Monday, September 1, 2014

Palm Cottage Sheepdog trial

I love the Palm Cottage Sheepdog trial held in mid July and I know this is weeks late. Fresh commercial ewes from a large flock that will test your handling style (or lack of) and your dog. The outrun, the dog has to go through a gate and do about a 525 uphill run, then take the ewe back through the gate, around the handler’s post posing as a palm tree, through panels, which the ewes had no intention of going through, pen them and again, the ewes didn’t punch their Union Card to do that and then lastly a shed which suddenly the ewes all became fast bosom buddies.  This would be my third year and Kathleen and I took the long hike down to Cottage Grove to be part of this spectacular trial.

You had to dress up in Hawaiian attire as well so we grabbed our bright shirt, packed the dogs into Kathleen new car and left on a Thursday late afternoon. She took Josh and Gael and I took Nan and Maid.  The first day, I gave them redirects to make sure they turned into the fence. Nan was leaning on her sheep and pushed them quickly through the course. We wobbled on the fetch and drive, like a drunken sailor but she made short work of the ewes in the shedding ring and we almost had the gate closed when time ran out. Maid ran the next day and she must have been talking to Nan as her fetch and drive were the same. However she got the shed and pen and held her side well.

On the third day (you got two runs over three trials), I didn't give either dog a redirect through the gate and they handled it brilliantly. Nan was better on the fetch and had a superb first leg when she was covering the heavy draw to the shade when at the last moment the sheep slipped to the other side of the panel and ran up the hill. It took us a bit for  her to caught up to the bolting ewes and our recovery took a bit so we got hit for that.  We ran out of time on the shed. Maid ran out well, then decided to push the sheep to the left and right and not hear me and as a result we ate out fetch points. I have no idea what happened. She was leaning on them and they were terrified of her so the drive was here and from but she made up for it in the shed and pen. She had to work to get them in the pen as she scared them so much. Of well, since both of my dogs did bad on the fetch and drive, it shows I need to work in that area.

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