Monday, August 30, 2010

Ten Days Of Trialing - Calgary Stampede Can't Top This

These will be the play by play description of our whirlwind dog trialing trip.
First it was to Brooks, Alberta for the EID Classic. I took a picture of the field on the day the fog settled in. We needed GPS to find the sheep and the dogs.
We had loaded up our four horses for the trip because each trial wanted the sheep settled by horse. Chris Hanson was on the mighty steed Toad (he's mighty since he is mine).

Chris (my Chris) rode Arnold (aka Widowmaker), Ben and Jan. There was a 2 second ride on Arnold that was done after 8 hours of riding - he had enough of working sheep. Sorry, no picture of that air flight.

Chris wore two hats - setter and handler.

We had brought our niece Hanna, and nephews Joey and Mathew along for the ride. Mathew worked up at the pens with the sheep, Joey came to run his Joy dog, and Hanna ran Auntie off of her feet. It is exactly 100 paces from watching the trial to the outhouse.
Joey also was my photographer of the trip - What's Up?
Joey had some competition with Joy this year - he was beaten narrowly by Grant Musgrove's daughter Bailey. The young ones are here to remind us old guys that this is all for fun. I hope these youngsters carry on. On the third day of the trial, Joey was literally walking in his sleep. I asked whether he wanted to go home or go to the next trial. His response - "I want to go dog trialing."
Here I am with Gin (I think) - Joey was taking the pictures. Thought he was pretty good getting both the horse and sheep in the shot.
Naps were taken anytime there was an opportunity.

Hanna giving Gin a massage.
Watching the line from any angle is the key to having a good run. Hanna helped with the line all of the time.
The last day, it was a little rainy - I maintained that the sun would shine by keeping on my shorts. Joann Zoerb was a great host, and she got into the double lift with Mik.
I got Fly into the double lift, didn't do spectacular. Dog trialing is humbling-from hero to zero in 10 minutes.
Ian Zoerb took time to relax when he could. Once again, a well run trial, and very good time was had. George Stambulic and Kate was the winners when the final tallies were done.

Then it was on to Shaunovan, Saskatchewan. Hanna became very proficient in blowing a whistle. Perhaps she will trial as well, but right now she wants to be a model.

Mathew took a well deserved rest from working in the pens. Glad to say the kids stayed well behaved during the trip - Auntie can growl when she needs to.
Joey ran Joy in the novice class. Joy is a little slow and couldn't keep the sheep from the exhaust, but some adults had trouble as well.
Some people showed great anxiety waiting at the post.

There was time to visit with family. Chris's Uncle Joe lives in Shaunovan. He came every day to watch the dogs.
Then it was off to Maple Creek. Except for a clutch problem in the truck, the event was uneventful. The kids were still good, and Reese Amonson and Joey became businessmen and open their own bottle depot. Gummie bear stocks were increased this weekend. Here they are managing the mighty Toad.

Joey toodled around on Ben when he had a chance.

Joey and Joy had an exhibition run at Maple Creek. It was a great field.

On Saturday I took the kids home. I think Hanna will likely sleep for a week. I know I sure could.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

And The Western Canadian Finals Are Final

Well, the continuing saga of the Western Canadian Finals continue. I had a pretty good score with Fly going in, and needed another fair run to get in - but it wasn't in the cards (or sheep). They decided to go off course into the the camping section during the fetch, thus a disqualification. Fly did get them out of the camper's village and bring them back on course-funny how the year before there was a silent gather, in the same field, in the same direction, and she won it - could she be getting old? Gin had a pretty fair run, I missed the second set of drive panels because I wanted a close turn - and maybe if I would have got them, I would have been in the finals - we missed getting in by 6 points - close but no cigar!
I stayed in Maple Creek as long as I could, but since I had the kids with me, and they had to go home, I packed them up, and most of the dogs, and flew back home. I also had a wedding to go to of my neice's, which I missed, but planned to go to the reception. It was a quick trip home, and by the time I got to Calgary it was 9:30 - lost trying to find the Glencoe Golf Club. There I was - dressed up and nowhere to go. I thought, this has been a great anniversary for Chris and I today (17 years)-him setting sheep for the Western Canadians, and myself getting lost in Calgary for a reception. I turned around and went home and went to bed - a sleep I needed desperately. Maybe God was thinking about me, because as I was curled up on the couch watching Coronation Street, the top 10 in Maple Creek were wallowing in clay due to a storm that hit during the night. Tractors had to be used (I am told) to get campers out of the field.

