I should have MUD mats coming today by Fed Ex. I purchased 1/2 inch mud mats with holes for draining the wet, for the dogs to lie on (outside) in their kennels. I also have the coolaroos to keep them off the cold pavers, but sometimes they like to lie on the ground. Hopefully, the rubber mats will work out well for the wet weather.
I just got back from a fall trial down south in Poway. I had such a good time. I took Kilt and Yoko. Our scores were low on day one and Kilt was an idiot on day two, but Yoko, in her first open trial, took a fifth place and brought home a check. She might have even gotten a point towards the finals. Will wonders ever cease? LOL She tried really hard for me, both days. It was a very tricky outrun up on a hill with boulders and tall sage brush. The dogs would lose sight of their sheep. The set-out and exhaust draw for the farm flock were like large magnets to them. Your dog had to do some fast covering, but if your dog flanked too far off, got lost in the brush, they would lose their sheep.
It was a dog leg fetch meaning the fetch was not straight on to the handler's post. The first drive was 200 yds. The cross drive was difficult because it had one panel and some cement round thing stuck in the ground for the other panel. Plus, they had a collared (single) for the shed. The pen was permanently open. You had to pen the sheep while the dog covered the opening while you walked in and took the collar off the single. Way fun.
I carry a photo of my son and grandson in my camper.
I never ask who the judge is....personally, I don't really care. I am there just to have fun with my dogs and if I get the added bonus of placing, Yahoo! That way, I never put stress on myself. Though, I did put stress on Yoko the first day. She was first up on day one and lost her sheep to the handler's post (regained control) after she stopped to sniff something on the ground. When Yo is upset, she likes to take herself out of equation, and sometimes she will sniff. No, not a pretty sight for a Border Collie, but that's Yoko. If I yell at her, she gets stressed. Sometimes she can't even remember her flanks. So, I learned at this trial....be quieter, Suzanne. I only needed one "Hey" on the fetch with some fast come bye whistles so she didn't lose her sheep. The rest was calm and controlled on day two. I was lucky to have a collared sheep that wanted to be the single for Yoko, so that worked out nicely. I rushed the pen and lost some points. I need a watch. I now really know that. Anyway, the competition was fierce, but little Yoko pulled off a placement. :0)
The 200 yd. drive from the post.
The dogs would hit this fence on the left (Come bye) outrun and they really needed to do a 90 degree turn at the fence. If you hadn't trained for this, the trajectory was to cross over. You had to blow a down whistle, look back and redirect in order to not crossover. The handlers that train here made it look easy. Several others came down weeks early to practice.
Yoko and Kilt had never seen the field before. But, both are good in different terrains.
If you sent to the right, you would run into ditches, culverts, and the set out sheep. From set out you couldn't see the "set" sheep. It was very blind and tricky. Not many attempted it.
The terrain was a bit rough you could say.
I'm walking the outrun to the right to see if it was feasible. I sent to the left both days.
The field was filled with "leg-breaker" holes. Our So Cal dogs aren't no stinkin' pansy collies. Geez.....when we get to run on green grass, it is a luxury!
Now Kilt.......I still can not get this bitch to stop at the top at a trial. So she brings the sheep like ball busters towards me. Once I get to the post, she is fun to drive for the most part. On day one, she actually took a stop before crossing over on the outrun, did a fab look back and redirect. I was so proud of her, but the time we hit the shed ring I had laryngitis. You get the picture. On day two, I asked for a down, didn't get it and ran to her. We had a bit of a talk, I guess you would say. I love this dog; but, I'm just not the right handler for her at trials. She is way too clever and independent for me. She is a team player with me at home and on the ranch. But, she wants to call the shots at the trials. I will take her to Porterville with me, because she doesn't need a stop at the top on the range ewes. Hahaha
The shed ring was made up of pumpkins for the perimeter. Since the sheep grazed at night the pumpkins had to be put in the pen for safe keeping. Sheep love pumpkins.
The girls have found perfect hideaways in the van. Kilt on the left and Yoko on the right.
And, the coolest thing about the trial other than social fun and good weather, was that my Grandson came Friday night and had dinner with me. I almost forgot he was stationed in San Diego (arriving just a week ago) so on the way down I gave him a call knowing that I would be less than 30 min. from him. Thankfully, he got off work at 3 ish and was to the trial site by 5 ish. It was still light and he walked the trial course with me giving me his input. I always respect his input even though he doesn't trial. He just GETS it. He has always been animal savvy if you know what I mean. Yoko about had heart failure (Kilt, too) to see him again. One sniff and they were all over him.
Anyway, we had dinner and chit chatted about this and that. I was sad to see him leave, but he had work in the morning at Balboa Hospital. He is a Navy Hospital Corpsman. It was fun swapping a few hospital stories, too. I was so glad just to have the chance to see him. Honest, it made my whole trip.
Me and Dustin sharing a beer and walking the course.
Yoko in seventh heaven that she got to see Dustin.
As we were walking through gates to go out to the field, this big ol' gnarly Dorper ram hit Dustin unexpectedly in the backside. He laughed it off. It would have killed me!
I couldn't stay for Sunday (pro-novice classes and novice) since I had to work, but it was an awesome trip. My camper van was purrfect. In fact, I was lucky and got to hook up to electricity. We were all so comfortable. Kicking back at night with music, a good book, and my collies. That's my idea of the perfect weekend. :0) Yoko's placement and my grandson were the icing on the cake :0)
Kilt is saying, "I don't know what all the fuss is about YOKO. She learned everything from me!"