Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Two out of Five is...A Start

Our Nevada trip to the extremely well-run sheepdog trial in Carson City was a good one. We had a good time even though our first run again resulted in an RT. But, our second run got us a score. So, two of our so-far five runs in Open have resulted in a decent score, in two of the hardest sheepdog trials in our traveling radius.  It's not bad, or at least it's a start. I had hoped for a bit better but it could be way worse.

I had never seen so much snow on our drive to Nevada on Highway 50. Oh my! The piles of snow on the side of the road from the snow plows towered over my car by two or three times. It was beautiful but the immense acres of snow were astounding. The mountains were beautifully frosted with remaining snow. I had to keep reminding myself, this is April.  But we were extremely lucky- the weather for the trial weekend itself, was beautiful.

The trial was held on the middle of Carson City, in a residential area, on a remnant of a pasture that remains undeveloped but will probably not be that way for long. It is a flat field with beautiful views and easy access and close to all the amenities of town. The trial is so well run and ably staffed that it is a really good one to put on the calendar. The sheep used are from the Borda family locally, and they were Sierra Nevada range ewes (who I believe must be part Thoroughbred). The sheep definitely defined this trial. They were very tricky to say the least. The lift was IT. The trial runs were all about that lift and how it was carried forward into the first part of the fetch.This was an Open trial after all...but it's really a test of the dogs and the dog and handler partnership.

We had five ewes per run on a ten-minute course. On Spot's Saturday run he got out there, had trouble lifting, but got them going, then things got difficult and messy, and he seemed anxious. The sheep were carrying him offline. Before things got too bad I decided to walk. He is still learning about different types of sheep, let alone this type of sheep. I didn't want him to have a bad experience.

The second day I sent him the other direction (away). I was determined to try not to put any extra pressure or anxiety on him from me. I didn't try to show him the setout point and just walked to the post like he knew where the sheep were. I think this was more successful. We made it to the shedding ring where we timed out. I was pretty happy to get the outwork and drive completed. I kept talking to Spot when he was close enough to me, like when we were turning the post. This trialling thing is taking more of an adjustment from training, than I perhaps thought it would -- especially on the different types of sheep. We are learning as we go.

I had a great time visiting with friends, and the boys and I were treated to cozy lodgings and wonderful hospitality. And there were puppies to play with! :-)

Thanks to all who helped to run this trial, and to those who offered me such great hospitality. It is all very much appreciated! :-)

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