I entered an ASCA (Australian Shepherd Club) show to be held in Georgia February 16-18. I’m starting to get very excited about it. ASCA trials are typically arena-type trials, similar to AKC trials. They are nothing like a USBCHA (United States Border Collie Handler’s Association) trial where the dog is tested at a distance. The stock work done in ASCA trials is close work, through obstacles, taking stock out of a free-standing pen and then when you’ve done the course, repen the stock. I do not think I’ll have much trouble with the courses. Right now, I’m entered in ducks and sheep. There are cattle courses available and I haven’t decided yet if I want to enter Gel on cattle or not. If we obtain our two Started legs (which is possible on Saturday because there are two trials being run under two different judges), we can move up to Open on Sunday. If we obtain two Open legs in both ducks and sheep, Gel will have the title “OTDsd”. I’d really like to do cattle because I’d like to obtain the ASCA “WTCH” title. In order to obtain a WTCH (Working Trial Champion) you need two Advanced legs in all three types of stock. To get our Advanced legs, I’ll need to attend another ASCA stock trial in the future.
On Monday, the club is offering a ranch dog trail. That sounds very exciting. You start out with twenty sheep, ten have collars and ten do not. You take all the sheep out of a round pen then take them to another pen and run them through a chute. You have to separate the collared sheep from those without collars, put the collared sheep in a holding pen and then take the ones without collars and take them to a different location. Then you come back to the collared sheep, put them back through the chute, take their collars off, then take them into a large pasture, through a set of panels at the lower end of the pasture and then bring them back and put them up, all within 20 minutes. It is considered a test of a dog’s worthiness as a farm/ranch dog. You only need to pass this class once to obtain a “RTD” title. I am not concerned about Gel’s ability to do what he needs to do, I’m concerned about my ability to sort sheep. We’ll see how that goes. If nothing else, it will be fun.
I hope the weather is decent. I had the choice of doing an outdoors USDAA (agility) trial or the stock trial. I decided, if the weather was bad, I’d rather be standing outside working stock than trying to run agility. I also reasoned that there was less chance of injury at a stock trial if the footing was bad than in agility. Also, the location that this USDAA trial was being held at has one ring with packed sand as the surface and I’ve been told that can be hard on the dog.
I didn’t work Gel at all yesterday; I worked with Fern on stays both in a sit and a down. She did well.
I bought a new toy. After the episode where I lost the sheep and knowing that if I didn’t have the transportation that I had (an ATV and golf cart) I would not have found those sheep before it got dark. It will be nice to have transportation when necessary, I’ll use it to exercise Gel (Fern will ride with me until she’s bigger), it can pull a small trailer, which will be invaluable down the road. Also, I’ll work Gel on sheep off it to put more miles on him. But I admit, it is a toy. I’ll have it tonight. It is supposed to be a beautiful weekend so I’m sure I’ll spend a lot of time zooming around the back-40.