Tuesday, April 20, 2021

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Photos from Training

We were lucky to be able to train in a big field on nice young sheep, a couple of weeks ago. And even more lucky, that our friend Lynn J. has a nice camera and took lots of good pictures. :-)

Spot and I were holding sheep for outruns for everybody else, and Cap and I were able to run a pro-novice course for practice. 

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Fido's Farm Sheepdog Trial March 26-28, 2021

Our first trip over the Cascades to Fido's Farm was an enjoyable success. We met up with Barb and had a great time. Cap had three runs in PN and Spot had two runs in Open.

A plate found on the fence at Fido's Farm :-)

Tailgatin' and checking scores

Spot in the open, photo credit Lisa Charaba

Spot in the open, photo credit Lisa Charaba

Cap had two decent runs and one retire. Spot had one run with a score and one retire. The sheep are lovely consistent North Country Cheviots. For no more than we are able to train, I was happy. Fido's is a very good place to go, to test your training. It is a supportive atmosphere and a unique place that put me in mind of the old Willowside ranch in Pescadero. We will be back. :-)

Friday, November 6, 2020

AHBA Ranch Trial at Moon Creek, 11-1-2020

Sunday's AHBA trial at Moon Creek was a challenging HRD (Herding Ranch Dog) course that we had dreamed up a few months back. Someone noted that it contained the favorite exercises of everyone involved on the informal trial committee, so it turned out to be a long and epic course! The course ended up being much more flowing and fun to run than I was able to imagine, at first. 

The first exercise was to go into the empty take pen with your dog, and move a set of ten sheep down into the take pen. And then move the next set down, and so forth, for three sets. The fourth set was waiting in the eventual exhaust pen, and these were to be moved through the back of the setout pens, to the fourth setout pen.  This was very practical pen work that went very well. It made for a self-setting course, so that none of us had to work in the pens, either!  After exiting the back pen area, the dog and handler performed a take pen. Following this was a gather in the larger arena, with sheep set on a grain pan, a drive through a corner obstacle, and then moving sheep safely through the gate into the adjoining smaller arena. In the smaller arena, we had to take a prescribed figure-8 path around two panels, drive another corner panel, and then take the sheep back out to the larger arena, and then out to the larger field. In the larger field we did a lane drive along the fence line in a marked corridor, then back into the large arena to work through the last set of exercises. Next was a free-standing pen, a gate sort of five sheep from the ten, move the five remaining sheep back out to the initial grain pan used for the gather, and then back to repen. Safety first was the name of the game on all of the gates; the dogs were required to hold sheep off the gates for us at every entrance and exit.

For the first run (which was Cap and me) we started with 20 minutes allowed, but when Cap finished in just under 20 minutes, the course time was extended to 25, for the Level III dogs. Cap performed beautifully throughout the whole run, until the very last bit, when he ran into the exhaust pen with the sheep. Yikes! But other than that he was very smooth and flowy, and such a pleasure to work with. It was truly a fun run. Cap got 89 points out of 100 for second place.

Spot put in another very consistent run. He was not quite as smooth as Cap, but still very nice, and fun to run. Spot's score was 88 points out of 100, for third place, with the tie broken on time. Spot made me really happy with all three runs over the weekend, plus spotting sheep. He just did not put a foot wrong, and he seems to be feeling really good!

The long course was a bit of a struggle for Ryme, and for me. But, he tried super hard and qualified with 80 points out of 100 for his score. At almost 12 years old, Ryme is not so willing to stop and when he does it is not precise, nor is it lying down! His flanks are not so good either and keeping a flowing run going was more of a challenge for me. After his beautiful HTAD run the day before, perhaps he was just a bit tired. He seemed a bit like he was afraid he would lose the sheep which he never did. Anyway he did us all proud and turned in a very nice run. 

Cap on the fetch bringing the ten sheep to me at the post.

Cap driving ten sheep through the corner obstacle.

Ryme working with me on the figure-8 exercise.

No, I am not asleep but I admit three runs is a lot of walking! Coal enjoys the Vitamin D!

Beautiful Moon Creek, and social distancing observed by all.

I'm super grateful to have this chance to run the dogs in a trial and to have fun in a positive atmosphere. And so nice to forget about "things" at least for a few days. I'm pretty sure that both Cap and Spot completed HRD III and HTAD III titles with these classes. I'm not focused on titles, but it is nice to know. I counted up all their saved scoresheets after we got home, and realized that Ryme has nine HTCH points in AHBA; the HTCH was never a goal for Ryme but it is too bad he probably won't get the tenth point, but he doesn't know or care about it. I know he did a super job as did the other boys. I'm hopeful that we can collaborate on some more nice AHBA trials at Moon Creek, in 2021.

Tuesday, November 3, 2020

AHBA Trial at Moon Creek, 10-31-2020

On Saturday, we returned to Moon Creek, for an AHBA trial. The first class was the HTD class, in which Spot and I were spotting sheep for folks in that trial. HTD is like a small Pro-Novice course, and there was a ribbon pull (instead of a shed) for Level III. Spot did a nice consistent job of setting, and enjoyed himself immensely! There were only ten dogs in the class so it was a nice amount of work for him. View from the top: 

Following the HTD class, we all ran in the HTAD (arena course #4) class. It was so fun for me, to run all three of my dogs. Ryme had a great run, and it felt floaty and connected the whole way around. He was tied for first place and lost the tie due to a slower time, so he ended up with second place. Ryme will be 12 years old in a month, so this was extra special for him to accomplish! Spot had another consistent go for fourth place. Cap was a little bit too wheee! but we managed to qualify anyway. Tons of fun...nice constructive and supportive atmosphere, in a beautiful location. Photos to follow are all by Lynn J. 

We really appreciate the chance to run in some trials and all of the work involved to make them happen! Moon Creek is a beautiful venue in the northeast corner of Washington.