Saturday, May 24, 2014

Mother's Day Tradition

It's become a tradition to go to the sheepdog trial at Point Pleasant Ranch, for Mothers' Day. The Spencers always put on a nice relaxed trial day, and there is a potluck and the traditional Mothers' Day cake. This year was no exception and even with a full day with a lot of entries in all the classes, the day was fun and relaxed. They offered Nursery, Pro-Novice, Open, and Novice-Novice, which is a lot for one day but they pulled it off!  We stayed until the very end so as to support those in PN and NN (and also to miss the traffic backups that inevitably occur on Sunday afternoon/evening).

The Open course was outrun-lift-fetch, left hand drive, then Maltese cross with a turn in the center, then shed any two. Coal and I ran in this class and we had a nice run with just one pilot-error mistake by me, which cost us in the placings. We just barely skimmed the second drive panel, when I thought we were right on, which was too bad. Coal was taking every command perfectly. We ended up with a score of 85 which was good enough for sixth place. The winning run was a very smooth one by Judy L and Cam, with a 91. I was very happy with our work and how good it felt, despite my boo-boo!

Ryme ran much later in the day in the Pro-Novice, and we ended up retiring. It is just not his thing to wait all day for his turn at a trial. I knew he was not confident, the way he was hesitant on his outrun and then would not take my redirect. When he started to meltdown at the top, I said thank you to the judge and was on my way up the field as fast as I could get. A couple of good lie downs later, we brought the sheep halfway down the field, then turned them over to the exhaust dog. Poor guy, sometimes his wheels just do not stay on. He's still the best ranch dog, ever... less than a week later Ryme helped us to catch a two month old Scottie lamb who needed vaccinating, and he is worth his weight in gold for the calm way that he can do practical work like that.

I wasn't sure where Coal's and my run at Mother's Day would shake out with regard to the USBCHA points. But a couple of weeks later, when the webpage was updated, I was able to see that yes indeed, Coal did get one USBCHA point for that run. It is not a big deal to get one point, but for me that is a long-term goal attained. Now on to some other stake in the ground which I have not planted yet! :) It has been a long-term goal for us, competing only with ourselves, to get USBCHA point(s) at a trial other than Dunnigan. We have earned points at Dunnigan a couple of times, but nowhere else. Now we have a point at Point Pleasant. It's a new personal achievement, which doesn't mean much, but when you are breaking down your goals into small steps, this is a step taken. I have no intentions of ever taking Coal to the Finals, as he is just not that type of dog who can transfer easily to new fields and situations. But it is a marker that people understand that means more than just saying we are improving in our work.

The days are getting hotter, and a guy just needs to cool off!
There were a couple of friends running in the Pro-Novice who have either just moved up from NN or they have moved up in the past year. So we stayed to watch them, and their runs were very good! I was so proud of them. One of these gals, as we were walking over to check the score board, told me that she routinely used to sit and drink coffee on a Sunday morning and watch the BBC's One Man and His Dog, and never dreamed that she herself would be doing that very same thing, one day. It is so cool to hear stories like this!

So, thanks once again to all who helped to make yet another year's Mothers' Day tradition.

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