Monday, April 28, 2014

Stirling Acres Trial 2014

For the second year in a row we attended Lee Lumb’s  Spring Stirling Acres Trial in Coldstream, BC.  Although this trial is in the opposite direction from the majority of our destinations on this trip, it is the perfect place to dust off the cobwebs and introduce the young dogs to trialing.  It also helps us see where they are lacking, and we always schedule a week of just training after this trial to fix the problems we noticed on their first time to the post.   The field is flat green grass with katahdin-x, farm flock sheep.  Lee’s sheep are rare for a home flock in that they are not knee knockers, and not only are they not dead to humans, they also do not regroup behind your back while you try to call your dog in on the shed.   Lavon Calzacorta from Idaho was our judge and was very aware and considerate of this being most of Western Canada’s first field trial of the season. He often allowed handlers in the under classes to help their dogs find the sheep on the first day if they got lost on the outrun.
Setout was outstanding, because as we all know, setting a dog broke farm flock is never easy when they are ready to run away as soon as the dog is sent from the handler’s feet.  Jorgen Person set for all 3 days and was spelled out by Pam Boring and Chris Hanson during the Nursery classes.  Many thanks to all of them.
Friday started with the first class of Pro Novice.  Scott and Alice  ran well in this class,  but were topped by relative new comer, Gord Lazzaroto and his dog Oakley who should be proud!  The outrun on this field was deceptively hard and the sheep were hard to see.  More than one dog didn’t find their sheep or had difficulties.  Cy Peterson’s Erin, handled by Scott was one of the dogs that needed some handler help with redirects, but once she saw them she did fine and ended up in 13th place.  When I walked to the post with Ford, he had spotted his sheep, but he had also spotted the geese in the standing water on the right hand side of the field.  It was proper to send left, but I knew if I did that, Ford would cross over so I figured, “What the hey!  If you want to fetch in the geese, be my guest.” And I sent him right.  He ran out well and as he approached the geese and tried to lift them towards me, he figured out that it wasn’t quite right and was much more agreeable to taking my redirect after that.  His run was fair- a giant improvement on how he was running last year, and he did a nice pen placing 16th. This was the first trial my Mikey had ever gone to the post at and he had only outrun off the farm once before.  He didn’t seem to realize what he was there for let alone scoping the field for hard to see sheep.  I sent him and never got him out there.  Rather than bully him out for too long, I retired.  Fortunately, Lavon told me we had enough time if I wanted to walk out and help him find and exhaust his sheep so I did.  Once Mike found them, he stopped and flanked well as he fetched them in and it made me itch to try him again for real.  In the second Pro Novice of the day, Mikey had a perfect outrun and lift and did me proud by winning the class!  Scott and Erin also improved on their run and moved up to 6th place.  Alice had an odd sheep that wasn’t going to cooperate enough to get her another high score so Scott retired and Ford, although he had a much better run and ran out nicely to the left like I asked, gave me some trouble at the pen a la last year.  Still, he improved his score and moved up to 15th place.
The next morning it was damp and had a light rain for most of the morning, but dried up by the late afternoon.  We ran Open first and even a few of those dogs had trouble finding sheep.  Scott ran Don and surged to an early lead but was again topped by a newcomer, Jennifer MacDonnell and her dog, Diesel .  Jennifer is a great addition to this sport because of her cheery attitude (with good runs and bad) and this is the second year she has kicked butt and taken names at this trial in the open.  Laddie gave me a very good run but I just couldn’t see the crossdrive panels well enough to make them and it hurt us points wise.  He ended up in 8th place for the day.  Scott actually had a nice run going with Bliss but decided to make sure she had a good attitude for the start of the season and trained on her and retired in the shedding ring.  (you’ll see, it paid off later)  Hemp was giving me a fair run but it wasn’t up to the standards he had been giving me last year and when he didn’t take a flank in front of that difficult cross drive panel, we missed them and I decided to retire.
The next class was nursery and it’s always entertaining as the babies go to the post for their first time.  Scott had most of the class in his stable of dogs and traded off with others every couple of dogs.  He won it with Alice who was certainly the most experienced of the dogs.  Second place was her littermate, Flint, also handled by Scott, and owned by Jeanne Boudrieau.  Flint has been a challenge for Scott but he likes him very much so he was very happy to have him listening and trying to figure out what Scott wanted.  His outrun wasn’t perfect but he took a redirect and then saw the sheep and opened right up. By placing second, Flint earned his first leg towards the nursery nationals! Scott also handled Scott Kelso’s Joe to 8th place and Scott Johnson’s Tap to 9th.  Both of those dogs had difficulties on the outrun but looked really good once they got behind their sheep.  He also ran Diane Pagel’s Ben who wasn’t too bad on the outrun, but stopped short and then didn’t want to take his flanks on the fetch so Scott retired him to make a point to him.  Even though he was nowhere near ready for this class, I ran Try to get him the feel of new fields.  There was no lower class offered at this trial (like Pro Novice in the east with a smaller outrun and one leg drive) so I just decided to enter him and stop when he struggled.  He needed 4 redirects to get to the sheep as he had never been that far in his life, (250yrds)  but he had spotted them and did take my commands.  The set out dog got a little antsy and the sheep started to run before he got there.  I called him off, knowing it would only turn into a grip and Lavon gave me a rerun.  On his second outrun, he only needed two redirects and stopped at the top. He didn’t do very well with his flanks on the fetch and drive so I called him off before he got to the first drive panel.
Sunday’s open had a change of leaders, this time, Scott won it with Bliss.  His training on her the day  before paid off and she moved the sheep quietly around the course, dropping only 4 points.  Laddie ran very well for me.  The only difficulty he had was in the shedding ring.  They had started to rerun the sheep right before his run and there was only one set waiting in the exhaust pen.  They started calling to my sheep in the shedding ring and I had a very difficult time keeping them in the ring and it hurt my score.  Still we ended up in 3rd place and we were second place overall!  Don was running well for Scott but it just didn’t come together so he only placed in 10th.  Hemp ran very well, and felt like the dog he was last year.  Unfortunately, I had one sheep that  kept lagging behind and preventing him from getting a very high score.  At the post the lead two sheep surprised me and took off for the exhaust and the lagger and a pal hung back.  I sent Hemp to catch the sheep running and they came around the post to join the two laggers who never turned the post.  This caused me to have to take the whole group around again because if you don’t take all the sheep around the post, you are at the judges mercy and they might disqualify you.  We had a very good and quick shed, pen, and single and finished with a 7th place.
In the second nursery class, Scott and Alice again placed first.  This time, Flint was feeling his freedom a little too much so Scott called him off before Flint thought it was acceptable. Scott added Erin to this go round and she ran well enough to take 5th place.  Joe nailed the outrun and looked great around the course but missed both drive panels.  Joe is very young and Scott didn’t want to put too much pressure on him too soon so when the sheep ducked around them, Scott just let it go for Joe’s sake. He placed 6th this time around. Tap wanted to outrun on the sheep in the exhaust which is not unusual when young dogs start trialing.  Scott tried to redirect him but he was confused so he walked with him out to get his sheep and then he looked very good.  His score however was a retire.  Ben was better this time around and Scott said he was still having trouble with his fetch flanks but he made his panel and looked good to us spectators. He placed 7th. Try was a little more cocky on his second time to the post and wasn’t listening as well so when he busted the sheep on the drive away, I retired.
We’d like to thank everyone who was involved in this trial but especially Lee and Brian.  It’s a beautiful, well kept farm with great sheep and we plan to be back next year!

