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4th of July ASCA Stockdog Trial and Conformation Show Cayucos, California

Every year, COAST puts on a Stockdog trial in conjunction with a Conformation Show and it is a blast! It is quite entertaining to be able to watch the two events that, in my mind, typify Aussies: the working arena and the breed ring. However, only two dogs competed in both venues. One of them was my boy Kane who showed in Started Sheep and Altered Dogs and the other was Duke (owned by Trish Alexander, he is Windsong and Twin Oaks breeding) who showed in Novice on stock and Open Black in the regular conformation. I also entered Kali in Conformation show and Danielle Kreman expertly handled both my dogs. My dogs adore her and I was too busy trialing Kane, Gale and Cinder to have the time. Thank heavens for Danielle!

Kane had to trial in booties and, much to his dismay, was not allowed to jump into the water trough at the end of his run to ensure he stayed as clean as I could get him. He took Reserve Winners Dog three times and on Saturday he qualified in both of his sheep runs (with first places in both!) and earned his STDs title! That’s the good news. The bad news is that his sit-stay disappeared by the middle of his first run and by the end of his second run, his sit was seriously in question. He was VERY excited to be trialing and it showed: lots of barking and he was even pushier than normal. Back to the training ground we go.

Kali also took Reserve Winners Bitch all three times in the ring. It seemed to take her awhile to get with the program on Saturday and she did not show as well as she has in the past. I think that she needed more warm-up time. Danielle was showing a puppy, then Kane, then Kali and since it was a small show, we were flinging dogs around to get Danielle in the ring on time. By Sunday I was able to take a little time and warm both her and Kane up a little and it seemed to help their attitudes. Live and learn.

Gale was entered in the stock trial FEO Started and she was AMAZING. Her take pens were near perfect so the sheep came out calm and relaxed from the beginning. She really watched her heads, stayed out on the top and took all her sits and stays. I was so impressed with her. Boyce Baker gave her a 90 (out of 100) on Saturday (which is quite high for a started dog) so I was thrilled. Gale is turning out to be a marvel of consistency in the trial arena. I can hardly wait until Nationals!

Cinder also competed this weekend and she was her usual awesome self. She got LOTS of 2nd places – on Saturday she earned the highest score on sheep she has ever gotten: a 118. Unfortunately, Kathy Warren beat us with a PERFECT run – earning a 123! But Cinder was amazingly consistent on her ducks and sheep and she ended the Sunday trial as High Combined Other Breed. YAY Cinder.

The funnest part of the trial was the Monday trial. I got talked into entering Cinder in Post-Advanced. For those of you who don’t know what Post-Advanced is, it is a course with panels and a center but set out in the open. The distances are greater and there are no fences to crutch on. Now Cinder and I have practiced driving a little bit out in the open but I was positive she was not ready for this! I got suckered into entering at the last minute – entered as a Non-Regular – and immediately went into panic mode.

There was a very nice lady with BC’s there who helped me walk the course and figure out where to cross the draw. The first panel was set across a gully that your dog had to push the sheep through. This gully meant that you couldn’t see your dog or the stock for part of the run – very scary! Cinder and I were 3rd in the run order (out of 5 dogs –all BC’s) so we parked it on a hill and watched. Carol Mack and Roper did a fine job of the course and the BC lady appeared with her 6-year-old competition dog. They had an AMAZING run – hit all the panels perfectly, the whistles were timely and accurate. It was beautiful to watch. It was also terrifying. I CANNOT whistle (I am trying desperately to figure it out) and the distances were intimidating. And then to have to follow a run like that! ICK.

Cinder and I started out fine – the sheep were calm (for the most part) and we were on our way. I set up the drive to the first panel and watched Cinder take them off in kind of the right direction. We got them across the gully and headed towards the first panel – I couldn’t believe Cinder was doing so well! Then disaster struck: Cinder could not see the stock and me at the same time and it freaked her out. She left the sheep to find me and when I kept telling her to get back on the sheep, she would go back to them, look for me and come up out of the gully again. The good news is that since Cinder had been so calm in the beginning of our run, the sheep were settled and actually started to graze (instead of bolting for home!) What was I going to do? Well, I have never run up a hill so fast in my life! I couldn’t cross the centerline but I could USE the terrain so I scrambled up the side of the hill that the panel was on and got above Cinder and the stock. Now she could see the stock and me at the same time and we got the herd moving again and through the first panel. It had worked! Then another problem arose. I was standing over by the first panel – and the second panel was 300 feet the opposite direction. I have never gotten DOWN a hill so fast either!

We had a little confusion at the second panel because Cin was unsure of me being so far away. The stock started grazing again and we had several scary moments while Cin gathered the herd again and started toward the second panel. Then it was all cake after that! Cinder nailed the second panel, drilled the Y-Chute and put them away quietly and calmly. I couldn’t believe it! She not only did the course, she took 2nd place with a 104.5 (but since it was Non-Regular it doesn’t count towards her title) and won $60. Post-Advanced here we come!

Whew – I am tired just thinking about the trial. But I can hardly wait for the Cayucos Cup in August! Kane is going for his STD cattle title and Cinder is entered in Post-Advanced. Keep your fingers crossed!

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