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I am now officially a trialer


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I took both dogs down to the Whidbey Island (WA) Classic SDT this past weekend and ran Nick in novice & ranch. It was a minor disaster, and we retired both times. At least in Ranch we made it to the turn at the post (which I did the wrong way- mixed up flanks!) before retiring. The trial is run on light hair sheep, and we work heavy wool sheep at home. Nick is a veritable freight train anyway, so we sent sheep all over creation. It didn't help that the sheep had been run for several days & were VERY course savvy, but still, we really should have been able to control them. Gotta work on slowing the dog waaaaaaay down!

 

I was feeling discouraged until I remembered that at my first jumper (horse) show, I got refused out at the first jump, riding an old reliable school horse. I had many successful years of horse shows after that, so I'm not giving up. I got into the Lacamas Valley SDT in August (Novice again), so I've got my work cut out for me. Time to pull out the waned lambs & work them- they're plenty light.

 

Besides, Hoot turned on to sheep last week, and I think he's going to make a nice stockdog. He already has more pace than Nick :rolleyes:

 

ETA: I would like to point out that Nick & I moved sheep from the exhaust to the setout one day, just because I happened to be the only one standing around with a dog. Nick walked the sheep along at a nice leisurely pace, no hurry, nothing. So he CAN move light sheep slowly... just not on the trial field!

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You have a great attitude Ben, and that alone will take you far. I'd bet most every open handler here has a disastrous first trial story. Here's mine: first trial ever, I send my dog left and he goes straight to the exhaust (over to the left). I finally get him off the exhaust and heading back up the field and he decides that straight through the middle of the sheep is the way to go, so he did. After he got behind them and they all came back together, the run wasn't so bad. But this was also at one of Steve Clendenin's novice series trials, and if you got things under control, you could continue on with the run. That doesn't happen so much anymore at trials, so I would have been right there with you with letters instead of numbers.

 

Remember that your nerves could have played a factor in Nick's speed on the trial field vs. when you were moving sheep from exhaust to set out. As horse show veterans, you'd think nerves don't really come into play because you don't feel especially nervous, but trust me, they do!

 

J.

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Ben, my first trial was near Toronto at a trial with lots of spectators; Pam wasn't the widest dog but she was nice to her sheep and never lost her sheep. We started in Novice

 

I sent her right and she took off with the squarest flank ever...wow...beautiful...until she turned the wrong way to go to the exhaust; Got her back, finally got her up to the sheep; We got our sheep and made it around the course until the pen...when I couldn't get the darn sheep in the pen I realized I was standing in the mouth of the pen.

 

i've also told her to take a flank that she wouldn't take...and than just exclaimed...well than, just take what ever direction you feel like. The judge laughed audibly!

 

Cynthia

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Even someone who has trialed a little and as "low" (Novice only) as I did, has a first trial story but not one quite so interesting as other have.

 

I was just down to Roy and Debbie Johnsons' trial (my first ever and that's where I met Julie P!) so I could watch the cattledog trial later in the day and entered the Novice class. It didn't look hard and I figured we could do it, Celt and I. Well, he spun off the pressure about three times on the outrun (he'd never been on sheep but a very few times), and we managed the lift, fetch, and wear.

 

Now, I'd never penned and never even tried penning (we had just started lessons and had two cattledog clinics under our belts) so I tried something that an earlier competitor did - I crouched down at the end of the rope (don't ask me why, it just looked "useful" when young, athletic Skip Johnson had done it to apparently good effect). Well, I wasn't young nor was I athletic - getting down was easy but getting up was not, and I thought for a very long several moments that I would not make it up, or might have to get down on my hands and knees and get up from there.

 

Needless to say, we didn't get the pen (I think the sheep were immobile being dumbfounded with amazement, and I don't mean shock and awe) but it was wonderful fun - and certainly pointed out the enormous gaps in my and my dog's training and understanding!

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BEN!! You did great!

 

Your outwork on your novice run was really good!

 

It was really fun to watch.

 

Next week is Sue's

 

I am bringing mozarella goat cheese- bring brownies.....

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Oh my....my first trial...Ben, sounds like you had a great first outing. Images of Wayne being carried away and dropped by a huge Columbian ewe after falling backwards on her after his dog plastered the sheep to him....and my dog running the sheep at me full tilt and then circling the wagons (me and sheep) at high speed refusing to stop totally disallowing me or the sheep from going anywhere.

