a blog about Kilt and her kids plus Trouble our JRT mascot.

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Sequim, Washington, United States

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Sometimes beggars can't be choosers...

Southern California has very few USBCHA trials.  But, this weekend there were TWO...So Cal and Nor Cal.  So Cal...3 hrs. 40 min. one way; Nor Cal, 5 hrs. 15 min. one way.  Not an easy sport to enjoy in this part of the country.  Good thing I like to drive! 
Nor Cal  had a grass field and a covered barn area to sit, socialize and eat.  Plus, Nor Cal had a double lift.  But, Kilt is resting from open right now.  I just wanted to get Yoko out to trial.  Her last big trial was in Wa. at Lacamas.  Since I was only attending one day, I chose So. Cal. for the lesser drive.

The field had just been plowed leaving footing to be desired.  It was HOT.  There were huge piles of large red ants, nowhere to walk your dog without stepping on goatheads (sharp stickers), and flies and bees were everywhere.  Yoko was very upset with her sore feet after pulling goatheads out of them every few feet.  She got bit by a red ant.  I got stung by a bee in my upper arm.  Ouch! Besides being on the main road (car noise), it was dusty and it was next to a stinky chicken ranch.  hahahahaha...I'm sure we were inhaling some weird strain of bird flu with the dust. Not exactly rolling green hills, eh?  So it wasn't under pristine conditions;  it was a trial. Our So Cal dogs are tough.  That either makes us just as tough or just MENTAL! 

Nice that I ran early on in 9th position, but of course for my 2nd run I ran next to last.  He who drives the longest always goes last for the 2nd run or so it seems :0)  But, that was okay.  I had friends to watch in the ranch class that went as the very last class.

Yoko had the only green patch on the place.  Here she is saying, "Is it my turn yet?"

Sorry, Yoko...Go back to sleep.

The majority of handlers who had been here for the two days of open were running their dogs to the right even though the exhaust was on the left.  To me it always seems we are running our dogs to the right at most of the trials because the exhaust is usually on the right.  I think the reason they weren't outrunning their dogs to the left is because of the fear of their dogs coming in flat and short on that side.  There was much more room to get behind on the sheep at a good distance on the right.  On the left were two haystacks and some machinery, etc.  Hey, we were on someone's plowed field.

You can see the haystacks, etc.  on the left. This photo was taken during the ranch (novice) class.  The stock trailer is the set out for ranch (novice), pretty much next to the fetch panels.  The set out for PN was back to the right near the oaks.

I chose to send Yoko left.  Fearing she might cut in, I actually took her by the collar and placed her wide at the post.  Mind you, I never do this.  But, I wanted reassurance.  LOL  I got it.  Good thing the field was fenced on that side or Yoko might have ran to the next county.  She actually ran behind all of the machinery and the haystacks and landed where she should.  But, she came on to her sheep too strong.  Yep, my mild  Yoko, came on like gang busters.  I'm sure any pro handler could handle her, but I get a bit distressed when my dogs don't listen to me.  I expect so much more of them.  She ran through her whistles and it was pretty much a train wreck.

Okay, easy sheep....a farm flock who put some pressure on the dogs to want to go back to set out or run to the exhaust.  It was day 3.  It was hot.  They were tired of playing the game. I should have retired, because I gave up on handling her.  My husband has told me in the past that when things get tough, I tend to back off instead of getting tougher.  Don't you hate that when your husband is right?  But, he is.  I haven't really lost my competitive edge, but when things first go wrong, instead of giving up,  I need to step up to the plate and HANDLE.

Round two.  I decided enough of this bullshit.  My dog can run this with her eyes closed.  HUGE crossdrive might I add.  Anywhere close to the crossdrive panels was dubbed the Bermuda Triange.  The sheep wanted no part of going near those panels.  Maybe because it was closer to the chicken barns.  Oh, and might I add, that the cross drive panels were the same color as the dirt.  I think everyone after this trial has made an appt. to see their ophthalmologist.  HAHA   It would have taken 10 min. to spray paint those panels white, but that might have been 10 min. somebody didn't have.  What do I know?

I set Yoko up to go left again.  This time I let her set herself up as I normally would do....looking straight up the field.  Outrun was beautiful.  She didn't flip behind the haystacks and crap, but kept to my side of them.  She still wasn't taking her whistles as she does at home, so I went to voice as needed.  I let her know "I meant it."  Yo has little eye, so she doesn't have a bubble, so I have to keep her distance.  I hear people say, "I don't want to yell at my dogs."  Well, no one wants to yell, but if you go out to the trial field and your keen dog continues to get the upper hand, you better go to plan B.

Anyway, I thought I had them lined up for the crossdrive and missed it.  As Mike Meredith told me as a beginner, "Suzanne, the panels are there to be made."  Yeppers, that cost us the class.  I think besides the 5 points for the missed obstacle she only lost 1 point on her drive.  I had to get on her case a few times, but when she was right I told her she was right.  And, I could see her relax when I told her in a nice voice, "There," or "good girl."   Some people timed out on the 7 min. course, but actually, the sheep moved right along with Yoko.  I think they were a little spooked by her.  Must be her white face. :0)

Ended up 2nd with an 80.  Terry Parrish who put on the trial beat us with an 82.  I don't think I put Yoko in 2nd...more like 3rd or 4th, but I'm not going to look a gift horse in the mouth, especially when they are giving $$ as prizes.

It was an uneventful trip home.  I only drank one coke and had a few peanut butter pretzels for lunch.  I paid dearly for not drinking lots of water with leg cramps that evening and all through the night.  It's just I didn't want to use the 3 day old (one only) porta potty.  Can you blame me?

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