Wednesday, November 5, 2014

A Short Trial Season

October was our trialling month, I guess, for Fall 2014. It was a very short trialling season for us. Traveling out of the area for trials just isn't happening for me, right now, and with no Hopland, that left only two trials for us to go to.

The new Patrick Ranch trial in Durham, CA was very well organized, just an all-around nice trial. Held on the grounds of the Patrick Ranch museum, there was a fall celebration and a fiber festival all happening at the same venue on that weekend. There were lots of interested spectators enjoying the sheepdogs along with their hayrack rides, pumpkins and viewing the fiber arts.  The outrun was not huge but the trial was not about the outrun. It was about everything else, mainly the sheep, who were crossbred older lambs/ younger yearlings from a grazing outfit and they had little to nothing to do with obeying a dog who wanted to move them about. The second day went better but the first day was pretty hard, for most of the dogs. Coal and I retired on the first day, unable to get the sheep around the post. The second day, we did better and actually started around the course, until I made a stupid handler error and drove the fetch panels instead of the crossdrive panels. Bucket list, check! I wasn't feeling very well over that weekend and my focus was nonexistent, apparently. Not enough sleep, working too hard, and getting two vaccines at the doctor the day before leaving for the trial, made for a very unfit handler. Anyway I have nothing but good to say about this trial, and I am so glad that NCWSA is getting back into doing open USBCHA type trials. I know it was a ton of work and I was wowed by all the many hands who were helping. I hope I can help more, next time.

Spencer's Point Pleasant fall trial was up next, for us. Michael Shearer, current winner of the World Trial in Scotland, was our judge. He and his wife are so nice and we have all enjoyed them on their prior trips to the area. Coal and I did better at this trial, and we got around the course in both of our runs. That was a huge confidence builder even if we didn't place up very high on the list. Coal and I both made our mistakes but it felt good to get out there and do a full course.  This trial is always well-run and this year was no exception with no detail left undone. The Pt Pleasant fall trial usually has the dogs running out through a gate on the outrun, which we had practiced ahead of time. I was really happy that Coal took his direction out the gate as we had done at home, and also that we got our sheds on both runs.

Big thank yous go out to both venues for all the hard work that goes into putting on a trial for our enjoyment!

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