Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Oh, Zamora...

PN and Nursery (first) scores from Zamora

In red ink, nursery placements from first nursery class
Oh, Zamora. The Zamora trial is always a lesson in accepting what is and not trying to impose what we think something should be, over the top. The Zamora PN run was not a very good one for Spot and me. He ran out well, but pulled up a little shorter than I would like. I waited too long to whistle him over; I don't know what I was thinking but I know I let him hang out there a few milliseconds too long. Anyway his outrun was not bad at all. His lift was fine; he brought the sheep down without hesitation which was nice to see. The top of his fetch was straight but fast; I tried to stop him and he wouldn't. This was my warning flag; uh-oh. Somewhere on the first half of the fetch he did stop for me and was coming forward nicely with the four ewes when all of a sudden he flanked himself Away without me asking for it and the sheep went sideways (towards exhaust), and we were done. Those range ewes are just unforgiving of any small mistake; this was only Spot's second experience on the range sheep. It's been a while since I have run any dog on them, too.  We tried to put them back on the fetch but things went all sideways from there and we ran out of time, just barely completing our fetch. It was the fastest seven minutes of our lives. I felt like I didn't even know what hit me. Yikes. I felt disconnected from him on the run. It was disappointing to not even be able to try the drive. This is going to be my next challenge: to stay connected with my dog at trials. The last two trials I have not felt connected; it was so unlike the PN run at Hopland last November where the feeling was right. We need more experience with learning to trial with one another.

The weather was beautiful; it was a clear, cool, sunny day with none of that famed Zamora wind. The PN/Nursery folks really lucked out, for once. There were some really nice runs, better overall than many of us were expecting to see. I am glad for everyone who had a good run. I am still puzzling over what I need to do to get better focused and in connection with my dog for next time. This dog is certainly teaching me a lot.

I can remember my first time running in Open with Coal at Zamora; I was so thrilled that Coal actually ran out there on that huge hill and brought me the sheep, I almost forgot to whistle or do anything else. :-)  There was another year when Coal and I ran at Zamora, the year Alf Kyme judged, when we actually got our shed and I had my hand on the pen rope before time was called. That was a real high point for me. It is not just another trial, at Zamora. It's not just another field with sheep on it. I would like to be able to disassociate from the surroundings, and just be more in the moment when I run my dog, but it is hard to set those thoughts aside when you are standing at the post, especially at that place. I have been very, very fortunate to have run my dogs at Zamora several different times. I know there are many handlers out there who would love to give it a try.

Bill Slaven and Alf Kyme, in 2012

1 comment:

livin life said...

I think of the saying that goes something like this.....by going, you placed above those who chose to stay home! Good job!!! If it weren't such a drive...I would have come down to run my two girls in pro novice.....time and miles baby!! Especially when it comes to those finies!