Friday, October 25, 2013

Great Workday!

We were fortunate to go to a fantastic workday up in Mendocino County last weekend. Sponsored by RESDA and the ranch owner, we were treated to a 100 acre field to work in, as well as a 6 acre field, and as many lovely fresh Dorper lambs and yearlings as we wanted to have sorted out for us. The pastures were lovely hayed fields, with trees and a ditch providing some terrain to an otherwise level landscape. I felt like I was on a true holiday for the day! It was so nice to break out of the routine.

Coal worked well and I was so pleased. It was a great way to lead up to the two trials that we are entered in. To be able to stretch him out on the big field was surely a gift for which I am very grateful!

First we did a long outrun with the sheep held for us. Coal ran out well and found the sheep with no problem. The lambs were getting hot and hard to move so after our fetch I decided to quit trying to drive them and just practiced some flanks.

Coal also spotted sheep for a friend's young dog in the 6-acre pasture, to help get her used to picking up sheep off of a stock handler. The young dog is coming along, almost three, and finding her way in things. Super to see!

Later we decided to set up a double lift scenario for another handler and I wanted to do that, too. First the other handler, who is much more experienced, showed us how it was done. We had enough friends with working dogs to have two packets of sheep held for us in opposite corners of the 100 acre pasture. Such luxury! My friend's dog nailed the double gather (she has done them in competition before) and treated us to a fabulous display of working dog and handler partnership.

The stock handlers were not too tired to hold sheep again so after the group was split back into two groups, they were taken out to their respective spots to be held for Coal and me. I can't even say how fun this was because I was on Cloud 9 the whole time.

Coal was really focused on packet of sheep #2; unfortunately they were spotted in the exact place where he had done his morning outrun. He did not see packet of sheep #1 off to our left. But with some help and whistles and stop and re-sends, he got out there, which I took as a great chance to show him that he can believe me when I send him somewhere for sheep. The turnback was done with a couple of whistles and the second packet fetched into home base with no issues. This was only the third time that Coal has had this scenario "set up" for him with two stock handlers and the whole bit. To say I was very pleased was an understatement.

Everyone else seemed to get in good work with their dogs and accomplish much of what they came to the work day to do. The ranch hostess provided us with ideal scenarios in which to work our dogs and one could not possibly ask for anything more! It was just fabulous and I am hoping we get to go there and work again. I feel very fortunate that I've had a couple of other chances as well, to stretch Coal out and work with him prior to the two trials that we are entered in.

As for the other dogs, I've been working Ryme as if he were going to trial, even though he is not (at least for now). If I don't then his work starts to fall apart. Spot's training sessions have kind of gone on hold although I have worked with him a couple of times per week, lately. I think once these trials are over then I will start anew with Spot.

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