We had a great weekend dog trialling over the holiday of in South Dakota, could have done better, but could have done worse, but had fun!
Friday evening Wayne & Jake ran sheep, the course was the NWSS Figure 8 course, they had a really nice smooth controlled run but couldn't get them penned, many suffered the same fate provided they didn't grip out.Saturday we ran cattle. According to Wayne (I'm not good at estimates) the cows were about 700lbs with very limited dogging. We were told that they are only moved occassionally with dogs in large groups.
I think we ran mostly steers until the finals where they brought out fresh heifers, the early round cows had been settled in the arena once and the heifers came in never being in it before. According to Wayne, some were cross bred, some angus. In the qualifying round (for USBCHA points) Wayne ended up 5th out of about 34, with Jake. It was hard fought, Jake just barely holding ground. It took a strong head dog with a solid bite that held ground to stop and hold the cows, many had to bring the cows back to the obstacles after a cow left on them. If you drew up a set with a solid black angus you pretty much knew you were going to have a fight.
Pete Carmicheal won the Open qualifying round with Moon. The top ten went back for a finals, Bob Johnson won the finals with Torrie, I think she is going to be a contender in the Nursery division come National Finals. Juan Reyes also has a nice young nursery dog that he ran in the open, 1 year old Mack, I'm not sure where he placed in the qualifying but did make top ten.In the final round Wayne ended up 8th with Jake, Pete 10th with Moon.
Jake's lack of a willingness to heel hurt him in the finals, but that's the way it goes. He doesn't get kicked that way, just mowed over from the front, of which he had a couple real close calls. About 1/2 way through the finals run he got tagged by a heifer trying to take him, I think he hit a gate trying to clear the cow. You could tell that he was hurting a bit but he kept working, he seems fine today. Wayne said that the angus heifer he drew in the finals would have ran him over if he stepped in front of her. For the most part there was no such thing as drawing a really easy set, every draw was a challenge. Hopefully I can get complete results in the near future.
Wayne also ran Ricky, my 14 month old, in the Open and Nursery. Wayne has more expirence with cattle and I felt that it would be better for Ricky if he was handled by Wayne. Ricky had a tough time, but did respectable for his first arena trial, he has never had to handle cows that didn't yield to a dog that faced them off square. He got chased out of the pocket, he didn't seem to realize that he should/could bite a nose, even with that Ricky did get some work done, I think he landed somewhere in the middle of the pack in Open. He had even a tougher run in Nursery.
I ran Ricky in Pro-Novice and was lucky, drawing a nice set of rerun cross bred steers. Ricky worked it out with them and finally understood that he should bite a nose, with me giving him some verbal encouragement from the handlers post. He had some success getting them to stop and with a couple of nose bites that they yielded to. We ended up running out of time just as the last cow exited the final obstacle, and placed third. The points for that last cow would have moved us up to second if I would have rushed it out of the pen. The last obstacle was an open back pen where the dog had to hold the cows in as the handler went around and openned an exhaust gate.
This was the most comfortable I have ever felt with cattle, guess spending the summer training dogs on our dairy calves has paid off. Our good showing in P/N was a bonus to the expirence that Ricky and myself gained on the cattle. Ricky is way different to handle then Jake. With Jake you can't help him hold the cattle, the pressure of you trying to help upsets him so you are better off letting him do all the work and just giving him direction. Whereas Ricky works with you, he can handle the cattle on his own but it's even better when you work together, you effecting the cattle does not rattle him. I think the difference is that Ricky is not as much of a control freak to the head. He has no problem heeling and causing motion, whereas Jake just does not like to add momentum and will only heel if you insist and there is no other option.
Now it's back to training, depending on weather we may be making the trip to Arkansas on January 1st and then we have another point/time arena trial at Ashland, NE in mid January. Still hoping to get qualified for Nursery finals, I don't know that Ricky will be ready for Finals but it's too close to home to miss with him, both he and I need the expirence if we can gain it. Besides, I can't let Wayne have all the fun at Finals with Jake. Wish I could have had that 3rd place P/N run in the Nursery class..., there were 15 nursery dogs qualifing 3 for Finals.