Monday, October 13, 2008

Something about me

It seems as though thoughts of what I've written down in my blog has upset a select few people. Its unfortunate to say the least, as I never mean to offend anyone, and this IS my blog, not theirs. They don't have to read it. I thought about putting a disclaimer on my blog, but why? Everyone knows that this is my blog and my thoughts and opinions, not anyone else's. I may get heated at times, or very adamant about things. However, those that know me, TRULY know me, and have taken the time to get to know me, will realize that I'm not a fighter, not a mean person and really just want to laugh, smile and have everyone get along.

Its amazing that Shetland people come from all walks of life, all sorts of histories, childhoods, professions and beliefs, and yet I haven't met a Shetland person that I don't like! Its true we may differ on what the proper Shetland should look like, or feel like, but at the end of the day we are grown up enough to realize that we can agree to disagree and be friends and laugh about things not sheep related or sheep specific.

My first few years in Cardigans was pretty rough. If anything could have happened to me and my dogs, it did. I felt like the unluckiest person alive. Shows were very stressful, I couldn't relax and was always nervous (very unlike me). I wanted to get out of the breed. People were very untrusting and it seemed that I had to keep 'proving' myself to some people. The last nearly two years have been very different. I've met many great new friends at the FM Kennel Club, and through the North Star Herding Group Club. I've met interesting people at different shows (top dogs in their respective breeds, grooming next to me.....great time to listen and learn!) and the shows have been extremely casual, laid back and fun times.

I was told by a good friend of mine that I was competitive and that she wasn't like that and would never show her sheep. I was 'almost' offended as I didn't think I was competitive either! I was there for the social I loved meeting new people and talking sheep with other 'like minded' folk. And then ANOTHER shetland shepherd told me I was competitive! In the least! I just wanted to show my sheep to others, get their opinions on them and listen to what my friends had to say about them.

My first Shetland show this year brought me in the middle of the pack in both classes. While I never expected to win, I was happy to see that my conformation was close to what others were breeding for, even if the fleece type was different. The showing part was the last thing on my mind...I just wanted to talk sheep and LEARN from those who have been in the breed a lot longer than I. I ask a lot of questions, do a lot of research and try to breed to what I believe is the standard. I won't change my breeding program just because one judge one weekend doesn't necessarily like them. At the end of the day you have to be happy with what you are doing and seeing the progress that you do get.

I have only been in Shetlands now since October 2006. I've already been nominated for the NASSA board and will gladly accept it, if voted in. I've recently also been added to the BFLBA board and am happy to help where I can.

Some might think I"m too inexperienced to run for a board after only having the sheep less than two years. That might be true, however I have may years of experience with other elected offices in pigeon clubs and have been on their boards, and other elected positions. And the clubs are basically on the same structure, with the same issues. I've been raising pigeons since 1993, and have been on a board or elected positions ever since then. Fifteen years is a long time, and while I NEVER think I know it all, I'm always willing to learn and I love to ask questions. Forgive me if I've already asked you the same question twice :)

Since June of this year I had a great discussion with a fellow CWC breeder. I was always impressed with her attitude in the ring, always very competitive and truly stood behind her dogs. I respect that about her. I was just happy to be in the ring. After a little 'jesting' I told her I would be more competitive so when she DID win again, it would be worth all the more glory as she truly earned it. Since then I have noticed that both of my girls, Zoe and Ell have received all of their points.

Last fall when I started showing Zoe, she was always getting RWB. While not to complain as her 2nd day out, she was RWB on a 4 pt major, but I hadn't really 'won' anything, let alone points. It had been nearly a year since Sadie had gotten her last 3 points after her accident. I was just enjoying myself.

I guess my point with the last few paragraphs is to say, I'm more competitive now because others are, so when other's win, they deserved it even more, and when I win, I truly was giving my all and believed in my dogs and my abilities as a handler. While its fun to win, nothing would change my beliefs or goals. If I don't win today, there is tomorrow. If everyone else wants to be competitive, I'll gladly join the ranks and be competitive as well. Although I'm just as happy when someone else wins, and a gracious loser when I don't get the ribbon.

Performance events are much more mind boggling. I've been training with Sadie for two years. We never competed because I was a nervous wreck. She could tell it. At practice, it was all friends watching and offering advice on what I could change, what I should change and what was good. It was fun to see Sadie in four tries, get her three legs for her NAJ title. Two years of driving 70 miles one way for practice once a week. It was always more about watching Sadie move and how much fun she had at it. So we only have one Q out of four tries for our NA title. Big deal. We have much to learn yet and much to practice on. Sadie will be 4 in November. Four years have flown by and we have many more years ahead together.

Personal differences are almost a given, and while we may not agree on subjects, I would like to think that being competitive goes hand in hand with good sportsmanship and I do believe that we as a group (either Sheep or dogs) are quite sportsmanlike in and around the ring.

You don't have to like my dogs or sheep, or like what I say, and when I smile and say hello, I'm not doing it because I have to. Its because I want to. And we could perhaps talk about other things besides sheep or dogs, if given the opportunity, don't you think?


Cindy said...

You are who you are - I am very glad that you are a good friend, and you shouldn't have to make excuses or exceptions for anyone. Stand up for what you believe in.

And as for anyone else-first they don't have to read your blog-there isn't any law stating they should and 2nd, either agree to disagree or keep their mouths shut.

Hugs and cardigan kisses,

Sherilyn said...

I 2nd what Cindy said don't have to "prove" yourself as a friend, you are just who you are, a friendly guy that just loves what he's doing and learning, and it shows. You have improved in the ring SO much in the few years that we've known you, and I love seeing your competitive nature. You are a true joy to be around, and we love you dearly. Don't ever change because someone says you should.

I've been chastised for being "too friendly" to other people, but I could never change that, I wasn't raised to be anything but friendly and hospitable. I stood up for myself and told that person that they could just not be my friend if they thought that way, I would not change. To do so would go against everything we are taught from a young age. To this day that person has respect for me and realized that I was right.

Now, that doesn't mean that we can't be nasty, if someone has given us cause. There IS a difference! You have to believe in yourself for anyone else to believe, too.

Stand tall and are a wonderful young man!


Available sheep

With my work load continuing to pile up, and less time to spend with the sheep, I am offering the following: My entire flock of BlueFaced ...