 

Deb

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Congrats Ben and I agree with Julie that your good attitude will carry you far.

 

I'm still in the baby classes and find that about half my runs end poorly. In fact, with Kyzer, I've only gotten numbers once or twice (but I haven't trialled him all that much--maybe 5-6 trials). The fact that he placed 3rd in a biggish trial with someone else running him tells you that most of our trouble is spelled M.E. That's discouraging for me since I know he's a better dog than he appears with me handling him, but we keep plugging away.

 

At the very first trial I ever entered, Hamish did a reasonably controlled run (with a couple of errors on both our parts). When we ended, though, he took off for the exhaust pen and pushed all the sheep out in a wacky melee. The judge was generous and didn't DQ us for that--but told me I needed to get a down on the dog....

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I have a ton of respect for someone who retires and doesn't have to wait for the judge to say, "Thank you" for lack of progress, train wreck, or whatever.

 

I know a man who feels an RT is quitting and he's no quitter, so he'll hang in until he gets asked to leave the field. That's not doing his dog any good and I think it's looking at things backwards. A person who retires knows when it's beneficial to leave the field, and I say, more power to them!

 

You did well, Ben!

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Congratulations, Ben. You already have a very important skill -- a sense of humor! I hope my own is adequate, as I hope to join you as a first-timer soon, and with Juno, I can virtually guarantee there'll be a wild story. "Soon" is a loose word!

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Congratulations Ben. I admire that first walk out onto the trial field and you did it!! No matter what the results. The main thing is YOU DID IT!! (This coming from someone who insides and spine turns to jello at the thought). I agree that you have a great attitude too.

 

Thanks for sharing. It was a good read.

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I took both dogs down to the Whidbey Island (WA) Classic SDT this past weekend and ran Nick in novice & ranch. It was a minor disaster, and we retired both times. At least in Ranch we made it to the turn at the post (which I did the wrong way- mixed up flanks!) before retiring. The trial is run on light hair sheep, and we work heavy wool sheep at home. Nick is a veritable freight train anyway, so we sent sheep all over creation. It didn't help that the sheep had been run for several days & were VERY course savvy, but still, we really should have been able to control them. Gotta work on slowing the dog waaaaaaay down!

 

I was feeling discouraged until I remembered that at my first jumper (horse) show, I got refused out at the first jump, riding an old reliable school horse. I had many successful years of horse shows after that, so I'm not giving up. I got into the Lacamas Valley SDT in August (Novice again), so I've got my work cut out for me. Time to pull out the waned lambs & work them- they're plenty light.

 

Besides, Hoot turned on to sheep last week, and I think he's going to make a nice stockdog. He already has more pace than Nick :rolleyes:

 

ETA: I would like to point out that Nick & I moved sheep from the exhaust to the setout one day, just because I happened to be the only one standing around with a dog. Nick walked the sheep along at a nice leisurely pace, no hurry, nothing. So he CAN move light sheep slowly... just not on the trial field!

 

 

Ben. Don't feel so bad about it and by reading your post I would say that you're a good person and quite capable of accepting that we are not experts until we get some experience under our belts and even then, we are not experts! I don't know you personally but I was at Whidbey this past week end and I'll let you know this. Those are the most wiley sheep you will run on and have experienced pretty well everything a dog can do to them. If you give them a 2 inch hole they will be gone, for good. It wasn't just the several days they had been run at this trial that makes them have course savvy. They live there and are worked there and trialled there in other venues so give yourself a pat on the back for being wise enough to leave the post when things are uncontrollable. I was running a very young dog in P/N and he was trying to have himself a little circus day so I also left the post due to starting to get larengitis from yelling "lie down" to him. Once you hit those sheep that hard there is no forgiveness so you need to make the executive decision to walk or teach the dog to just keep on ingoring you. Your so called expert....Bob

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I'll echo Bob's remark's Ben.

 

I had a tough run with my experienced Open dog on those sheep on Sat and I too retired with the younger of my two open dogs when it was clear he either was not listening or was in over his head (that first leg of the drive Sat afternoon was a Waterloo for many a dog).

 

Both dogs and their handler came back better prepared on Sunday and at least made it around the course.

 

Trials are exactly that. You and your dog are placed in the balance and if found wanting, it's more sporting to retire, go home, and train for the next one. Easier on the stock. Better for your dog.

 

See you down the road.

