Well, we blew the Ranch Trial. I think we were both tired and certainly not on our game. The draws were very, very strong and quite frankly, I’m not sure how we could have kept the sheep from escaping when they did. The judge said that Gel’s work in the chute was adequate, but not great. I beg to differ on that assumption. Gel kept the sheep going in the chute as quickly as they needed to go. I was having difficulty operating it. If he had pushed them any harder, they would have been stacking up, which I would not have wanted.
We lost points in the pasture work as well. The terrain was rough so there was a lot of zig-zagging going on. The sheep kept trying to turn back. When they did turn back, they bolted. He stopped them, but we lost control points. When we got to the top, a horse that was being kept confined behind four cattle panels was going bananas. That drew Gel’s attention and the sheep bolted again.
Oh well, I would have liked for us to have done well, but it wasn’t meant to be. We ended up high combined started dog and high combined for the entire trial by over 50 points. That’s not too shabby an outcome. In preparation for the next trial, I plan to spend some time around cattle to try to figure out what makes them tick.
Here’s a video of one open duck run. Certainly not the better of the two runs. This was the first time I’ve ever put ducks through an obstacle like the Y chute in the middle of the arena. It was much better in the second run when I stood back and let Gel do the work. The ducks flew like they did after the second obstacle for every dog. It was very windy and they were frisky. It is not abnormal for ducks to try to fly in windy weather.
Here’s a video of our first open sheep run. Again, not our best run, but we qualified. The sheep did not want to go into that far corner. The one other BC entered couldn’t get them in the corner and ended up gripping and disqualifying. Like the ducks, we had difficulty getting them into the Y chute in the middle. We did better in our second open run. I discussed our runs with my instructor and what we’ll work on in my next lesson on March 1 is keeping Gel from over flanking like he is doing in this video. Keeping off the stock is usually a good thing, but there are times I need him to stay in there.
Finally, here’s a started cattle run. This is a pretty good run and it was good for me to watch these because I can see where I need to keep Gel in order to keep the cattle moving. Throughout the run I can see he’s trying to head them to fetch them back to me, which is not what I wanted. In our next trial, I’ll need to pay close attention to where he is. It is good that he’s moving as free as he does and not locking up on the stock. Movement is important when driving cattle so they know the dog is still back there.