Sunday, May 27, 2012

Dry Lake, Part One

Dry Lake trial field, photo courtesy Ann Daugherty
This year we entered Dry Lake having heard that it was a great trial and field to go to...having wanted to go for several years but never making it happen. Now that I've gone, I want to go back! What an incredible setting for a dog trial with a great trial committee and challenging sheep.

We ran on the first day, Friday, when the sheep -- replacement young ewes from the Gnos flock -- were really fresh. Oh my. Due to foxtails and ticks at our larger home field we've been practicing in a small field for several weeks. So the fact that Coal was able to run out for the 625 yard outrun at Dry Lake, even though he required some "help" from my whistles, made me really proud of the little guy. There were very few pens that first day and not too many neat and tidy runs. Coal and I were able to get 'round the course to the pen, where we timed out. His outrun was tentative but he got out there. We just missed the fetch gates and the first drive panel but hit the second one. We had the sheep gathered at the pen but one brockle faced high-headed ewe kept giving us trouble. We timed out having never had the sheep go ring-around-the-rosey but Coal spent quite a bit of time trying to keep that brockle face  put back with her three other friends in the mouth of the pen, or just near it. I walked off the field ecstatic that we got so far in our first incredible Dry Lake run!

The weather was also a challenge on Friday. In the morning we woke up to snow. My current dogs have never seen snow so we had to rush outside and let them have a romp in it. The flakes were falling thick and fast but luckily the whole mess melted within a few hours. I made a snowball! Fun.

Ryme runs in the snow

Coal getting snowed on

Chiefie says, "can we please get in the car and out of this wet stuff?"
Coal ran late afternoon Friday. By then, the snow had melted. But cell after cell of harsh weather kept blowing through. We had sleet, rain, hail, and more hail, lightning and thunder, and not to mention temps in the 30s. Brrr! The dark cloud formations were beautiful but ominous. Every time I'd think I could get out of my car for a while, another cell would blow through, to make me want to get back inside and watch the trial through the windshield. For Coal's run, I was fortunate that it was not actually raining or hailing. Some folks had rain and hail during their runs so thick you could not see the sheep nor dog on the field. We finished up about 6:00 PM and headed for our overnight lodging, very grateful knowing that a warm house and meal awaited.

To be continued with Part Two.

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