Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Dunnigan Hills Sheepdog Trial, April 25-26, 2009

Or, Coal goes back to Zamora and we get a confidence builder!

Saturday April 25, Coal and I ran in Nursery at the Dunnigan Hills sheepdog trial in Zamora, CA. Coal and the other Nursery dogs had a chance at two runs. The Pro-Novice dogs also had a run, with a second run if their handlers wished. It was a fun and relaxed, no-frills trial. The course was beautiful on the rolling hills which are still green for now, and dotted with tiny purple and other colors of flowers. The weather cooperated beautifully with cool mornings and warm afternoons that were not too awfully windy nor too hot. The Zamora weather gods and goddesses are not normally so kind!

The sheep had taken their anti-penning pills, however, and everyone had trouble penning, especially in the morning runs. The scores showed that the lack of pens took a toll.

Coal had a beautiful first run but unfortunately, we too could not pen before the clock ran out. I'm sure we could've accomplished the pen eventually because we had the sheep under control, but that darn timer went off and we were through. We ended up with 61 points which was very good and just finishing the course was a relief. His points off were as follows:
Outrun: 2
Lift: 0
Fetch: 4
Drive: 13
Pen: 10 (time was called)

Nursery run #1 results were as follows:
Ray Coapman & Jill: 66
Ann Mock & Zac: 64
Bill Berhow & Gwen: 63
Billy & Coal: 61
I was really proud of this showing by Coal but also regretful that we did not get our pen points.

In our second run Coal's outrun was not confident so we paid the price there on points for a total of 52. The rest of the run was pretty good though.

Coal's second run points off were:
Outrun: 18 (not a crossover, just more of a keyhole than a pear!)
Lift: 2
Fetch: 6
Drive: 12
Pen: 0!!!
Oh if only we'd gotten that pen with zero points off in our first run!

Run #2 Results were:
Bill Berhow & Gwen: a blazing 85!
Ray Coapman & Jill: 69
Dave Murray & Kate: 60+
Ann Mock & Zac: 60
Billy & Coal: 52

On Sunday April 26, we were offered non-compete runs in Open at the end of the trial. The course for Open was of course longer than for Nursery/Pro-Novice, and included three sets of drive panels instead of two, for a four-legged drive on the hills. In addition, a single was required following the pen. Coal and I ran very last in the order. His beautiful outrun was back and we had a good go, got the sheep penned, and attempted the single when the clock ran out, for a total score of 64.
His points off (scored but non-competitive) were:
Outrun: 3
Lift: 0
Fetch: 4
Drive: 17
Pen: 2
Single: 10 (time was called)

Thanks to all who helped and made this trial possible!

Photos of Rime at 20 Weeks

Or is it five months?

Without a doubt, Rime is growing up and filling out. He's not as gaunt and gangly as he was just a couple of weeks ago.

I took these photos on the lunch break when Rime and I were just taking a few minutes to play during the Dunnigan Hills sheepdog trial. Coal's trial report will follow!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Rime is All of 19 Weeks

I'm not sure that 19 weeks is a proper birthday but that's where Rime is right now: somewhere inbetween four and five months and sprouting all over on a daily basis. He still has the "pirate look" with one ear up and one down (the down one occasionally stands up, so I still have hope). What will be will be -- as I'm not into fixing ears! At the vet on Saturday, Rime weighed 22 pounds, so even though he appears skin and bones in these photos, rest assured that he is being fed well on a daily basis and then some!
We're having unseasonably hot weather this week and it was just too hot to do anything after work tonight except sit on the deck and watch dogs play. The baby pool and another large tub of water got filled up so that they can cool off when they feel like it.

Bid is improving slowly with the help of acupuncture and Chinese herbs. I have to be careful with his activity level and keep it just enough to maintain his attitude but not too much to cause a further problem and delay his recovery.
Coal and I are looking forward to the Dunnigan Hills sheepdog trial this coming Saturday where he will have two runs in Nursery.

SB 250 Status

Here is the current status of SB 250:

It now goes to Appropriations. The date is not set yet. The sponsor is Sen. Florez. Keep checking SaveOurDogs for the latest news.

Other bills that people may be interested in watching and commenting on:


AB 241

Friday, April 17, 2009

Ladies and Gentlemen: Warm Up Your Fax Machines

(and open your checkbooks!)

California politics are back as a major topic on this blog.