Pro Novice I (27 dogs)
1 Gord Lazzarotto Oakley 83
2 Scott Glen Alice 83
3 Lee Lumb Rando 81
4 Wayne Hadley-RobeDrtisck 81
5 Kathy Williams Pepe 80
6 Pam Boring Bob 79
7 Charmaine Henderson Fling 79
8 Julie Carter Hailey 78
9 Sue Wessels Skid 78
10 Charmaine Henderson Dan 77
Pro Novice II (27 dogs)
1 Jennifer Glen Mike 83
2 Sue Wessels Skid 82
3 Carol Nelson Mo 81
4 Gord Lazzarotto Oakley 81
5 Lee Lumb Rando 80
6 Scott Glen Erin 80
7 Pam Boring Sophie 79
8 Julie Carter Roy 78
9 Charmaine Henderson Fling 78
10 Carol Nelson Tiki 77
Open I (49 dogs)
1 Jennifer Macdonnell Diesel 92
2 Scott Glen Don 92
3 Thad Buckler Nic 92
4 Brian Nelson Pleat Jr. 92
5 Lynne Schweb Dex 88
6 Pam Boring Mirk 88
7 Lynne Schweb Toss 87
8 Jennifer Glen Lad 87
9 Carol Nelson Kale 87
10 Lee Lumb Cass 87
Open II (47 dogs)
1. Scott Glen and Bliss 106
2. Lee Lumb Nan 101
3. Jennifer Glen Lad 99
4. Thad Buckler Nic 99
5. Louanne Twa Craig 97
6. Jennifer Macdonnell Boomer 97
7. Jennifer Glen Hemp 96
8. Jennifer L'Arrivee Tweed 94
9. Jennifer Macdonnell Diesel  94
10. Scott Glen Don 93
Nursery I (14 dogs)
1 Scott Glen Alice 87
2 Scott Glen Flint 79
3 Lee Lumb (Bill Crawford) Bella 78
4 Lee Lumb (Daphne Tomblin) Sweep 78
5 Jennifer Macdonnell Harold 77
6 Nancy Barker Gwen 74
7 Louanne Twa Drift 72
8 Scott Glen Joe 63
9 Scott Glen Tap 57
10 Gayle Cochlan Tess  51
Nursery II (15 dogs)
1 Scott Glen Alice 86
2 Lee Lumb (Bill Crawford) Bella  85
3 Lee Lumb (Daphne Tomblin) Sweep 77
4 Jennifer Macdonnell Harold 76
5 Scott Glen Erin 75
6 Scott Glen Joe 70
7 Scott Glen Ben 70
8 Louanne Twa Drift 70
9 Gayle Cochlan Tess 62
10 Nancy Barker Gwen 55

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