Congratulations to the following.
1. Ian Zoerb and Freckles (also winner of Jean Walker Memorial Trophy and Driving Champion)
(he may have to increase the size of his truck for the large head he may have).
2. Dale Montgomery and Zip - Reserve Champion (and winner of Best Shed)
3. Joann Zoerb and Mik
4.Jennifer Larivee and Spot (something tells me this is her first double lift!)
5. Bob Stephens and Pete
6. Lee Lumb and Chica
7 Louanne Twa and Isla (her first double lift - way to go!!)
8George Stambulic and Kate
9 Chris Jobe and Fly
10 Milton Scott and Ben (Winner of Best Pen)

The winner of the Nursery Finals was Lee Lumb and Jeb, Reserve Champion was Donald Grant and (I believe) Brutus. This is Don's first trial season, and has done well. Lisa Wright was third with her new bitch (after a stellar run for the second run), and I was fourth with Creed.

Most of the handlers are going to Meeker, Soldier Hollow and such, and wish them good luck! I still wish I could go down as well, but I better become responsible, which is a hard thing to do. After 3 weeks though, Fly and Gin and I are going to travel with Corey Perry and Jill and tackle the USBCHA Finals in Virginia - maybe we are saving the best for last? Only time will tell.

Friday, August 27, 2010

The Challenge of Saskatchewan

Well, after EID, we loaded up the kids, dogs, horses and ourselves and went to the Shaunavon Classic. The sheep were a little tricky - very flighty at the pen, so there were only a few pens. Bob Stephenson was the judge, and in the end, Scott Glen's Don was the Big Weiner. Fly and Gin fared not too badly, but did not make any money (paid to top 4 spots, and then overall awards). It was a great, well run trial, and Jamie VanRyn and her group should be very proud of themselves. It sounds like the Shaunavon Classic may be Saskatchewan's Meeker with the town's support.
It was during this trial that Stormy Winters showed his prowess as a reproductive expert when he noticed my Creed had mastitis (and Scott Glen and Herbert Holmes almost lost all their drinks through their noses). Creed is my two year old male.
I am not sure what the travel gods are doing, but they always rear their ugly head on some of our trips. The clutch of our truck went, and Chris, the kids and the horses limped to Maple Creek for the Western Canadian Championship. Thanks to fellow handlers, my trialing family was saved, and brought to the trial field. We bunked down in several campers for the night, and I found out I am very partial to Fresca (and Vodka) - a delightful beverage.
We finished our first run at Maple Creek for the Western Canadian Championships - George Stambulic and Kate was first with 88, Fly is tied at 7/8 with a 75, and Gin, bless her heart, crossed over and spent 19 points - we ended up with a 55. We are thinking about a 150 to get into the double lift - which will be held on Sunday. Creed ran not too bad - finishing 3rd for the day, Floss had fun today - will definitely have to work on her drive.
On Saturday, I will run early, and then make a quick trip back to Calgary for a wedding, and take the kids back. Our truck will be ready on Monday (they say) and we will be able to come home. I will pray to the trial gods tonight - I definitely want to play again!

Monday, August 23, 2010

EID Classic's a Classic

Well, went to Ian and Joann Zoerb's trial - EID Classic - fifth year and running well. They had 85 dogs to run per day, and Herbert Holmes of Texas was the judge. He was the fellow who shaved my hair off in Oregon last year (there are pictures in a past post). Had a good time - got Fly into the double lift -we finished last, but someone has to be last right? Was trying to show off driving panels and it bit me in the butt. Oh well, still glad the old girl could hold her own and get in. Along with the multitude of dogs we have brought (7 jack russells, 15 border collies and 5 border collie puppies), also brought our 4 horses (Chris had set for EID and will be setting for Shaunovan and the Westerns), and our 2 nephews and 1 niece. The kids have been really good (auntie has the eye - they know when they have stepped out of turn). I really don't know how mothers handle it - I am exhausted. It is likely the little things that they say that make you laugh. I was telling a fellow handler I had wished I had got my shed and pen with Gin and Hanna, the three year old, piped up and said, "Me and Grandma can buy you a pen!" - and then found a nice pen in the truck for me. Joey, her brother, ran his dog Joy, and the last day we got up (which was 5 am every morning), it was a hard thing to get the sleep out of his eyes. I asked if this was too much, did he want to go home or do more dog trialing. His response - "I want to go to a dog trial." He is even critiquing other dogs now - I may have created a monster.

