This is why people come to the Sonoma Sheepdog Trial among other reasons.
This is a partial view of the hill course.....what a great, challenging course.
This looks like Susie Applegate's Buzz after the first drive panels going through the ribboned trees beginning the crossdrive.
Buzz, again, bringing them down the hill to the fetch panels.
Just another one of many challenges on the hill course. Gotta love it!
A great shot of Jean Singer with Tug waiting their turn on the hill.
Derek Fisher and Jen making the split look easy on the hill.
Amanda Milikin and Roz going around the post on the flat course.
Okay, this is a year of many "firsts." I get to about 5-7 USBCHA trials a year. I don't own a ranch. I do my own training. And, it shows. LOL But, do I have fun? ...that is the question...ya sure, you betcha!
Sonoma was a first for me. I wasn't sure what the courses were like. In fact, I didn't even know there were 2 open courses, one on rolling terrain and the other on the "hill." I didn't enter Jet because I wasn't sure how big the outruns were. I don't want to kill the old dog. Both outruns are relatively short for your information. I entered 2 yr. old Yoko in nursery and her mom, Kilt in open. How did they do? Yo did just as a puppy with not a whole lot of experience could do or be expected to do. She got around with a low 31 I think. But, that's okay. KEY WORDS: "She got around." Even closed the pen gate. Her outrun and lift were oh so nice. This was her first time seeing range sheep. On the fetch she put a bite to their fetlocks that sent them running for the set-out and it was all she could do to get them out of the trees to the post, but she did it. The irish judge (who will be doing the nationals) was oh so kind. He could have called it on the fetch but, he let her work it out and I thanked him after the run :0) My main goal was to see if she would walk into these sheep and yes, she will. Mission accomplished.
Kilt, also received a low score...something like a 38 on the hill. But, again, "She got around." Kilt needed several verbal"get outs' on the blind fetch. The judge had to tell me when they were set, so I would know when to send her. I know she punched them at the top. She feels the need to take control on introduction with range sheep. They ran for the exhaust and she had to do a lot of holding them to get them to the post, but she did. Her best part was the most difficult for everyone....the first drive panels and turn to the ribbon marked trees. She held that pressure very nicely. Quite frankly, I'm not even sure if we made the crossdrive panels or not, but it was close. She got her shed on her 2nd attempt and the pen went fairly smoothly. We got called "time' on our single.
For those of you wanting to do Sonoma let me tell you a few tips. If you stay at the Fairgrounds the price has gone up to $30/night and there is a fee for each dog. They DO take reservations. You have to get to the trial field at the break of dawn to get a parking spot. Parking is at a premium. There is no place to let your dog run. I ran open both days the next to the last on the hill and last on the flat. By Sunday when I went out with Kilt on the flat field, she was beside herself from sitting in a crate for 3 days. Long story short, I retired her. She was out of control. All go, no whoa....something along those lines.
The raffle held daily at lunchtime was way fun and I brought home lots of dogs treats and some wine for myself. So, I didn't come home emptied handed. The weather was gorgeous and the competition was fierce...some of the best I have ever run with. I met several new friends and enjoyed the whole social experience (after the long drive to get there).
More to come later....