring.

We bred Sweep in 2009. He is out of Alba Lyn (Alba Cap's litter sister) & by Don Russell's Sweep (a son of Alasdair's Sweep).
With the same complex formula in which I selected Cap (looks like my Bear :-)) I choose Sweep as a puppy. I ran him in the nurseries in 2011 National (we finished 8th) & gave him to Alasdair in Dec 2012 as I had 4 open dogs. In that short time Alasdair and Sweep have developed a remarkable partnership and they are an amazing team!
I am also very excited and proud of Peg Anderson and Spot. They had a great National finishing 4th in the Double Lift-congratulations.

Although fashion lost out to function and the weather was gloomy, the good friends and good dogs (especially the good friends who make a mean lemon drop), made for another great National!







Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Pylons and Tigers and Dares, oh My

The start of the month we loaded up the pylons and the dogs and once again dared to cross the Canadian border. This time, however, our phones were not confiscated, our rig was not searched nor our trip detained- in a word, seamless!

The clinic at Chris Jobe's had excellent weather, good people and nice dogs. Thank you Chris and all the participants for a great 4 days.

photo by Michelle Bryan (Kristi you are here in spirit!)


We had a fun visit with Stormy, nearly collected on the bets he owes us and worked a few dogs.


Stormy's young male dog & his Kate


One of the highlights of being home was the visit with Annemarie, Vergil & the Caplettes! (Brooke X Cap)


Another awesome clinic with Polly Simpson-the hostess with the most-est! Always enjoy working with the group in Wisconsin and great to have new handlers join us.
 
The WWSDA Labor Day trial field is excellent and sheep were in the main, responsive to the dogs. The shed in the final was difficult and the turn back a very good test. Huge thanks to the WWSDA and all that made the trial possible.


 
An exceptional weekend as Max had a 1st & 2nd in the qualifying, won the overall and was the only dog to get finished in the double lift final, getting 2nd place to Cap. Max will be 12 yrs. old next month and it has been nothing short of a brilliant journey. I am very blessed and incredibly grateful!

Max, photo by Michelle Guderian
 
Finally, bringing August to a close my alma mater, Clemson knocked off no. 5 ranked Georgia Saturday night-go Tigers!!
 
 
 
 
 

Monday, July 8, 2013

An Opening,,,


Gail
After a packed 6 weeks of projects, lessons, travel, judging, trialing and clinics our schedule is fairly open. Fitting this shot of Gail in the opening above was taken just this morning.

We spent two weeks of June at home & good news for Spangle; more than just the wit was cutting.

Spangle's summer haircut
We departed June 18 for Parker, Colorado. We had a great time working and visiting with Susan & Ladd Squires, always considerate and generous hosts.
The highlight was our Vancouver visitor. We worked on Rex having less wrecks! We also tackled video editing, impersonated 80’s girl band, ate sushi, drank wine and laughed endlessly.
 
Kristi's Rex
June 26th we headed to one of our favorite trials, Free to Be Classic in Mountainair, NM
 
Lurena's Bliss
This is a trial to put on your bucket list. Although we did not have great results we had an excellent time. The courses and the sheep were tremendous. Thank you again to Geri Abrams and her dedicated and talented set- out crew and all the contributors.

I judged the nursery so we ran our nursery dogs in Open ranch and each won a class. Overall Nell did capably, Li, Sweep and Cap all ran well. I ran Jim 2 of the Opens and my lack of preparation with him was evident. I entered Max the last two days and unfortunately he ran me!
There is consolation in the first dog you moved into Open, at nearly 12 years old, running as strong and fast as a dog ½ his age; just as well, as there are no prizes for it :-)

Following the trial we did a 2 day general clinic. Good people and lots of new faces; we greatly enjoyed working with the young dogs and eager students. The 3rd day was an international shedding clinic and the sheep were fantastic. We finished out the week with a tribute of  the song, ‘Who the eff is Lisa’ for Peg Anderson, 2 days of lessons, 1 day of laundry and a Sunday respite.

The next 3 weeks we will have the privilege of leasing and working the Rambouillets on the ranch. Geri has over 330 acres with every size working area imaginable. In addition to the clinics and USBCHA trials, she also hosts AKC & AHBA events. She has goats for the young dogs as well as dogged sheep for those not quite ready to work the range ewes.

The sheep and fields are an incredible opportunity for the nursery dogs

Alba Nell
as well as the 3 year olds without much experience, Jim and Gail.

 

With the same sheep the same color as the terrain, spotting them at a distance can be a challenge.
Ground & sheep identical beige?

An 850 yard outrun opportunity at every corner, training the Open dogs on fields of this scope is invaluable.


 
When not used for training, the arenas double as an excellent puppy play area. Brae & Jaff are growing like weeds! 

Brae & Jaff
My forward thinking girlfriend sent mindless novels for relaxing in the shade with the dogs in the hot afternoons (Kristi if you are reading this, books only after dedicated hours to the project of course :-)).
 
The weather here is hot during the day & cool in the mornings and evenings; varied but never subtle.


Excellent sheep, a brilliant training facility, gorgeous vistas and good Mexican food; the makings of a great summer!


Max, walking at last!