You would have thought the straw of the camel should have been this morning - we stayed over at the trial field and we slept in our stock trailer - the kids in the truck. The kids woke up happy, and we went on the road again. I have just struck "sleeping in a trailer" off my list of things I must do before I die. Who needs a bed and breakfast, where you get the fragrance of roses, when one can get the soft smell of horse manure all day after sleeping in a trailer?

Found a library in Shaunovan to write this blog, and once again, will have to do pictures at a later date. We are here for a couple of days for the Shaunovan Classic, and then back towards Maple Creek for the Western Finals. On the Saturday I have a wedding in Calgary to fly back to - I really must be crazy. But it is still fun.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Finally Pictures!!

Finally the internet has returned, so here are a few pictures from the trip to Kingston.
No trip to Kingston is complete without visiting the Kingston Penitentiary.

And then there are the big ships that can go through the seaway.
Kingston skyline.

A little history in Fort Henry can be found.
Our friends, Greg and Carolyn Hale who I stayed with, has a daughter who goes every summer with the cadets. When they graduate they show off their ability to do marching drills.

They were real troopers when there was a sudden downfall of rain. They only packed up when the lightening came.

Then there was the Kingston Trial of course - 110 dogs over 4 days.

Handlers names would be in lights for the crowds to watch. They expected 9 thousand people over the weekend to come for the dogs. I had actually ran into a couple from Didsbury, Alberta who had changed their annual flight back to see family in Ontario specifically to watch the dogs run.

There was crafts of every sort - weaving, pottery, clothing, dog related material. Honestly, everyone should experience it at least once.
The handlers are always treated to entertainment on the Saturday night before the double lift. This year, bellydancers graced the floor.

Notice how Dick Williams was front and center for the show.
This girl was quite good, and did amazing things with this sabre. No limbs were lost in her dance.
After the entertainment, the handlers were fed a great supper.

The day of the double lift, the crowds were treated to participant from Fort Henry.

Even though the day was full of rain, there was still a huge crown which came out just to watch the dogs.
Here Gin and I started out on our drive.

And then we did the shed.
It was slow going, but we got it accomplished with 3 points taken off.
I had about 3 1/2 minutes left when I got to the pen.
When we finally got the sheep in, we had about 1/2 minute left on the clock. The whole 25 minutes were needed in this course.

We got out of the rain to get the group pictures done.

The final scores.
Great times, great people, great trial.

