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Tri-County Australian Shepherd Working Association Stockdog Trial April 30 – May 2, 2004 Tenaja Ranch, Murrieta, CA

I want to thank TCASWA for putting on a stellar trial! They offered a “Last Chance Two-Fur” which translates to one trial on Friday and two trials on both Saturday and Sunday (a total of 5 trials!) It made for long, hot (REALLY hot – 100+ degree weather) days but, for me, it was totally worth it! CINDER GOT HER WTCH!!!!!

This was a new location and if it hadn’t been for the little signs of a BC working sheep that appeared periodically, I probably would have turned around. The ranch was off a dirt road that wound around and around, deeper into National Forest but right when I was about to give up hope I spied arenas and panels.

I had Cinder entered in everything for all the trials and Gale in all the sheep and several duck runs (once again showing FEO.)

After our cattle run at the Bullet, I decided that Gale needs some more training before going out on cattle again! SHE has a good time but the cattle don’t.

Gale was awesome on her sheep. She was overly excited the first couple runs but still held it together and we got around the course. A very interesting thing happened the second day though. Gale came out hot to trot and it was a wild ride up to the first panel.

She didn’t take her sit promptly and the sheep took advantage of that fact and bolted for the back fence. I made her hold her sit (to make a point) and then we calmly walked back to get them. Once we had gathered them again, Gale started pushing again. Well, one of the ewes had had enough. Every time Gale came within 10 feet, she would turn and charge Gale. Gale had no clue what to do with that so she widened out (what the ewe intended in the first place!) The rest of the run was that way: if Gale stayed out, the sheep moved around nicely; if Gale pushed too hard, this ewe would turn around and say “You are too close dog! Back it off!” It was pretty funny. And quite effective: Gale’s final sheep runs were the best of the trial, wide and balanced.

Cinder was amazing at this trial. She had 5 cattle runs, 5 sheep runs and 5 duck runs. She qualified in all her sheep and duck runs (with placements in all except for one!) While she didn’t qualify in all her cattle runs, the cattle were so tough, she placed in 4 out of 5 of her runs. The cattle were horrendously difficult. Even the judges (at the end of the trial) said they had never seen cattle that were so consistently impossible to move. One a lighter note, one of the cows learned how to jump the fence and after a while she had even figured out exactly how far away from the fence she needed to be and what level of speed was needed to launch over the fence (in perfect hunter-jumper form) without hanging up on it. We were scoring her throughout the trial and that made it entertaining rather than completely discouraging. I didn’t feel so bad when one day Cinder got a 41 (out of a possible 125) and the High In Trial (HIT) Cattle score was a 55! Despite the lousy cattle, Cinder and I got VERY lucky on Saturday morning and got a lovely draw. Remember, Cin only needed one cattle leg for her WTCH. Well, she did it in style. She earned a 96 on the stock, won the Adv. Cattle class and went HIT Cattle for that trial! We didn’t qualify on cattle in any of our other runs but as I said, no one was doing well. The rest of the livestock, especially the sheep, were wonderful! The ducks were difficult for a pushier dog (Gale had a really hard time with them) and when the ground got hot, the ducks kept laying down to stop their little feet from burning. I actually pulled Gale from several ducks runs figuring it wasn’t fair to any of us. Too blasted hot.

Cinder placed in every class and won all kinds of stuff. She was HIT Ducks on Friday and Sunday, HIT Cattle on Saturday, won the High-Combined both Saturday AND Sunday, and won the Top Dog (High Combined Score, All 3 stock, All 4 trials!) She was amazingly consistent although we have some serious training issues to work through. I have been quite fortunate in this little girl. My little WTCH.


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