As I write this, the county that I am in is under a tornado watch and we are getting severe thunder showers. I’m glad the trial finished early so we didn’t have to trial in this weather and that I am don’t have to drive home in it.
I was very glad to hear during the handler’s meeting that the judges were going to crack down on poor stockmanship. I was shocked that they were allowing the dogs and handlers to treat the stock like they did yesterday. Several dogs got disqualified today.
Gel’s sheep and duck runs were excellent. We finished his open titles in both classes of stock. He took first place in both sheep runs and first and second in the duck runs. I blew the first cattle run … again! The cows kept turning on us and I got nervous. We got around the course, but it wasn’t pretty. The judge wrote the comment on our score sheet: “If you had handled the stock better, your dog could have obtained more points.” Meaning, if I hadn’t been such an idiot, Gel could have done his job and we would have qualified. We did qualify in the second run so he now has his started cattle title. That means in the next trial in March, we need to get our open and advanced cattle and advanced duck and sheep titles.
I am not at all concerned about getting the sheep and duck titles. The same ducks will be used in the March trial and they worked very well. I found out that the sheep would be those from a Border Collie trial person so they will be accustomed to being worked by dogs with eye. This could spell trouble for the Aussies. The cattle are coming from a feed lot and are used to being moved by dogs on a daily basis. Hopefully they’ve been treated well by these dogs.
We got through with the trial around 2:00 and as I was driving back to the hotel, I was wondering what I would do with myself and the dogs for the afternoon. We stopped at a state forest which was on the way back to the hotel for a hike. It was gorgeous! We went down steep stairs leading to the river. They were not solid stairs, but stairs made from open metal grates. Fern fired down them like no body’s business. Gel wasn’t so sure about them. He came down the slowly, whining all the way. In her concern, Fern kept running up and down the stairs to him without any fear at all. This is the first time I’ve ever seen Gel afraid of anything. At the end of our walk, he went back up them without fear so he recovered quickly.
What a beautiful place! There was a wooden walkway long the river which lead to trails. We walked for about an hour until it started raining again. Throughout the trial it was raining and windy, but it stopped right before we finished up. Glad I had the Muck Boots and my rain gear with me.
Tomorrow we have the ranch trial, which I’m looking forward to. The weather is supposed to clear tonight so it should be a nice day.