The road into Zamora. This year was our 2nd attempt in open.
A little soggy, but here's the field. I don't think I have ever seen a prettier setting or a more challenging outrun other than Sturgis in South Dakota. Isn't it AMAZING?
The little yellow dots/stars start at the handlers post and give you an idea of the outrun. I switched to red stars when the dog should be running the ridge. See that yellow star up close to where the sheep are set. That's where most of the dogs had a tendency to drop down too tight to the sheep. Kilt was one of those dogs. She ran a beautiful outrun each day, but dropped into the swale and came in tight behind her sheep. Kilt is the type of dog that has to be way off her sheep. She scares sheep with her presence and eye.
It's difficult to send your dog to the left (Come Bye) because they have to climb to the very top of that hill and a little over it to see sheep. Some people tried it. I didn't see any successful. Many, many dogs crossed over going to the right. If they don't get on top of the ridge, you can't see them in the swales before it's too late and bing badda bing...you have a cross over. Hey, if you had a nice fetch and made the drive, you could place with a cross over. :0) NO ONE made a pen or shed in round one. They made things easier all around for day two. The time you ask? 9 minutes. Hell, it took at least 4 minutes to get the sheep down the hill. Most timed out on their drive IF they made it that far.
This is my friend, Mike. He is on the handler's post. The judge is in the truck. Mike gave Sport a verbal "Get Out" I think for reassurance, but it backfired. Sport went way wide, missed the sheep, and ended up coming around the mountains to the left of the field. No sheep for round one. I'm sure he did better on day two. The absolute best of the best didn't get to the top.....so no worries...you are in good company.
Here is the course director on the walkie talkie and Mr. Slavin, owner of the ranch, giving Mike a ride on the ATV to go look for his dog. See how bundled up Mike is? The trial was delayed 2 hrs. due to a thick layer of fog. I climbed in to the back of my truck and took a nap with Jet and Kilt. Brrrr wet cold.
Lovely, eh? Yep, Mr. Slavin and Ron Ewers were oh so kind to pull my truck out of the mud and get me back on the road after day one. Day two I parked on the pavement. But, on day one, I couldn't see anything because of the thick fog. I was lucky to find the ranch.
Look closely...you will see a couple of sheep. They were supposed to cross the creek to the exhaust. That was a daunting task. They were not happy about crossing the creek. I think I only saw 2 dogs get them across. Make that 3....Kilt put them across with her eye. haha
Actually, kind of small range ewes and really quite polite. These were not our usual western range ewes. :0)
I don't think one could ask for nicer sheep...just maybe, MORE...not THREE sheep.
This is day 2. My red truck is parked up on the road. Once bitten, twice shy.
Last year during the good weather, this field wasn't planted (across the street) and we could watch the trial from up on the hill. This year everything was planted. It was so green, it hurt your eyes.
Jet says hi to a Brigg/Buzz puppy girl. She was a bit shy, but oh so cute!
It rained from Friday afternoon all day and night and cleared up Saturday morning. I ran Kilt in a downpour. I knew I would be in trouble running on 3 sheep. Kilt and I are still a work in progress on slowing our fetch and having a thoughtful lift. She got 3/4 the way down the field and I saw her grab a heel. Bad Kilt. That range ewe said, "I've had enough of you" and she split up a side canyon. The other 2 ran to the exhaust. Wasn't much I could do. I gave her a look back and she took it, but the single was no where in sight and her other 2 were escaping. She ran for the 2. I retired. Bummer.
Day 2 we waited quite awhile for our sheep to get set (of course). Kilt was tight again after looking so pretty running the ridge. Two sheep ran to the left and the one said adios. Kilt focused on the two and fetched them down the mountain leaving the one to go to set-out. I was disappointed with her. But, it's kind of hard to correct her 600 yds. away :0) Chalk it up to experience. Water under the bridge. (pun intended)
Jet so wanted to run. Sorry Jet...I think we would have to call 911. He was pretty happy watching the action. Plus, he found people to schoomze with and tons of places to pee.
I'm loading up the truck for the 6 hr. trip home and this is what I see. "Honest Mom, I'm so sorry I screwed up. Please don't leave me in the hotel room. I get to go home, don't I?" Awwww Kilt, I'm still proud of you. You need counting lessons, but at least you got up there and behind your sheep. :0) Three's the charm and I'm looking forward to another chance with Kilt next year! I LOVE Zamora.