Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Point Pleasant Fall Sheepdog Trial 2010

Last Friday and Saturday Coal and I ran in the Open at the Pt. Pleasant Sheepdog trial near Elk Grove, CA. We lucked out with good weather both days even though rain had been predicted. It was only our second outing in competitive Open and the first time in Open since last April, so I was viewing the whole thing more as a practice/warmup rather than anything else. We had a really good time; the sheep were fit, the courses challenging (including a Maltese Cross instead of a pen), the company oustanding, and the dog work, of course, excellent.

Both days Coal's outrun was lacking since he has not been trained to run out through a gate in a fence, and/or do what I am calling for better or worse, a "keyhole" outrun. On Friday we ran late in the afternoon, and his lift and fetch were off line but the drive was pretty good. A split of sheep in the shedding ring was not pretty but performed well enough to move on. We timed out trying to complete the Maltese Cross but I was happy overall with Coal's purposeful, forward attitude throughout the run.

On Saturday we were up second in the early morning. The first run ended in RT because the sheep were beating up on the working dog, which was not something to give me confidence! Our sheep packet worked OK although clearly the sheep were behaving differently for everyone on Saturday versus Friday. Coal's outrun was not great but the lift and fetch were much better  than Friday's. Our drive, though, was very poor and we deservedly lost almost all of the drive points. We ended on a good note; completing the Maltese Cross assignment, but then we timed out before getting to attempt the single.

Thanks to the Spencers for putting on the trial and to everyone else who helped make the event happen.

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