Trials

I went so far as to print out the entry form for the fall trial at Red Creek Farm the beginning of October.  I thought about it and talked to a few friends about it.  Yes, it would be good experience for Gel and I to trial, but taking into account that I haven’t trained him much this summer due to the heat and I can’t train him much now because I don’t have the fields to work in, I think I’m going to just save the money and keep with with my original decision to not trial any more in 2008.  It would be better for me to wait until Fern is ready to trial so I’ll have two dogs to run.  Having more than one dog to run makes spending the money on gas easier to handle.  There is an ASCA trial in Georgia the last weekend of February and I’d like to see if I can have Fern ready for that.

That said, I don’t know that I’ll be able to afford to go to ASCA trials.  Running one dog in all of the classes available costs close to $400.  That would be a total of six runs a day or $33 a run.  That’s about the same cost for one run in USBCHA, but in USBCHA you only get that one run (unless you can run in Nursery as well).  Trialing is not cheap no matter what venue to do it in.  Last year and earlier this year I was bringing in a reliable supply of overtime, but given the economy, that’s all but dried up.

Yesterday I was talking to a friend of mine in Canada.  We were discussing trialing, the endurance levels of our individual dogs and the differences between trials in the United States compared to the UK.  In the UK dogs are expected to outrun up to 800 yards and to do double lifts at those distances.  Here in the US, a 600 yard single outrun is considered long with 300 yards being more the norm.  I believe the outrun in the US finals was something like 650 yards.  Because we do not have the acreage that they do in the UK, dogs in the US are not expected to do that much running so they do not have the fitness level that the dogs in the UK do.  Let’s face it, even if a dog in the US is working on a farm, he isn’t getting a whole lot of exercise on a daily basis because farms are just not that big.  Of course, out west there is a lot more country to work, but not here in the east or even in Canada.  My friend and I were talking about the pedigrees of our individual dogs and how her dog who is out of imported dogs seems to have more endurance than her bitch who is out of Canadian lines.  The top half of Gel’s pedigree is imported dogs, with the bottom half being western dogs.  Fern’s mother is from western lines.  Both Gel and Fern have a tremendous amount of endurance.  They are both somewhat heat sensitive, but I have yet to work either dog into exhaustion, they keep on going.  Is endurance a hereditary attribute?  I do know that their diet contributes to their energy levels because dogs can better utilize fat for energy than carbohydrates, but is that their only advantage?  Who knows.

I’m glad I have the ATV as it is a means to keep my dogs’ endurance levels optimum.