September 21, 2009: The Story of Little Sioux and her Hattrick
This blog is about my pint-sized 2 years and almost 7 months old speedster, Sioux. I thought I'd tell you about this wee bitch because last week she pulled off a hattrick of wins. On Wednesday she won an Open Trial at the Goyallt Trials, home of Gareth and Gwyn Davies. On Friday she won a South Wales style Trial at Hafod Bridge and on Saturday she won the National course (Open trial) at Hafod Bridge. This win was particularly exciting because Sioux's sister, Tina, won this trial a year ago. We didn't win anything big or prestigious as these are smaller, local trials but Sioux has once again surprised me.
Sioux is a pup from my top dog, Meg. I wasn't planning on running Sioux very often at trials this year as we can only run two dogs and they were going to be Meg and Jamie. When Meg got injured in June and was out for the year, Sioux came in as her replacement - and what a little treasure she has been. Six wins and 12 placings this year!!!
As an 8 week old, Sioux would escape from her pen by climbing a 5 foot gate which we thought was completely puppy proof. We couldn't figure out how she was getting out until we hid from sight and watched her claw her way up the gate, perch precariously on the top before falling to the ground on the other side. Freedom. Oddly, though, if Sioux had to climb over a step, she would sit and cry until someone helped her.
At 6 months of age, we took all of Meg's pups over to Bobby Dalziel's place to have a go on his quiet sheep. We were deciding which one or two to keep and which to sell. On looking at Sioux, Bobby said "she'd be the first one I'd sell." I never quite understood why he said that but I was a bit peeved as I liked this bitch and had decided she was the one I was keeping. She had been the one I picked at one week of age and I wasn't budging - despite what Bobby said. At 9 or 10 months of age, I tried to sell Sioux as I decided I had enough dogs already. Three times she was 'sold', only to see the deal go south. The day after each of these 'sales' fell through Sioux would do something in the training field that impressed me and I'd come in and tell Kelvin that I wasn't going to sell her afterall. The fourth time I tried to sell Sioux, the two guys who came to see her wouldn't give her the time of day. I was secretly pleased about that because I had been over to Norman MacDonald's place in the morning and he had told me not to sell her. The fifth time, the guy told me Sioux could not outrun and made some rude remark about the price I was asking. I could not sell this nice little bitch to someone who couldn't see this bitch had (and still has) a fantastic outrun, and in hindsight, the price was less than half what I should have been asking. I went home to Scotland, where we were living at the time, told Kelvin I wasn't going to sell her - ever - and the next day Sioux learnt all her whistles. Funnily enough, one day I had Sioux down in a field training on some lambs and the shepherds on the next farm, Stewart and Gwen Wallace, were gathering the hill opposite. Sioux was taking every one of Stewart's commands to his own dogs!
When Sioux was 15 months old, I started her in some trials up at Bobby Dalziel's place. She had never been on Bobby's brae (hill) before until the day before the trial. I thought I would do a wee bit of driving practice with her so up the brae she went and drove about 160 sheep almost 500 yards across the brae. She had never worked more than about 150 yards away from me before and there she was at the top of the brae driving sheep as if she had done it all her life. The next day I took a chance and started her in Bobby's trial on his left side brae - an uphill gather of about 450 yards. To my total shock, Sioux went up the brae without putting a step wrong, got her sheep, took them around the course and finished in 4th place - one place ahead of one of the guys who did not give her the time of day when she was for sale. Ironically, Bobby came over and asked who this bitch was because he had "never seen her before." We've had many a laugh about that. He swears he can't remember telling me to sell her and has since told me many times not to sell her because "she'll win trials." Yes, Bobby, you were right about that!
This year someone offered me silly money for Sioux and the answer has been and always will be no thanks. For while Sioux is not everyone's cup of tea, she is so incredibly loyal to me and honest in her work that I can not - and will not- sell her for any price. This little bitch has a huge engine, a huge heart and tremendous courage. She is fun to run at trials and she is so pleasant at home. We might never win anything big or prestigious but it doesn't matter because she has won my admiration and my heart. Heck, if she doesn't do any good from here on, Kelvin desperately wants to take her to school with him because he knows the kids will fall in love with her - and vice versa. She is a sweetheart - but a fast one!
The moral of the story for me is this: Go with your gut instincts about a dog despite what others say! ...and tease mercilessly, if you can.
Oh, the other thing about this story is, we nearly didn't have Tina because she was supposed to have been a stud pup. Thankfully, for her, she was purchased back and was the first 'Kinloch' sheepdog to win the Hafod Bridge Open National Trial. The question is: Can a Kinloch sheepdog win next year to make it a hattrick of Hafod Bridge Open National wins? That might be a tall order, but no harm in trying, right? It's a great trial with a fantastic atmosphere so we will be there - win or lose.
P.S. As a postscript to this story, Sioux did indeed win the 2010 Hafod Bridge trial just beating out her mother, Meg. A hattrick of Hafod Bridge wins for this first litter of Kinloch sheepdogs.
Sioux, Angie and their trial winnings - and look at that beautiful handmade trophy on the left!!
That one was for winning the Hafod Bridge Novice South Wales trial. What a treasure. And, No, Sioux would not look at the camera. All she ever wants to do is look at me!