Thursday, April 17, 2014

RESDA Slaven Trial 2014

The latest RESDA trial was at the Slaven ranch near Zamora on their home flock of commercial ewes. It was a traditional RESDA fetch course but held out in a large field. When we first arrived at the field, it was not too windy but soon after the trial course was built, the typical Zamora wind picked up for the rest of the day. Drat! But that did not squelch anyone's enthusiasm.

This year the RESDA club has not been using pre-drawn running orders, but drawing for run order out of an actual hat at the trial site that morning at the handler's meeting. This makes for an interesting time of it as you need to keep track of what number you drew and pay attention to which number dog is running so that you know when you go. For those of us addicted to little sheets of paper showing running orders, it is cold turkey at its finest! But it seems to be working. For whatever reason this change was chosen, it sure does make one think and pay attention. I for one liked the pre- drawn running orders but if that was a huge source of stress for some folks, then I am also okay with drawing out of the hat. Whatever works!

Mainly I entered my two boys to get them run time experience on the commercial ewes, and to have a chance to test our training in a trial atmosphere.   Beyond that, the number one goal is to get them stopped on the fetch! :) I am glad to report that all of the above worked out well for both Coal and Ryme.

Coal was up ninth and he started out with a fairly good run, only to find when we went to the first panel, that the sheep from the run before us were still on the field, having failed to get into the exhaust area successfully, and the judge called our run quits when the two sets of three sheep joined to make one group of six. We would have a re-run at the end of the trial. Drat! It was going pretty well and I know that reruns sometimes don't go so smoothly for some reason.

Ryme was quickly up twelfth (or at least the inbetween dogs time seemed to go fast) and he did a beautiful outrun, lift and fetch. I was really thrilled with this as the three sheep were being let out of livestock trailers, not set, and just allowed to drift until they settled (or not in some cases). Ryme has not seen this particular scenario but he handled it well. We had to make several tries to get the first panel. We were working on the second panel and had made a couple of tries at it without getting it. I noticed that his tongue was hanging out the side of his mouth. It crossed my mind what our doggie chiropractor said to me last week, (and she has said many times before) that Ryme "has the body of an old man dog" so I elected to retire. In RESDA you keep your points earned up to that exercise and it did not look like we would gain many more points. There were no chutes and only two pens for the whole trial. It was more important to me to save Ryme for another day, and let him be successful instead of running him ragged to where he might blow up. It was a good feeling to be so confident with him!

There were 20 dogs in the trial. So Coal and I ran again as number 21 and we had the first set of sheep out of the second trailer load which was nice. It was a good set of sheep who were willing to work together and work with us. One was an older ewe who was pretty compliant but there was also another ewe who was kind of a runner, which made things interesting. The third ewe was trying to decide which of the other two to buddy up with! No chute -- like everybody else -- and timed out at the pen, for fourth place in the overall which was a great way to end up the day.

Results and some photos are posted on the RESDA website.

The first place winner was far and away the best run, Rhonda and her Craig dog who won this trial also last year. Craig just handles these sheep and this trial field beautifully!

It is probably time for a Spot update (he has not run off to the circus yet) so maybe that will be the next post, or at least coming up soon.

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