Thursday, June 20, 2013

VBCA Summer Trial at Big Bend Farm

After a very nice couple of days of lessons in Maryland with Vergil Holland the weekend before, the dogs and I loaded up and headed into the VA mountains this past weekend for the VBCA Summer Trial held at Big Bend Farm. The trial was a benefit trial for the 2013 USBCHA National Finals (to be held in VA in October) and was wildly successful, raising $7800! It was a huge undertaking for the organizers, with one field as the site for the Open classes, and two other fields for the novice classes, which ran twice each day. There were just a ton of runs over the two days. Barbara Ray very generously donated the use of her farm and sheep, and worked her tail off on the trial all weekend. There was a huge group effort to cover all of the jobs that needed doing, and i think everyone there helped out in some way or another. It was truly impressive to see just how many people were pitching in.

I wasn't able to spend as much time watching the novice runs as i would have liked, but i saw some nice work when i did manage to get back there and take the time to stop and watch. The Big Bend ewe flock was on the novice field and from what i saw, worked pretty nicely. The Open trials were run on weaned lambs and they were a challenge to handle, alternately racing away or getting very heavy and hard to move, and straight lines were very hard to come by.

Zeke was my first dog up and he had a difficult group of lambs. He worked them pretty well, with one trying to squirt off and two trying to lay back. He was very patient with them but on the cross drive, the runner took off again and got far enough away that we called it quits. Bill ran well and handled the lambs nicely, finishing up 8th. On day two, Bill again ran well but a missed gate and some trouble getting the shed knocked our score down. Zeke ran late in the day and had a gorgeous run. The lambs had gotten quite heavy and he just laid into them and marched them around. It was probably his best run yet in Open, as i was able to lay off my whistle and just let him handle the lines and pace. We missed the cross drive gate (i had a devil of a time seeing it - missed it all 4 runs), and Zeke looked at the wrong group when he came in on the shed (like a freaking freight train i might add). I still haven't seen the final placements but he did place pretty well.

So now we have a couple of weeks off before the next trial, which will be the Fetch Gate Farm trial in Cortland, NY. I've been trying to get to a trial there for years, and hopefully this will be the year i make it. Zac is injured so i'm trying to pick up some qualifying points for the Finals on Zeke, just in case Zac isn't able to run this fall. Coming up this weekend, Tommy Wilson will be back to do another clinic at the farm. I can't wait! Now what dog do i put in the clinic, hmmmm....?

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