Monday, August 16, 2010

August - Trials and Tribulations

Well I was hoping to get some pictures up on here, but the day after I arrived home from Ontario, there was a thunderstorm, and knocked out service to those of us with dial up, and Telus has no idea when it will be fixed. Possibly it is the techno gods telling us to get with the times. We'll give it some time yet. Nonetheless, life goes on. We went to Ponoka yesterday for an arena trial during their Country Fair. Russ Finlay, Corey Perry, Carl Sneddon, George Walker and Norm Schmuland were there (plus myself) to compete with our dogs. First we ran on Russ's hair sheep, and then the second run was on Norm's wool sheep. The top five that got in was Carl and Fan, Russ and Bryn, Corey and Jill, Norm and Rose and myself and Creed. Yes Creed, - Norm's sheep took Fly and Gin out of the running - and my young dog got in. I have decided he will likely make a better field dog than an arena dog. The day before I did a little training on him, and he was about 95% correct on his flanks. At the trial, he turned out to be 50%. And he didn't have a lie down at all - thus our 5th place finish. After the trial, we went back to the field, and he was back to his 95% plus. Guess they all can't do it all, maybe it is his age - perhaps it is my anxiousness in the arena - perhaps he is an idiot. The jury is still out.
Today, I worked the sheep on my young dogs - Floss and Hope. They are both coming along quite nicely. I think I have Floss entered at the next upcoming trial - basically it will be a donation - I have this thought you should have them out there just to get exposure to it. Who knows, maybe she will get her first leg for the nursery for next year. Or possibly she will get her first leg of lamb.
Chris is busy finishing up haying - he will be setting sheep at the EID, Shaunavon Classic and Western Canadian Finals - guess it is our holiday. We'll be bringing our niece Hanna and her brothers Joey and Mathew, and all of our dogs. Haven't figured out where we will put everyone yet - I may have to stuff the kids in with the dogs as well, they are small enough.
After all of these trials, I am going to relax and get back to work. I had taken the summer off this year, and it certainly has gone by fast. I came to the realization that life is short, and one should make as much out of it as possible - thus the next decision. I have it in my head to go to the Worlds in England next year with Gin. If she continues to run like she does, I shouldn't make too much of a fool of myself. It is too bad Fly is getting older - this will likely be her last year in the field - she sure is running nice these days. She sure has taught me a lot in her lifetime. I really hope some of her offspring can fill in her shoes in the years to come.
I imagine I have just tempted fate, and now we will run like crap on these upcoming trials. And when we do, I will remember, it still is fun, and the dogs are having fun - and in the big world, it doesn't really matter. And if there are any handler who reads this, and I am looking glum after my runs in the next couple of weeks- do me a favor and kick me in the butt. But not too hard.

Monday, August 9, 2010

The Feeling Continues!!

Well, it has been a great trip to Kingston. After two rounds, I and Gin got in the double lift at the Kingston Sheep Dog Trials by the skin of our teeth - I am not sure about Gin, but I do believe I created another ulcer watching the rest of the dogs run until the fat lady sang (LA LA). There was about 20 dogs that if they had a good run, would have bumped us out of the double lift finals. Christine Henry and Robin French and I all had 145s going in, and with the help of some pixie dust, judiciously placed on some runs (sorry people) - we all got in. Sunday was a good day to run, not too hot at all. I ran 11th, and I and Gin watched all the previous runs (okay, well Gin played with a stick most of the time). When we went up, Robin and Zac had a 234, which was leading the competition - when Gin and I finished, we had a 234 as well. WE COMPLETED OUR FIRST INTERNATIONAL SHED AND PEN!!!! Is really too bad Gin crossed over on her 2nd outrun (totally my fault, didn't set her up right, and was trying to show off a swallowtail - I will know better next time). Cripes, IF we had done the 2nd outrun right, and IF we got full points, it would have been a score of 274, which would have beat Amanda and Clive's 269 score. So, in my little brain, Gin and I won the 2010 Kingston Sheep Dog Trial. However, in reality, Amanda and Clive won it, Robin French and Zac was 2nd and we were third (tie break due to the outrun, lift and fetch). It was a great trial, and those who haven't made it yet - please do, you won't be disappointed!

Pixie dust is now being made for the next month. You can buy yours at 1-800 PIX DUST. If you ask nicely, I will give you some of mine.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Fun In The Hot Damp Sun

Why are my trips always come with challenges - I feel like I am on Survivor at times. I packed up Gin and flew out to Ottawa, however, mother nature thought she should dump on Ottawa. Thunderstorms made us circle around Ottawa for 45 minutes, and the pilot said there was too much water on the runway (I don't like to hydroplane on water either, so it was a good choice). We got dumped off at Toronto, and the next flight was going to be at 10:30 that night (was supposed to arrive in Ottawa at 4 pm that day). I decided I may as well rent a car from Toronto, since my friend's place is in Napanee, which is half way between the two places. Then the Budget fiasco started. First of all, found out that since I wasn't going to be able to pick up the vehicle at Ottawa, they were going to charge me another $50 for not doing so, and they couldn't do any changes to the rental agreement. I was ready to go balistic, but I remembered the tazer incident in Vancouver and decided I did not want a repeat performance to occur. If I cancelled the agreement and rented another vehicle, it would have cost me 3 times of the cost I had paid. So.....I rented a car for the day (which cost me 1/2 of the total that I paid to rent in the first place), went to Kingston to run Fly and then drove to Ottawa, returned that car, and picked up my original SUV I wanted. Now I can focus on the trial more.