SB 250 passed out of committee on Wednesday, unfortunately.

There is a really good writeup about what happened, here:

Once again we are sadly battling political horsetrading rather than actual content of proposed legislation.

SB 250 is going next to the Senate Appropriations Committee.

Please read the excellent write-up on Save Our Dogs...donate to PetPac…contact your individual senators about your opposition to SB250…and be ready to contact the Appropriations Committee soon.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Counting Blessings (and Sheep)

This photo of Rime is over a week old, but it's the best I can offer for now. He's more leggy and and lanky than this picture shows. Rime never stops moving so it's hard to get any decent shots of him. I will keep trying!

Our weekend did not turn out as planned. The 10-year old truck decided to quit partway and did not allow us to drive up to the Anderson Valley for the season-opener RESDA trial. We made it home (all four dogs in tow, of course) safely thanks to the AAA flatbed tow truck driver who had 35 years' experience. Thank you, George, for being so careful with your cargo!

Today we fared better. The sheep got moved from their winter home to their summer home. Coal proved himself quite useful for penning the group, and containing escaping lambs who acted like popping corn. The lambs were upset about being separated from their mothers for the ride, but it was safer than having them possibly get squished in the trailer. We're thankful that the sheep-moving project was an overall success.

A good lesson with our sheepdog trainer this afternoon rounded out the day. We worked on the trial field with a couple of sets of three Scottish Blackface ewes who were a bit of a handful. All the trialling we have been doing, especially on the range ewes, has taken a toll on Coal's obedience and pace, so we have our assignments for the next two weeks until the Dunnigan Hills trial at the end of the month.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Trip to Porterville

I found the above mural online (see the web link for more, which are really beautiful) which really captures the essence of the area we visited Sunday and Monday while traveling to the San Joaquin Valley Border Collie Association sheepdog trial in Porterville, CA. The area is surrounded by orange groves galore, which were in full glory and being harvested while we were there.

Coal had two runs in Nursery on Monday. We ended up third in the first trial. After a shaky outrun where he did not seem to see his sheep, he had a really great fetch which was difficult for many handlers and dogs to accomplish with the range ewes. We timed out on our drive. I was proud that he did not lose his sheep and that we held it together. But it would be nice to get further on the course than we have been getting the last few trips out. In our second run, he had a poor outrun (crossed over at the last second) but still managed a decent fetch and did not lose the sheep at the post turn (where the sheep would book right over the dog and spectators to the exhaust if given any slight opportunity). We started the cross drive but I retired because Coal was not listening. The range ewes really seemed to get to him, training-wise, so we have some work to do to get past it. He's not afraid of them but seems concerned (rightly so!) that they may get away. We've had three tough trials on western range ewes in a row, and I don't know about Coal but I am looking forward to a little something different in the coming weeks!

It's a long drive to Porterville but worthwhile for the mileage on the dog and learning more about trialling and handling. The field was an open cattle pasture next to a sandy shallow stream that was great for the dogs to cool off in. The SJVBCA has been putting on a spring driving trial near Porterville for the past 26 years. The beautiful trophy for Open at Sunday's awards contained the names of many great dogs who have trialled in California, including Rime's great-grandfather.
Our next trial (this coming Saturday) will open the 2009 RESDA season.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

April Fools Dogs

This post is an April Fools' grab bag of this's-and-thats!
First, here is a link to a really great video that promotes the 2009 USBCHA National Finals, to be held in September in Klamath Falls! It is really well done and worth a look. We hope to be there this year!
Second, we are crossing fingers that Bid's improvement continues after his back injury more than 10 weeks ago in a freak swimming accident. He's had three acupuncture treatments and continues on daily doses of Chinese herbs. The holistic DVMs have allowed him to return to just a tiny bit of light sheepdog work to fool him into thinking he's helping out, in order to improve his mental attitude. All of it must be helping because he looks much better. I'm so pleased with his progress and here are photos of him showing the return of a level topline (instead of a poorly bred GSD)...I am very grateful to his traditional DVM, his chiropractor, and the holistic vets as well who have worked to get him better.

Last, just some backyard photos of the dogs doing their thing in the evening after a long day at work for me. Here is Rime doing his best impression of a jump ball, but with a bone that he has stolen off the porch railing:


Rime some more:

And last but not least, Coal. We'll all be traveling to Porterville this weekend for the San Joaquin spring driving trial where Coal will have two Nursery runs.