Sunday, August 4, 2013

Ryme Updates; and Sonoma County Fair

Sonoma County Fair sheepdog trial was last weekend. I had entered both dogs but it was not a good day for us. First of all as usual it was very difficult to get in the gate. The poor woman who was working at the security point at the gate we were supposed to come through, got really unhappy with me and some of the other folks in the club. There was plenty of space for us to park inside the arena area. I don't know why it is so difficult with this issue and this event. The other fairs make it so much easier for the sheepdog handlers. Sigh. I am not sure that I will enter this one again but we'll see when the time comes. It was not a real positive way for me to begin this annual event.

Coal ran in the third position but was too sticky-eyed (I have let him slide on his compliance with commands also) and we timed out at the second panel. I think that same thing has happened to us a couple of other times at Sonoma County Fair. The second panel is up top of the arena, near the letout, as with most RESDA arena trials. It is a tough spot for a dog to let go of the pressure enough to let the sheep pass in front of them (and between the handler and dog to complete that panel). It is really tough for a dog like Coal with such strong eye.  That said, I am not making excuses, he should have given up the pressure for two seconds anyway and we might have been able to complete the course. The sheep were harder than they were at the Sonoma-Marin Fair, where we did better. They were from the same sheep provider so I am not sure of what the difference was in their behavior.

Ryme ran late and by then there had been some nicer runs (the early runs were mostly tough goes). He did OK on his outrun, began the lift, and then one ewe broke back over him to the letout. That was enough for Ryme. He just doesn't handle it when things go wrong. He drove them to the fence and held them, looking over his shoulder for me as to what to do. When a few whistles didn't convince him to go around and fetch them, I retired and we fetched them to the exhaust. Not too fun for either of us.

Ryme is going to get some time off to just do simple chores, help me feed our sheep, run in the pastures, and so forth. I still have the goal of teaching him to set out, and hold sheep for other people. We've done that a few times and will try to find more chances to practice it with willing handlers. I just think that trialling with any type of consistency is likely beyond his scope.  He'll still have plenty of work to do if he wants it.

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