Monday, July 13, 2009

MacDonalds Ewesful Acres

June 27, 28, Longbranch, Washington
George and Sue MacDonald always put on a fun trial, loaded with hospitality. Their welcome to everyone was evident with the flag display of each country, state and province from all of the handler's and the judge's homes. The local handlers have a potluck dinner every year and include everyone. The food is beyond good and if you are a clam or oyster fan, you better put this trial on your calender next year. Unfortunately, through a series of errors most of the pictures on my camera from this trial and all of them from the next two were erased.
The MacDonalds often bring over judges from the UK and this year it was a pleasure to meet Cyril Roberts from Wales. He was enjoyable company and a competent judge.
This is a fun trial to go to but for some reason, I never seem to do any good there. It's very tricky and differs from the standard open trials. The first day had an outrun and lift and fetch on sheep set on grain. At the end of your fetch, there was a Maltese cross. To add to the trickiness of the cross, there was a rope attached to the center of the handler's quadrant and you were required to hold it while you maneuvered your sheep into the alley. However, the rope only extended to the end of the panels and no farther so the usual rules about moving out from your quadrant did not apply. Fortunately, Cyril did not leave you hanging about trying and trying to get your sheep through and running out your time. He gave you one attempt and if you missed it, you were to go on to the next leg and then on to your drive. He scored you similar to a panel and took points for the sheep missing the alley or escaping down each side. The drive was normal but the pen had a solid back side, making it difficult to convince the sheep to enter.
The sheep on the first day were brought in from an outside farm and were Barbados who were use to being handled by loose eyed dogs and not border collies. Many people felt that made them difficult and they did indeed chase off some dogs at the top as the afternoon wore on and they became grumpier. My dogs had no difficulty handling the sheep, in fact they handled them better than me. The problem I had with the sheep was that they were so indifferent to people that there was no way for you to help your dog at all. I have never met sheep so dead to people. No matter what you did, jumped or screamed at them, they didn't move unless the dog made them. Lad and I ran second on the first day and his outrun needed one redirect when he lost sight of them behind a small hill but he found them after that and had a beautiful lift and fetch. I kept him off of them not realizing that I couldn't help him when they got to the cross. Since I couldn't block my side, they just walked around me and Cyril told me to move on to the next leg. The situation repeated itself and I had to move on to the drive. Our drive was good but when we tried to get a pen, we ran into the same problems again. Lad put them in the mouth of the pen and when they tried to escape on my side, I blocked them with the door and that is where they sat for the rest of the run, wedged against the door of the pen. No amount of pleading from me would move them in. Lad had his side covered and when I tried to move him to my side, since it was the only way to convince the sheep to move, they would squirt around his other side. So no pen. Each leg of the Maltese cross was worth 10 points and I lost them all plus my pen points so I was down 30 points plus whatever I lost on the rest of the course.
Hemp's run went slightly better since he almost always has a perfect outrun and lift, but I continued my bad handling on the first leg of the cross. However, we did manage to get the sheep through the second leg. Hemp had never seen sheep go through an obstacle before so he quickly ran around to the other side and pushed them back the way they came. Fortunately, I stopped him and sent him back, just as they were trying to escape through the side and put them back the correct way. We lost some for the retreat but at least we had a few more points than zero. When we got to the pen, we repeated the same problems I had with Lad. Hemp had been listening so well around the course but when I got to that pen I was irritated with the sheep so I sped him up and tried to stuff them in. Trouble is, if you speed Hemp up, you lose the stop and we still didn't get them in the pen but I did manage to screw up his stop and it punished me in the next few runs I had with him. Just a note, the Maltese cross and pen WERE doable and several people did them, I just wasn't one of those who figured it out. Hemp's first run was a 72 and ended up in 19th place and Lad's run was a 66 in 29th place. There were 56 dogs to the post.
The second day of open switched sheep and courses. The sheep were the farm flock from Ewesful Acres and were Scottish Blackface and some Katahdin, Dorper crosses. They certainly knew the field but moved off people and I found it to be a pleasant change. The outrun was run diagonally on the field and the Maltese cross was still at the end of the fetch. The trick on this day was the crossdrive. It was pretty much blind. I never did get it right. Hemp had his usual perfect outrun and lift but since I had lost my stop, I fought with him the rest of the way. I made my sheep through the first leg of the cross
Hemp and I starting the Maltese Cross
but a brain fade made me give him the wrong flank to turn them through the second leg. I apparently thought I was doing the cross from the day before and didn't notice my mistake until I realized that there was no way for me to help him get the sheep through since I was in the correct quadrant but I had put him to the wrong leg of the cross. More points off. I sure did think I had that crossdrive until I got near the fetch panels and realized I was in front of them and I had seen earlier that the line went behind them.
I was more awake for Lad's run and I got both legs of the cross (finally!),