 

Pearse

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Ben,

 

You saw the amazing run that I had with Nan on Sunday. Did I mention to you that was the best handling that I ever had done to get around the course? The sheep are very tough and wily. I had to be on the game or the sheep would have killed us. Thoses sheep were the bane of everyone!!

 

My dear, sweet, retired Tess...the steady trial dog...well, her first Novice run at Sue's trial. She brought them down at a speed that Seabiscuit would envy and the sheep tried to sail over the fence - all five at once. Had they succeeded they would have landed in the Judge Scott Glen's lap. He did leap up and ready to get out of the way, I might add.

 

Lucky for me, she has a great down, she took it and we slunk off the field. We did get better. Scott and I laugh about that to this day.

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Don't be too put off by an RT, I think any of us that have trialed have had many of those plus some DQ's I know I have. Trialing can be very humbling, one minute you can be having the run of your life and the next a complete and dismal faliure. Keep at it and learn from the many mistakes that will be made.

I remember at one trial I was almost called off the field because the judge thought I was swearing at my dog. What really happened was the only way to slow down my little rocket of a pro-novice dog on the drive was to say her name a half dozen times along with a lie down. I was calling Ann!, Ann!, and the judge thought I was saying damn, damn.

I think it was last year I was having a pretty decent open run with Floss, we got to the shed, I got excited called her in too fast which sent the sheep I wanted running for the exhust with Floss in hot pursuit(she really didn't want them to get away) and they sailed over the exhaust fence. I got a nice thank you along with a DQ.

If everyone had perfect runs all the time, things would be way too boring.

 

Samantha

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Bob, I scribed that run! For some reason, I didn't connect the "RMS" on the run list with you. Duh. In fact, I was the one who hollered at you (I think it was you- there were a lot of Bob's there) to say they were moving sheep back to the set out before your run.

 

I was pretty happy my dog has a good recall, too. A fair few RT dogs had to be chased down to come off the sheep.

 

I had a great time at the trial. I think the best times are after dinner visiting with folks :rolleyes:

 

Tea, I can't make it to the KPS trial- my family arrives tomorrow, staying thru next week.

 

For those who haven't read it yet, Diane's retire was spectacular :D Check out her blog... not bad for someone who's had multiple heart surgeries!

 

Thanks for sharing the stories, everyone! Despite our poor showing, I can't wait to get out on the field again!

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We, too, were outsmarted by the Whidbey Island sheep. :rolleyes: On Sunday, by the time we ran, the sheep were downright cranky and they leaned HARD on my dog on the drive away. He tried like heck to move them through that panel, but they had his number. Poor Lou. Add to that that it was raining pretty hard and that we had a lot of runs to go, I decided not to waste everyone's time and RT'ed. Sometimes, you just have to shrug and try it again another day.

 

I'm sorry that I missed your run. We'll be at Lacamas so hopefully I can see you and the adorable Nick there.

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At my first trial, first run (in Novice) we got the sheep down the field but the I couldn't get them from behind the post to the post so I could start the wear. My dog tried and tried but they wouldn't move and I stood there thinking that this was not a good experience for him for his first trial (or mine) so I retired. The judge actually scolded me and told me that "he would tell me when I should retire"! In retrospect, if I'd started walking backwards the sheep probably would have followed me but at that point neither my dog or I knew what to do so RT was the right move, I think. What that judge said to me has stuck with me, not because I think he was right (I don't think he was, in fact I know now that he's a jerk in general) but because when I know that when I feel like I should retire it probably means that I should listen to myself!

 

Congrats on getting your first runs under your belt!

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One of my students is running in his first trial this weekend, in novice-novice (with a beginner dog). The one main thing I have tried to drill into him is to be willing to leave the post and go help his dog. Getting it right is much more important than hanging in through a train wreck so you can "complete" the course, and will pay big dividends in the long run, including not creating a trialwise (I can get away with it here) dog.

 

J.

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You guys are all so great, thats why I like going to thev trials.

 

I was at Whidbey too.

 

Sweep had a a good first run- although people probably heard my lie down at the air force base.

 

But when we got to the pen- I mean in the mouth of the pen I had sheep look me in the eye and just refuse to go in.....

 

I timed out at the pen!

 

My next run was a .....hum.....imagine a tornado- a few sheep- a dog- and a clown.....sit down at a bar

 

This was my fifth trial.

 

But I had a great time, and always learn something.

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