After several days of drummin', bagpipes, cannons, pistol firing, and firecrackers our dogs are so happy to be back at home. The canines as much as the humans love coming back to home. The Pleasanton Scottish games are huge. We met some new people, and saw lots of old friends that we don't get to see that much since Pleasanton is 5 1/2 hrs. north of Green Valley.
I may have to blog the games in segments. There was lots going on. I ran Yoko in intermediate and Jet and Kilt in advanced. Each dog got to run twice each day. They gave individual class awards and gave $$$ to the top combined high awards of both runs each day. At the end of the trial they gave a belt buckle for CH. and reserve CH. intermediate and CH. and reserve CH. advanced. I think I might have been third in the standings for intermediate and advanced belt buckles (darn it all), but I came home with a good deal of $$$.
This is a time and point trial. But, lots of finesse was needed on certain obstacles. If you thought you were going to speed through the course, think again. Slow and steady was the name of the game. There were 6 obstacles...#1) the fetch (advanced had to serpentine around cones on the fetch) #2) solid metal rack with sides that made a huge amount of noise as the sheep went through, #3) L- shaped panels where the sheep could squirt out of easily if your dog didn't apply the necessary pressure, #4) Y-chute "bridge" that was in the middle of the arena (that killed me) because advanced couldn't leave the post and the St. Croix's were pretty crafty about going around the bridge, #5) a maltese cross, and #6) a stock trailer to load in. All obstacles had to be made before continuing on. After you finished an obstacle the judge would yell "Clear."
Overall, my dogs did well. I was more disappointed with my handling than I was with my dogs.
If you want to see where the holes are in your training, this was the perfect trial to find them. Arena trials are way more PRESSURE than field trials. Plus, Sunday, the stands were packed and people were standing shoulder to shoulder all the way around the arena. That added some new pressures on the sheep, too. Plus, the arena ceiling is low making it a bit claustrophobic. On top of that the bag piper's and drumming were close to the arena if not next to the arena at times. If you were unlucky (as it seems I always am) they would start playing loudly as soon as you sent your dog from the post. hahaha. My luck. On one run, I was asked to bring Kilt to the judge's stand because they knew they were going to be shooting cannons at 4 pm. Of course, I went to the post at 3:55. They asked me if I would like to wait it out. Heck no....go for the gold. I had the right dog. When Kilt is on her sheep, no cannon firing is going to interfere with her work. The announcer told the audience, "Suzanne and Kilt are going for it." Sad to say I would have come home a few hundred more in my pocket if (Sorry Kilt)...my last run of 12 runs and I took her through the maltese cross the WRONG way. Ahhhhh! Hey, they changed up the cross as to which direction you were to go through with each class so by the end of Sunday, my brain shorted out. Too bad....Kilt would have beat Jet. I love that bitch and I don't do her any justice. Oh well...it's not like she hasn't let me down a few times....now we are even.
Jet was his fabulous self and on the muscle. The St. Croix's got crafty on Sunday and would face down the dogs or run to the exhaust and jump the fence. If yours jumped the fence that was the end of your run. Jet figured out his sheep immediately. Kilt worked her heart out for me. Yoko by Sunday afternoon was fried, dried, and laid aside. I have yet to go through my photos and may blog on each dog individually in the days to come.
Thank goodness, we are home. Home Sweet Home!