I’ve been entered in a sheepdog trial on Memorial Day weekend for almost two months now. I entered Gel in Pro-Novice on a compete basis and in Open Ranch on a non-compete basis. I got my entries in well before the closing date and no one told me that I couldn’t run Open Ranch on a non-compete basis. I know the Open class fills (overfills) for this trial so I can understand (I suppose) why they cannot accept non-compete Open entries, but the classes that run on Monday, Novice/Novice, Pro-Novice, Open Ranch and Nursery in general do not fill.
Well, I get an e-mail last night from an individual not even involved with running the trial telling me that I had to run Pro-Novice and Open Ranch on a compete basis. Well, that’s not possible, one of them has to be non-compete. I wrote the individual back asking why the trial secretary didn’t contact me directly because she has my e-mail address and if she didn’t, she certainly could have asked the woman who wrote me for my e-mail address.
When I wrote the trial secretary directly, the truth came out. She had wanted me to remove any reference to running non-compete from this Blog so no one else would ask to do it. That’s rather stupid given they received my entries and the trial is now closed so what difference does it make? To my knowledge (from my e-mail conversations with the trial secretary), there was only one other person who asked to run non-compete and that was in the Open class and that was vetoed by the farm owner. What really happened was that the woman who wrote me decided at the last minute, after entries have officially closed, that she wanted to enter another dog in Pro-Novice. She was told that classes on that day were full. This woman has read my Blog and knows that I’ve got my dog entered in Open Ranch non-compete, so she took it upon herself to decide that I have to run compete or not run at all, which wasn’t what she was supposed to tell me.
Now the trial secretary and owner of the farm have decided that there will be no non-compete runs after they’ve accepted my entries and have sat on them for months. That just isn’t fair. I got my entries to the trial secretary in plenty of time and they were paid for; they should have told me then and there that I couldn’t run Open Ranch non-compete instead of accepting my entries. I should be allowed to run my dog in the runs I entered him in and not have to pull him from a run because someone decides at the last minute that they want to enter another dog in Pro-Novice.
I have only one dog to run. I hate traveling to a trial and having less than five minutes on the field. Of course, you can learn a lot by watching other runs, but that isn’t the point. I am there to run my dog and to learn from my experiences on the trial field. If I am able to enter him in an extra class on a non-compete basis, that gives me one extra run. They seem to think that if I run him in Open Ranch on a non-compete basis, which runs before Pro-Novice, that gives me an advantage over the other people. Yea, right. Every time you step on a trial field, it’s a different set of sheep, different set of issues you need to deal with.
So, in light of this, I’ve decided not to run in USBCHA again until Gel is ready to run in Open. At least when he’s running in Open I would be able to run him on Saturday and Sunday. USBCHA is about the Open class, all the other classes are afterthoughts. That’s fine with me, by the time Gel is ready to run in Open, Fern should be ready to run in Pro-Novice, then at least I’ll have two dogs to run and it makes traveling to trials more worthwhile.
As I drove to work today I saw that gas was $3.69/gallon. If it keeps going up as it has been, I’m not going to be going anywhere for trials, especially those that I get one five minute run.
That’s why I like USDAA agility over AKC. In USDAA, you can get five and sometimes more runs a day. That makes traveling to a trial much more worthwhile than, for example, AKC where, unless they are offering FAST, which few trials are these days, you only get two runs a day.