Lad and I getting the Maltese cross
but I still couldn't get that crossdrive. I moved my line back farther, which made the drive entirely blind but I still wasn't in the right place. Very frustrating.
Lad at the beginning of the difficult drive
In the end, Lad placed 6th with an 85 and Hemp was19th with a 77.
Many of the handlers were regular students of Scott's and many of the dogs were pups out of his Pleat and they all looked good, so I had a silver lining to my bad runs at this trial.
My traveling partners also did well. Lisa Wright and her young Hope (a son of Alasdair MacRae's Sweep) placed in the first half of the first day and almost made it to the top half on the second day.

Lisa and Hope correct a missed second leg of the Maltese cross
This was their first Open trial and they handled it like old hands. Louanne Twa and her little blue merle, Isla (a daughter of Bobby Dalziel's Spot) were 9th the first day and WON the second day! I was so proud of her, and not just a little glad that we have a young pup out of her and Lisa's Hope to train. (Syn)
Open Day One:
1. Maggi McClure WA Kep 95
2. Karen Child OR Rock 95 (ties broken on OLF)
3. Martha McHardy BC Rhaq 94
4. Diane Pagel WA Tess 91
5. Sandy Johnson WA Nan 89
6. Ken Johnson WA Joe 88
7. Karen Child OR Jim 85
8. Martha McHardy BC Ceri 83
9. Louanne Twa ALB Isla 81
10. Donna Donahue WA Kate 80 (a Pleat daughter)

Open Day Two:
1. Louanne Twa ALB Isla 92
2. Brian Nelson BC Pleat 92 tie broken by outwork (a son of Scott's Pleat)
3. Noelle Williams WA Gael 91
4. Noelle Williams WA Nap 88
5. Ruedi Birendheide BC Teak 86
6. Jenny Glen ALB Lad 85
7. Laura Vishoot OR Ripley 85
8. Karen Child OR Rock 83
9. Bob Hickman WA Mojo 83
10. Patricia Pedersen WA Jenny 82

Pro Novice: (42 to the post)
1. Karen Mohney WA Grit 81
2. Pamela Harding WA Caymus 80
3. Ruedi Birendheide BC Scot 70
4. Noelle Williams WA Max 65
5. Maggi McClure WA Johnny 64
6. Jim Cooper WA Amos 63
7. Becki Maloney WA Kirby 60 (a Pleat grandson)
8. Gael Gann WA Sweet 60
9. Karen Combs WA Buddy 55
10. Becki Maloney WA Yank 55

Ranch: (20 to the post)
1. Kent Bradley WA Ming 75
2. Bob Hickman WA Trooper 63
3. Jorgen Perrson OR Merckx 60
4. Suzanne Anaya CA Yoko 60 (great grandaughter of Scott's old Sweep!)
5. Josie Cowan BC Tib 60
6. Dallas Carbaugh WA Drift 58
7. John Hellemand BC Annie 58
8. Jeff Marroni WA Boots 57
9. Judy Norris WA Abby 56
10. Ruedi Birendheide BC Nel 56

Nursery 1: (14 dogs)
1. Noelle Williams WA Max 65
2. Jim Cooper WA Amos 63
3. Patricia Pedersen WA Tessa 53
4. Maggi McClure WA Gwen 50
5. Dee Marroni WA Q 49
6. Laura Vishoot OR Tucker 43
7. Becki Maloney WA Finn 43 (grandson of Pleat)
8. Jorgen Persson OR Merckx 35
9. Linda DeJong WA Pooka 33 (granddaughter of Pleat)
10. Jeff Marroni WA Carmen 31

Nursery 2: (15 dogs)
1. Jorgen Perrson OR Merckx 74
2. Patricia Pedersen WA Tessa 70
3. Jeff Marroni WA Carmen 67
4. Linda DeJong WA Pooka 59
5. Jim Cooper WA Amos 58
6. Laura Vishoot OR Tucker 50
7. Maggi McClure WA Gwen 26
8. Donna Donahue WA Taff 18
9. Kathleen Torkelson WA Emma RT
10. Karen Child OR Chance RT

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