Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Pt Pleasant "Mother's Day" Trial 2012

The rescheduled Mother's Day trial at Pt. Pleasant happened this past Sunday. With the hay in the barn, the field was ready, only a couple of weeks late for the traditional Mother's Day. So bright and early we motored out again, still a bit weary from the RESDA trial the day prior. At Pt. Pleasant, Coal was entered in USBCHA Open, and Ryme would make his debut in the Pro-Novice class. It was supposed to be another hot day but we were blessed with relatively kind temperatures and a nice breeze all day. Whew!

Nursery ran first in the coolest part of the day. Angus put in a good round to hold up his end of the Oneforthebook team, getting a nice second place in that class with a smooth run.

Next was Open, and Coal was up mid-class. For Open we had four sheep and we were to run an outrun-lift-fetch, left hand drive, and then a Maltese Cross, shed (split two from two), and pen. I was a bit slow again and I'm kicking myself now that I didn't whistle Coal out and onward a little bit sooner and more enthusiastically on his outrun. It was on a good path, but slow and sticky near the top again. Operator error. Normally at that location I seem to attract the train to rumble by during my runs and Sunday was no exception. While we made the fetch gates and the first drive gate, the train had to come merrily whistling along as I struggled a bit to find the path for the second drive panel, and we missed it. Drat.

The Maltese was smooth, however and we moved to the shedding ring. I don't remember the shed at all but a friend came up and complimented me on the "nice shed". So I guess it was good! When sheds happen quickly I can't remember them, but I guess that means the shed was good. I had my hand on the pen when time was called. The pen was bonus points if you got there in time, since the sheep were pretty easy to pen if you opened the gate for them.

After a bountiful potluck lunch we ran the Pro-Novice class. Ryme was up and I was a bit nervous as to how he'd do. He has not had good luck lately in practice trial situations, and I really wanted to see if we could pull it off in a driving trial. I also realized that he'd never run at Spencers before and was worried that the flat field might throw him off. But fortunately Ryme rose to the occasion and went out on a nice trajectory Away from the post. When he started to come in a little too soon, I stopped him, and whistled him out. Ryme bent out beautifully and while he was a little tentative (so I whistled another Away) he kept on a nice wide path around to the top of his sheep and then stopped when asked to. Woo-hoo! I didn't try to tweak him too much on his fetch and drive; he is not ready for micro-finesse and I just wanted to get him round the course.

We missed all the gates but I didn't care. The Maltese took a second attempt but that was OK too as I am working on Ryme "recovering" from things that go wrong, and just calmly picking up where we left off and putting the scenario back together again, as he knows how to do from practice. We even got the sheep penned before running out of time. What a happy day for us! It's been over a year since I ran Ryme in a driving style trial and it felt like a true victory to get him out there successfully and get a score. We are both enthused. He has been a challenging dog to work with and has taught me a great deal about patience and gratitude. Thanks to all who helped to put on the trial as any event like this is a lot of work and we all appreciate it very  much.

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