Last weekend we attended the Rocky Ewe Trial in Yelm, WA.
My friend Cindy debuted Brill (our former foster Kiddo )where she ran him in Ranch.
Brill at home practicing
He did pretty darn good at his first trial. His outruns' were a wee bit off the mark because he has rarely lifted off another person outside of his home field, but his drive was a thing of perfection. I can't believe it has only been a year since Cindy adopted him - he looks incredible. What a happy little guy!
A Happy Boy
Beth had a good day at the trial too. Well, let me rephrase that. She had a good 1st run in Novice.
Her score was 57 out of 60. 1 - 1 - 0 - 1. The only notes on the score card - "Use dog more at pen" and "Nice Dog".
It was one of those runs that you dream of. Beth was first on the field that morning. I sent her away. Her outrun was a thing of beauty. I blew a whistle at the top & she dropped perfectly on balance. She bumped the sheep a little harder than I wanted on the lift, but she took her down when I blew it. The sheep came right down the field between the fetch panels - in a glorious straight line. Beth dropped at the panels. I ran to the pen, opened it up and the sheep walked right in.
I don't imagine I will never see that happen again. I didn't have to use my dog at the pen, because the sheep wanted in. They knew the drill. If I had walked Beth up, it would not have been so pretty.
Between Beth and Brynn we had 8 runs that day. Two each in Novice/Novice and two each in Ranch. To make a long story short here are the score sheets.
I retired Brynn in the first Novice/Novice run. She morphed into a lawn dart and there was no way we were going to get the pen. It was better I retired and helped her than struggled to achieve something that was not going to happen.
The first Ranch runs for both of them went better than I had hoped.
I retired Beth on the drive. We got the sheep through the first set of panels then they were off...the race began. She hooked them back to me twice and by the third time the sheep were done playing & she gripped. I turned around to the judge and said "She gripped...we are done". She told us to try and finish the course - but Beth was done for and I knew we had another chance later. I didn't want to burn her out. The objective of the day was training - not scores.
I was VERY happy with Brynn's run. Her outrun on the away side is still a bit sticky - but improving steadily. She is getting better about lifting off strange people at the top. But we are having some major problems on the fetch. It was very difficult for her to flank to the away on the fetch and we are missing our panels. (It was not just this field/sheep because she had the same problem in Idaho a couple of weeks ago too). Each run went the same way & she would not take my flanks on the fetch. Her drive had a bad start because she would not take the flanks and brought the sheep around the post the wrong direction. We had to unwind before moving on. We hit the first set of drive panels, but she hooked them back to me too soon and we missed the second set. Her pen was beautiful! All in all I pleased with her run.
The second Novice/Novice run they added one leg of the drive to make a little more exciting for us.
Here Brynn's problems on the fetch really began to stand out. Looking back, I think she was done for the day. Anything that we got from this point on was a training opportunity and I was going to treat it as such. No pressure - just learning. Her outrun was sticky and I had to kick her out twice. Her lift was nice, the fetch was crazy again and she brought me the sheep through the left handed drive panels. The drive was not happening and I wasnt going to push it, we tried then went to the pen. She lost two points at the pen because she did her little trick of diving at the back of the pen and popped the sheep out. We got them back in and were done. WHEW!
Beth did better, but the drive was dismal & I wasn't going to push them. I was happy with the way she ran in the morning. She ended up placing third for the second go around. Janet Thorpe placed first with a gorgeous run with Rainy - so peaceful, quiet and ...well, perfect.
In the second Ranch run I retired Beth. She crossed over at the top on her outrun. Her lift was nice and the fetch perfectly through the panels - then it fell apart. The sheep took off on her at the post (bolted for the exhaust) Beth made a beautiful save, but she was afraid of letting go of the control for the drive. I retired but walked with her on the drive so we ended with a good note.
Brynn's problems on the fetch exacerbated the drive. We had to unwind the post then I took all her impulsion away on the drive - she got sticky and we missed our panels. I wasn't concerned about the score & wanted to finish on a positive note & we had a nice pen.
I am VERY happy with my girls.
Brynn continues to blow me away. She is such a willing, happy dog. I feel like I learn something new from her every day.
The focus over the past month has been on driving.
Now we need to focus on the problems with the fetch. Someday it will all come together. I just hope her handler doesn't hold her back.
I have finally accepted something this last few weeks. Beth loves to work. She loves to do chores. She likes predictability & excels at 'pattern' training. Meaning she likes to anticipate the next move. You can almost see her little brain thinking "you want the sheep from this pen to that one - no problem I am on it". She wants routine - not trials.
Trials are hard on her. She doesn't care for them. And I am not going to force her to like them. So, we are going to do the winter trials this year & have fun. I do not expect she will move out of Ranch. If things suddenly improve and she seems more comfortable then it would be awesome. If not...no pressure and she can be my chore & set out dog.
Eventually retiring Beth from trials leaves me with just Brynn. Bonnie will never trial & is quite content to never work sheep again in her life. We all know Ranger's future with sheep is NOT gonna happen. So I have made a decision.
We are getting a puppy.
I have been incredibly blessed with the dogs that have come into my life through rescue. I never thought I would say this...our next puppy is not going to be a rescue.
Rescue is a gamble when you have no knowledge of the breeding. Temperament of the sire/dam, health issues (hips & eyes), health of the mother, working ability (Are they proven on livestock? Trials??). For the first time in my life I am going to purchase a puppy from a reputable breeder. Someone I know personally and trust.
I know the mother of the puppies and absolutely adore her temperament and working ability. I know the father and his working ability is more than proven. I have met other puppies from past litters of this match and love them.
The only hint I am going to give...
This is the Puppy Granddaddy. Anyone know who this is?
Who is his son? His son is the daddy.
Guess I need to figure out a new name for the blog too? How about "BCxFour + Ranger".