As I walked out into the arena for our first cattle run, the thought crossed my mind that Cinder hadn’t even seen cattle since last Sept. Not a good thought to have at the very beginning of your run! My worries were groundless: the cattle were phenomenal and Cinder did a GREAT job. We had a wonderful run – some running and circling at the center but we did get them penned so cattle run #1 was a complete success! Our second cattle run was almost as good as the first but Cinder was pretty wired by then. I remember seeing her fly by at MACH 17 when we were working on our center pen, and the image I have of her is with this big ole grin on her face – her doggie version of “YIPPEE!” She is such a funny little dog. Loves working cattle but is terrified of horses. So we put our cattle away with a sense of a job well done and tried to rest up for Sat: a sheep run and 4 agility runs for Cinder, and Gale and Kali each had 4 agility runs as well. Time to put on the running shoes!
Saturday started out with our Elite Gambler agility runs. Both Gale and Cin were in the regular 20” class and I had entered Kali in Veterans for the first time. The Gamble was a teeter/tunnel discrimination – and the dog had to take the teeter, which was furthest away. I figured there was no chance in hell that Kali (who was my first dog up) would do the teeter since she is such a tunnel sucker. Imagine my surprise when she did it! As a result, I was stuck flat-footed, admiring the heck out of my dog, so we didn’t complete the gamble. But I was SO pleased with the little black dog – she never ceases to surprise me! Cinder and I had a disaster in the opening of our gamble. I put her up the A-Frame at a fairly severe angle which would normally not have been an issue. However, this was a slatless A-Frame (which Cinder is NOT used too) and she slid very badly on the way up and scraped the heck out of her back leg. Not good. She did the gamble but dropped the first bar so it didn’t count. Poor Cinder. Then I had another disaster in Gamblers with Gale. Gale has been suffering post-puppy depression (and pre-heat hormones) so has been running worried which results in missed A-Frame contacts and missed weave entries. My goal for Gale at this show was to just have a blast – no worries or stress – and try to get her confidence back up. Her opening in Gamblers was lovely – fast and furious – until we hit the dog walk. She hit it going SO FAST (leaped onto the top portion at a dead run) and once again, the lack of slats did us in. She did quite a spectacular fall off the walk – thank heavens it WAS gamblers so I could put her back on the walk immediately! I didn’t even try for the gamble – I just wanted Gale to end up the run happy. Which she did – kind of. Gamblers was not an auspicious start to our agility trial.
Saturday’s sheep run with Cinder occurred after our Gamblers class and was just about flawless. I had been worried that Cinder would have a hard time switching gears from the frenzy of agility (especially Gamblers!) to the calm required to work eight head of very light sheep. I am learning to have more faith in her; she was perfect, calm and biddable. I am never going to find another BC like her.
Now that our sheep run was over, I could concentrate 100% on agility. Our next runs were our Elite regular runs. Kali ran clean in Veterans (took 1st place!) and then Cinder and Gale both ran clean! YAY kids! Gale hit her dog walk just as hard (but stayed on this time) and had lovely weaves. Cinder was just awesome – a little slow for her (I think she was a wee bit tired) but very consistent. Cinder won the class and Gale took 2nd! Woo-hoo! Our 2nd Standard run was not quite as successful, except for Kali who went out, ran clean again, and won the Vet class again! Good girl Kali! I sent Gale and Cinder off course (in the same exact place with both dogs) but both were running really well. Gale was so wonderful I even rear-crossed her weaves which is something I do in training all the time but have not been able to do for the last couple of months. We had great runs and I was totally pleased with all my dogs.
The one down side to the weekend was that I was walking the Elite Jumpers course when they were handing out the Stockdog awards. The joys of multi-tasking at a trial….The Jumpers course was fast and furious – Kali went out and ran clean (again!) and so did Cinder and both girls won their classes. Gale got the short end of the stick: by this point I was quite tired (12 agility runs and 1 stock run) so at the one point in the course where I had kept reminding myself “Don’t call here – the bar will come down”
I called Gale’s name and sure enough, the bar came down. But, Gale was SO fast that even with running around a jump (I didn’t re-set her, she was having too much fun) her time only ½ second off of Cinders! So my goal with Gale to have a fun, happy trial had worked!
At the end of the day, in a haze of exhaustion, I was told to gather all my stuff from the Stockdog trial. Cinder had not only gone High In Trial on Sheep (it was a dang good run!) she had gone High In Trial on Cattle! What a dog! So I gathered all my ribbons and loot and staggered back to my trailer only to be hailed over to the agility ring. I couldn’t figure out why they wanted me there: Cinder had only Q’d in 2 out of 4 runs so she couldn’t possibly win High Elite Dog. As I sat on the grass in a daze, Sue Graham handed out the agility awards. When she kept calling my name (remember I was in a daze) I couldn’t for the life of me figure out why she was pestering me. Imagine my surprise when KALI (the dog I had entered only to build the show entry) went High in Trial Elite Agility Dog! YAY KALI!!!! This was quite a long way from the award Kali and I had earned at our May trial: Dog With The Most Faults. Kali never ceases to surprise me J
Sunday was an easy day – we only had one sheep run with Cinder and while the run was pretty it wasn’t the slam-dunk that Saturday’s run had been. She ended up in 4th place but she did win the High-Combined Other Breed award. Good girl Cinder.
So the weekend was quite a success: Kali won all 4 of her classes and went HIT Elite Agility Dog; Cinder won two of her agility classes, two of her stock classes, HIT Sheep and Cattle and High Combined and Gale took 2nd in one of her classes and ran fast and happy. I wish all trials could be like this one!