Saturday, July 23, 2011

On the Road – Day 11

I was looking back at some of my posts, and realized I hadn’t uploaded any photos of Seamus’s dam, Tina’s Bree. I’d meant to, but I’m not exactly speedy at blogging, and uploading photos via my wimpy netbook over wi-fi while on the road tended to be a challenge, so apparently I missed adding them. Here’s Bree from July 9.

Bringing the work flock.

Turning on a dime!

The Nicomedes Gulch Trial in Monte Vista, Colorado, started with an Open trial on Friday, judged by Laura Hicks. Two Ranch and two Nursery trials were run on Saturday, with Renee LeBree and Laura each judging a Ranch and a Nursery class. The second Open trial was on Sunday, judged by Renee LeBree.

The sheep were a leased flock of about 250 3-to-4 year old ewes, run in groups of five. They’d been put through the set out pens and pushed down the field to the exhaust the day before in groups of about 20 or so, but on the first day of the trial, they were still very difficult. The set out was about 300-400 yards away, I think, but in a little grove of trees. They were held at the top by a pair of riders. A shallow ditch crossed the field just downfield from the setout (no water but muddy in some spots). Most folks sent right as it seemed more likely for the dogs to lose sight of the sheep behind the trees if they went left. Many dogs had trouble finding the sheep, and if the got to them, there was some trouble getting them going down the field. The sheep would play ring-around-the-rosey behind the trees with the dog, and other similar avoidance tactics. The dogs who got them coming down the field had a lot of work keeping them online. The turn at the post was counter-clockwise. As they neared the bottom, the sheep seemed to want to drift or even bolt to the right just above the post, so the dogs had push the sheep back left. But when the dog got them low enough, the sheep would balk at being pushed back to the right again. If the dog overcame all this, the sheep then tended to start running as they approached the drive panels. The crossdrive was in a general direction they seemed to like to go, if the dog got them turned, but then it was a push back to the shedding ring for the 2/3 split, and finally, a pen, where many handlers timed out and left those 10 points on the field. The leading score last I looked on Friday was a 58! After all that, it still wasn’t quite time to relax, as the sheep generally did not want to go to the exhaust, creating a lot of extra work.

I took lots of photos. I don’t know all the handlers so I am making some guesses based on the running order. If anyone knows for sure, please feel free to comment with an ID or a correction if I’m wrong.

Laura Hicks’s Jag, hanging out while Laura judged. 
He’s a littermate to Ryn (Newby’s and Bran’s dam). Doesn’t Newby look like him? 

Dan Keeton and Newby, awaiting their run.

Judge Laura Hicks and her clerk, Sondra, I think?

Tina LePlatt and Tess.

Tess working for that turn at the post.

Newt Robinson and his interestingly-colored Soot (blue, perhaps?), exhausting sheep.

Newby working at the post. He was very patient with one or two ewes that broke off again and again, but finally got fed up and gripped.

Sometimes the set just couldn’t get headed to the exhaust after the run, so the group in the exhaust would have to be pushed out of the pen to draw the smaller packet in.

Amelia Smith and Mirk in the shedding ring.

The set out. See the sheep between the trees and near the horse? The dog on course is straight left of the sheep and tree, but you may not be able to pick him out in this size photo.

Dan and York at the pen.

Newt Robinson and Mik, I think, trying to get around the post. 
There was a lot of this as the dogs got hot and frustrated with the unwilling sheep.

Joni Swanke and Sage (?) repeat the scene as they try to keep their set gathered in the shedding ring.

Sage: “And there’s more where that came from!”

Lise Anderson's Mack (?) at the lift (little dot to the left of the sheep).

The set out crew: Neighbor kid in the pen, Terry LePlatt, Tom (?).

View from above: Cathy Balliu and Dan at the post.

Cathy’s Dan turning in at the top.

A Red-winged Blackbird contemplates whether he's due for a pedicure.

Pushing sheep up to get the next set into the chute.

Boing! Boing! Boing! If you scroll down really fast, it'll be as if they're animated. ;) 

Neighbors’ barn.

This raptor took off right in front of me. Of course I didn’t have the camera ready, and it got away before I could get a good look at it. Cathy Balliu and I spent some time looking at a bird ID app trying to guess what it was. I finally settled on a Red-tailed Hawk as they are pretty common and it seemed to sort of fit. But now that I’m looking at this one photo I managed to get, 
I wonder if it could be an owl; it seems to have a white face and a cobby body.

Karen Stanley and Meg (?) trying to get around the post.

The creek (main irrigation ditch).

Gary Scott and Amelia Smith check the scores.

Jim Swift and Zac (?) get their 2/3 split. 
The sheep finally settled a little bit near the end of the day, 
and this was a really nice run if I recall correctly. 

Chuck Riley and Moss (?) at the pen. Another really nice run.

Someone with a cute puppy (possibly Joni’s).

Laura E’s Ike enthusiastically getting a better view of the action!

Pushing the flock out to gather the most recent set which wouldn’t go to the exhaust.

This ewe slipped through the barbed wire fence after one of the early runs, and spent the day next to the exhaust pen wishing she was in it with her friends.

When the majority of the flock was pushed out of the exhaust, she decided she'd rather came through the water than be left alone.

Sending most of the flock over the bridge to the night field.

Either Libby Nieder and Sydney (?) having their first run, or someone else having a re-run.

Next: Homeward bound (this post was long enough!), and working with Jack Knox.

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