Monday, November 18, 2013

Dunnigan Fall 2013

I had a great time at the Dunnigan Hills fall 2013 trial. Two decent runs will do a lot for stoking my enthusiasm for all things sheepdog trialling. Not that I ever contemplated quitting having and working dogs...but the trial part was getting pretty depressing. No false sense of security here, knowing that we were competing on a familiar field with broke sheep...but running two courses with Coal and almost completing one and completing the other, did a lot to put a smile on my face.

The course had a dog-leg fetch that took a lot of control, and a Maltese cross replaced the shed and pen. The cross drive was long. It was a challenging course, without being completely overwhelming. The sheep were combined from two flocks but they again worked together quite well. The first day we had eleven minutes but the second day, that time was cut to ten minutes. The first day, Coal and I completed (almost) the whole thing but two sheep were in the Maltese Cross (and two were already out) when the timer went off...somewhat disappointing but I was still really pleased overall with our work and getting around the course, making all of the panels and just getting it done. The second day I let Coal motor on a lot faster than I normally would; I was determined to finish, and finish we did! Woo hoo...with a little time to spare. 

The judging was great, from a gentleman who has been a sheep and cattle man all his life -- someone that others have told me he has a way with livestock and stock dogs. 
The setout crew was tireless and efficient...with consistent sets of sheep placed for the handlers, like clock work. 

Coal and I helped a little bit with exhaust on the Pro-Novice/Nursery day, but other than that I was free to just watch and try to learn from observing the trial. The dog-leg fetch brought up some philosophical questions among the handlers that were interesting to listen to. 

I think everyone had a great time and I am very appreciative of all the hard work that others put into this trial to make it a good experience. What a nice way to end my trialling year...

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