Friday, March 27, 2009

Billy's Trial Debut

Bill did really well in his first trip out on the trial field! I ran him in the Nursery class today at the Climax SDT and he ended up 3rd out of 12 dogs. The field is very nice, rolling hills. The hair sheep were a little difficult, each group having 2 adults and 2 small lambs, alternately heavy or light and pulling to draws on the field. I heard someone say the outrun was 225-250 yards though it didn't seem quite that long. Nursery ran twice and the weather sure cooperated. The forecast was for rain all day but it pretty much held off until we had finished. Denise Wall won the first class with her nice young bitch May, and Dawn Boyce won the second.

First run went like this: I wanted to send Bill left because of the pressure, but he got locked into the sheep from the previous run being exhausted that direction, so i opted to send him right instead. Right tends to be his better side anyway. He never did see the sheep at the top of the field from the handler's post. I fiddled around trying to get him to look up the field but he never quite saw them since he was so convinced sheep were more off to his left. He left my feet and went somewhat straight up the field, but did look up and see the set out sheep finally, and did a dramatic turn to the right to put himself around the sheep properly. He ended nice and deep and came up with authority on the sheep for a nice lift and a 20-10 start. The fetch was pretty straight but slightly off line as Bill was trying to sort out the sheep. His group had a ewe, the flock ram and 2 little lambs in it. The ram was giving him a little trouble and Bill was really curious about those little lambs! He seemed to be giving the lambs a little extra attention as he was getting his brain around the idea of those being sheep - i don't think he's ever worked lambs that small. But he did a nice job holding things together, handling the ram that kept thinking about challenging him, and keeping the fetch line pretty straight. Turn around the post was fine. The drive was zig-zaggy but he kept his cool nicely. The sheep were pretty touchy and turned very easily, so it took quite a bit of handling to get any sort of line going, and Bill took that well. I've not handled him that much with nit-picky flanks when driving at home, tend to just let him motor on. I was pleased with how well he was listening though the drive was mostly all over the place. The return leg of the drive was very nice and pen was clean. Final score was 63 out of 90, good for 3rd place!

Second run went like this: Bill acted like the 20 month old dog he is! :-) He seemed to see the sheep from the handlers post, so i sent him left as i'd wanted to do before because of the draw on the sheep to that side. He left my feet seeing them, seemed to lose track of them, looked up and saw them again, and did that same beautiful dramatic turn he'd done on his first run. Unfortunately, it was the exact same dramatic turn (to the right!) resulting in a crossover. The sheep took off to the left as i'd been expecting, and Bill kind of helped them along, pushing into them and not taking stops or flanks or anything i might be suggesting. Finally he busted in and gripped. Good to know he really is just a youngster still. ;-)

Overall, i was very pleased with Bill and have a good idea what i need to be doing with him to get him ready for trials. There's no reason to rush it with him but we can start working on a few things, and i have to find some larger fields to get him out on. It was a good day and i'm excited about his future. Now on to Zac and Jet's turns tomorrow and sunday in the Open.


BCxFour said...

I loved the way you wrote this - I could almost imagine watching! Congrats on 3rd and our paws are crossed for good luck tomorrow!

Kathy said...

Good work, Billy.

Good luck the rest of the weekend.

Laura said...

Terrific writeup. Sounds like Bill did well in his first time out--good luck with your open runs!