Sunday, May 19, 2013

Mother's Day Dog Trial & Picnic

It has become tradition on Mother's Day to have a dog trial at the Spencer's that is interrupted at lunch time for a lovely pot lock picnic. Everyone brings out their favorite salads and sides, to go with the BBQ tri-tip and Mother's Day cake. The long tables are set up in the barn breezeway and all the action stops so that everyone gets their fill and catches up with one another at the mid-day break.

The dog trial was really fun, as usual this year, if only Mother Nature had held off a little bit on the heat. Regardless we all had a good time even if it was hot out. The Open ran first, which is not always the case, but it was this year. We ran on lovely mixed wool sheep -- some dark faced, some white faced -- that were so appropriate for Open. They were a wonderful challenge without being overly discouraging to dog or handler. You had to work to keep them together and you had to work to pen them.

Coal ran in the Open after just coming off his layoff from the sprained ankle. I wasn't sure how he would do but I was really pleased to find out, at the post, that we were pretty much in synch. He was out of shape physically and it showed, but other than that we had a great time on the course. It was a nice run, an especially nice fetch (which I messed up, not him) and a lovely drive (when I left him alone -- duh!). The pen, we had to work hard for. The single was sort of half-baked, teetering on the edge of the ring, but I knew I was running out of dog (he was getting hot) so I took what I could get at that point. I wasn't going to push Coal any harder after doing such a good job. Our run was placed 5th out of about 17 dogs so I was very happy with that!

The pronovice dogs had the white hair sheep in sets of three. There were some really pretty runs as PN is very competitive in our area. Ryme ran late, about 4 Pm after waiting all day in the car in the heat. It was not his day. I could tell when I sent him on his outrun that he was uncomfortable with the situation. He was slow and tentative on the outrun; I stopped and whistled him out twice. I knew  right away that he was not going to run well. After a good stop at the top, the fetch got a bit precarious; he would not open his flanks turning the post or starting the driveaway, so I retired. It was not happening, the sheep and dog were hot, and it had turned into a long day. No need to prolong it. I continue to try to understand him and work with him. We will try again another day.

Thank yous to the Spencers and all of their crew so that we all could enjoy another nice day of dog trialling on really good sheep and in enjoyable company.  That's my last USBCHA trial until fall since I won't be traveling this summer to any trials out of the area. It's a bit sad for me, since Coal is running well, but there are a few RESDA trials to attend and of course lots of training to work on and sheep to take care of.

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