Picked up Fly from Amanda's, and she was so happy to see me - and she was still in standing heat (guess she could have travelled with me and it would have been okay, but my crystal ball was out for a cleaning that day). Sat and watched the runs yesterday morning, and a few 85s were done (Mary Thompson and Beauty made the first one, 2nd dog up and we thought the sheep were going to be very sweet - but that was not to be the case). The top scores were mid 80s - they are adding a single into the run so it is out of 110 points. I got 61 (without a pen or single) with Fly - we ran in mid day - VERY HOT AND HUMID - the ewes were on a fight, so Fly had her work cut out for herself, and we were just able to get the shed done. The weather is supposed to be cooling down, so hopefully she can do better. They think that it will be 130 points to get in - so will strive for a good score on Friday with her. Running Gin in the afternoon today, so we will see what the sheep will be like. Hot again today, the sheep will likely be very heavy later in the day.
Tonight will be spent with my friends at Napanee, and catching up on visiting - seems like everytime I come, we hardly visit because of the trial. Carolyn and Laura will be coming to watch during the weekend. They expect 9-10 thousand visitors over the weekend because of the good weather forcast. Will definitely take pictures and post them later.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Finally Home - For A Day

Well, we (meaning me and the dogs, Chris had to stay home to do hay) returned from our mini holiday. We first stopped at our ranch in Alder Flats for the night before heading up to Dawson Creek, BC for Jean and Denis Gelling's trial - a very fun trial, and I am planning to go back next year.
I had stopped in at Corey Perry's also for a day and did some brushing up, as well as the Robert's residence to borrow a bed on the journey up north. This has been the furthest north I have ever been, and can see why people like it. The scenery was great.
We all cracked our dogs out for the outruns set before us.
My hero is Holly Crichton - not one of us should complain-she has taken life by the horns and made it her own. We are the master of our own destiny.

And talking about destiny - I am always destined to have some trouble on the road - I stayed at Ken Price's, and one morning I discovered a flat on my truck - luckily Ken could pump me up and I could get it into town before it went flat again.

I stayed till the bitter end - always like watching the double lift - but it is always more fun if you could be in it - missed it this time by 1 point (not that it matters, I still missed getting in).
Ken Price and Creed were crowned champions (or weiners as I like to call him).
Then after Dawson Creek, and a quick stop in Edmonton to drop Fly at airport to Kingston, I went to Pleasantdale, Sask to visit Norm and Bev Sommer. It wasn't all dog training though - we helped a neighbor move their yearlings to another field.

Quads, horses and dogs were used - no wrecks occurred, and we got the job done.

I however, do not like quads - honestly I am afraid of going down inclines - so if you see me moving slowly in a trial, you know what is going through my mind - "I am going to tip, I am going to tip!"

After a few days of training and dog dealing (Bev now owns my Syd-I guess it is her Syd now)- I made it towards Lloyminster, Alberta for an arena trial. I stopped at Denholm to visit my neice Robyn and her husband Brendan. I was throwing a ball with a string, it got caught in a tree, and found this nest - if you see carefully you can see two fledglings in the branches. I am not much of a bird watcher, but they looked like cardinals or something. All I am sure is that they weren't turkeys. And I wasn't able to retrieve the ball.
The dogs romped about and played ball with Brenden, and their dog Polly
joined in as well
After the workout, they enjoyed a cool dip in the pool. The Deholm community pool.
Finally we made it to Lloyminster and did two days of trialing. It was a really fun time - weather was good, sheep were even, and laughing was done.
Saw some people I hadn't seen for awhile - one being Judy Finseth. Lots of visiting was done, and I think this will be a repeat trial for me next year.

I had Creed in the Pro-Novice, and Gin in the Open.
Creed was second on day one, and first on day two. Gin was first on day one, and fifth on day two. They both won me jackets for high point accumulation (Good Dogs!!!)
We packed up yesterday, stopped at Jill Brodie's to drop her dog off who was travelling with me from Sommer's, and finally got home. Today, I have a few things to do, then Gin and I will join Fly tomorrow in Kingston for the Kingston Trial. Think I will sleep on the plane.
I think Gin will sleep as well.
The fun continues!!!!