Steph and Tam at the postSteph and Kate blowing it

I had entered both of the girls into the Coalinga CA sheepdog Trial.  I thought there would only be about 50+ people there so it would be a good opportunity for Decker to desensitize some with groups of people.  One problem though-I was bringing the store with me also. How do I fit him in with all of the stuff too?

I had entered both of the girls into the Coalinga CA sheepdog Trial.  I thought there would only be about 50+ people there so it would be a good opportunity for Decker to desensitize some with groups of people.  One problem though-I was bringing the store with me also. How do I fit him in with all of the stuff too?

I spent the entire day packing the back of the little pick up.  I did have to make bags to carry some of the stock in, so it won't get dirty.  But other wise, I had to do a lot of maneuvering to fit the large crate inside the back of the pick up, so Decker had a place to ride, and for safe keeping.

Coalinga is almost a desert.  Very seldom does it rain there.  If fact, of the 10+ years of the Coalinga sdt, it had only rained only once.  And as it would be, it rained!  And the mud was very terrible.  A couple of steps, and you were suddenly getting taller and taller.  Fortunately for us, it only rained periodically during the morning, and then cleared for a fantastic rest of the day.

Having the store there had its challenges too.  I waited until the storm passed, then set up only one table, and the coolaroo of ours as a demo, filled with dog toys.  And after about an hour, guess what?  It started raining.  Oh no!  Matt, my husband and Roland, my friend, grabbed the borrowed quick shade, and set it up quickly to protect all of the stock from getting wet.  It worked quite well, and many trialers were glad that I brought stock.

In the morning, during the rain, Decker spent a good portion of his time in the crate.  During the dry spells, I would get him out and let him relieve himself.  We would also go up to where everyone was gathered to watch the trial.  This is what I brought him for.  He needed exposure to groups of people, but not hundreds at once.

At first, he was anxious, but after several hours, he settled down.  He even allowed a few people to pet him. 

Later in the afternoon, the ground had dried up to the point of being good to walk on.  I took the girls and Decker out for a walk and run.  I walked about a 1/2 mile away on the ranch, and found a great place to throw the chuck it ball launcher for them.  The girls didn't need too have much energy released as they were in the trial, but Decker did.  They all had a great time going up and down the hills chasing the ball and releasing energy.

Both of the girls on Saturday did well at the trial.  They both took every command that I asked, I couldn't have asked much more of them.  We completed the outrun, lift, fetch, and drive.  Missed the second panel with Kate.  Then she got her shed, and pen.  We got timed out at the single.  But I was real pleased with her performance.

Tam did everything that I needed her to do to.  I didn't think this year that she would be competitive, but I was wrong.  I have just moved her up from Nursery to Open.  And this is only her second Open trial.  She did a beautiful outrun, lift, fetch, drive and made both panels.  We got the shed, and pen.  I had problems with the pen.  I have never had sheep not want to leave it.  So I went inside to put pressure on them to leave.  When I did, I completely forgot about the gate, and went straight to the single shed.  OH NO!

I found out that I forgot the pen gate after I had already put the sheep away.  This time, I only got hit 2 points for that.  But I must not ever do that stupid mistake again.  Tam's score was an 82.  I could not have been happier with her.  Later, I found out that I would have been 4th or 5th, if I hadn't made that stupid mistake.

So I was wrong that Tam at just 2 1/2 years old, could not be competitive.  I hope that this spring goes this nice for her.

On Sunday, I left Decker at home.  One day was enough for me.  I only brought a little stock from the store in case some one didn't get a chance to get something the day before.   In the morning, the sheep were terrible.  Yikes!  I ran Kate first, and there was a strong draw toward the exhaust, for Kate's entire fetch.  They also ended up on the wrong side of the post.  I have a tough time with pressure and I thanked the judge and walked away from the post.  Run over.  I have been told to keep going if problems arise.  That in some cases, everybody is in the same boat at the trial, and I could just place.  But, oh well, I felt like a novice handler, with my sheep on the wrong side of the post. 

I called Shelley, my trainer, and got the “don't quit” lecture.  So I toughed it out with Tam's run.  She had a to die for outrun and lift, but she was sticky at the fetch.  She knew that the sheep were going to run.  That's what her mother would do.  Fortunately, I was able to coach her down the hill, and the stupid sheep walked right around the fetch panels, just like a human would.  So with that missed, I kept going.  We made the panels, and worked on the shed.  Our time had been cut by a minute this day, so we got timed out and didn't get the shed, pen, or single. 

I was dumbfounded.  How can we run great one day and crappy on the next?  I talked to Shelley about it and she told me "That's trialing!"  She is right, That's trialing.

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