Sunday, October 9, 2011

RESDA Fall Trial 2011

The 2011 RESDA season is now history. The final trial of the season was yesterday in Boonville (Mendocino County Fairgrounds - where they also play high school football as well as host the county fair). The added touch of fun detail included the white lines and yardage numbers painted on the field from the football team and the goalpost at the end of the field. (I wonder where the other goalpost was, or did I just miss it?) Once again I felt strangely like I was in Evening Shade! The pen was intrepidly attached to one leg of the goalpost in a bit of extremely good planning by judge Joyce.

The morning started very cool and foggy and the early runs went fairly well. The sheep - commercial (mostly) whiteface ewes from the nearby Johnson Ranch - were challenging but just so. As the day wore on, the sun came out, the sheep were getting hungrier and all that green lush grass was just a bit too tempting. The runs got harder and harder for the dogs. Some dogs gripped out or couldn't lift.

Coal ran #15. By then the sheep were heavy. He tried his hardest but we timed out and didn't get chute or pen - leaving us with only a few points. The sheep continually pushed back on him and he showed a lot of courage for a dog who is not intrinsically very brave. Once time was called I really urged him on verbally as we put the sheep into the exhaust.

After 21 runs in the open and a short break for the judge, we ran the "pro-novice". There were five dogs and Rime ran #3. Last time in this arena, Rime got spooked by the tarps blowing horizontally along the fence. This time thankfully he did not seem bothered by the tarps. I also had made sure the bottom of the tarps were tied down as I helped to set up the course. I really wanted Rime to have a better experience, this time around. While he was excitable at the beginning of his run once we got to working as a team he showed some nice, more "normal" work, stopping and taking his flanks nicely. I do wonder when or if he will get past his excitable phase at the beginning of the runs though. Considering that he is never on this type of sheep though, I am happy with how he settled down mid-run.

I took my camera along but again didn't take any photos. Since no one had been hired to do the setout for this trial as is normally done in RESDA, the handlers who are able to, had to take turns moving the sheep through the pens up top and letting the sheep out of the chute for the trial runs. I volunteered for the first stint which meant that the camera stayed in the car once again. This is too bad as it was a gorgeous day with blue skies, green grass, and great dogs to watch.

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