Thursday, June 25, 2015

Ryme Has His Dogleg Day

Ryme got to run in the PN at the Point Pleasant Father's Day trial. I have not trialled him in anything but RESDA (and very sparingly there) for several years. I am not sure exactly when I put him in a PN class, last, maybe two years ago, maybe three... but Ryme has been working so well that I decided to enter him on Father's Day. He is my best ranch dog; he sorts, he has a turnback, he sheds, he does it all and is my right hand when we go out to practice with multiple dogs. I thought I'd just see how it goes for him in a trial. 

The PN course was a challenge. The outrun was moved back to sort of the normal position from the prior nursery class, but the fetch was a dogleg with two sets of panels to be completed before getting to the post. Then you drove around the post, right-hand-drive, and went to the drive panels as normal. After completing the second drive panel, you drove back through the second fetch gates  and then turned the sheep again and drove them to the (three-sided) pen. The handler stayed at the post for the whole run. It was a lot of driving.

Happy Ryme, in a picture from last year (you can tell from the green grass which we don't have this year).

With Ryme I am more worried about the outrun and lift than anything else. The rest, I thought we could do. Ryme lacks confidence, the further he gets away from me, and long outruns sometimes elicit some poor behavior on his part as a result. He is pretty good at driving although he does overflank at times. He's a good stopper (or so I thought before the trial-LOL!).  At this trial, his outrun was not bad although I had to blow a stop whistle (he slowed down for that ) and redirect him with an away whistle, which he took. He got to the top, started the lift, and then ringed the sheep which he has not done in a long time. Bummer. :( But we continued down the fetch and went on around the course...he was not stopping very well for me and it felt like cold molasses to get him to change his directions, when normally he is so pliable. As is often the case you often have only 50% of the dog you have at home, when you go to a trial. So true in this case. Ryme hung in there though, as did I. I felt like I was too loud of a handler though. But, we got the sheep penned with me at the post, on our first try.

I praised Ryme to the skies as he was a (relatively) good boy. He's had so many issues with his fears of the entire world that it was amazing to put him around a tricky PN course and come out with a score. In years past he might have run through the sheep and blown up, on any segment of the fetch or drive that overwhelmed him...but this time he stayed cool once past the lift section.Yay, Ryme! Is what one of my friends yelled after our run was over. Nice to hear that vote of confidence. Finishing a run was a confidence builder for me, as I have been RT-ing so much with Spot and timing out (and/or RTing) with Coal.

The trial was very nice and low-key. It seemed to be a great experience for most everyone who was there. In deference to the expected hot temperatures, they had moved the start time to 6 A.M. for the nursery handler's meeting and the PN followed after that. There was to be a BBQ at first, but that was postponed until another time. They did have the same awesome ice cream (and cake) that they had for Mother's Day. That ice cream (berry and vanilla) is wonderful and tastes like home made. I didn't have the cake because I am trying to stick with my gluten-free diet. But the ice cream was well worth getting up at 3 A.M. in the morning to get there. I really appreciate that the Spencers put on these trials so that we can get out there and practice in a trial setting with the less experienced dogs. The sheep worked very well and were as always very fit. The weather cooperated beautifully and it was not too hot, with a nice breeze.

The only bad part for me, was that the normally two hour drive, took almost three hours to get home (again). It was only a slightly shorter drive time than getting home on Mother's Day. Just too many cars and too much traffic on I-80. But I was glad I went, anyway.

Thanks to all who helped to put on the trial!

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