Tuesday, October 25, 2016

First AKC Herding Trial!

We attended and helped host our first ever AKC herding trial over the weekend, and it was a LOT of work! The trial had both sheep and geese to herd, and was held at a local park that has horse arenas. We had to build the holding pens for the animals, sheep-proof the arenas, and practically terraform the place on Friday. Then on Sunday we had to take it all down again. Various bumps in the road on the way to success included the person making our awards bailing two weeks before the trial, poisonous castor bean plants growing on one of the competition fields, and finding a baby rattlesnake hanging out in a sheep pen on Saturday morning.
working Australian cattle dog
This is an old picture, I didn't have time to get pics at the actual trial.
Photo by Candy Lidstrom

Oh yes, and Godzilla and Zip and I actually competed in this trial! I was so busy helping that actually participating felt like an afterthought. The girls did great though! They were both entered in Started A, the most beginning of the big kid herding classes. There were more than 20 other dogs in the same class, many of them handled by herding instructors and people with a whole lot more experience than I have. Amazingly, Zip and I won third place on Saturday! We scored 93 out of 100, which is pretty amazing given that scores over 90 are considered very, very good. Godzilla and I got a qualifying score of 71, I'm more proud of that than Zip's placement. Moving sheep nicely is so, so hard or Sis!

Sunday didn't go quite as well. Zip and I got a qualifying score of 94, better than Saturday but no placement because everyone else did amazingly well too. Godzilla was seriously under exercised by the time her turn arrived, and we were dismissed from the ring for too much sheep biting. I laughed, told my dog she was wonderful, and paraded out of the ring like we had completed a perfect run. I know my dog will always do her very best for me, and I want her to feel like a million bucks every time we walk into a show ring of any type.

So Zip now has two legs towards her first AKC herding title. Godzilla has one leg, and I know how we can do better next time. The trial is over, and we are spending the week resting. And putting stuff away. So much stuff. Only three months till the next trial!

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