The Real Time Canine II

After spending 2 years writing the Real Time Canine, the adventure continues with The Real Time Canine II. Read along as I look for just the right puppy to continue the experience. After false starts with Tim and Jed, I am currently training young Tam, and Spot, which are both off to a strong start. Please visit the RTC II to read about training sessions as they occur.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Sonoma on Sunday

Tree-dee Construction
On Sunday morning it was still pouring, and mother nature had brought on the wind over night. I was woken by it a couple times, and mentally kissed my pop-up goodbye after leaving it trial-side to shelter competitors. Bridget and I were one of the first to arrive at Sandy's about 6:15am, because Star ran 2nd on the hill field. We were the first to be stopped directly behind a massive live oak that had blown down straight across the Milberg's driveway and major thoroughfare, Calistoga Road. Sandy's tree guy was already working even though it was pitch black, a fire truck was there, with the County Road Crew and CHP in route. Bridget had warned me on the way down to drive carefully because of the possibility of downed trees. She could have said inevitability, and been even more correct in her assessment.

After a couple hours of watching, helping and mostly staying out of the way, the show went on. Water everywhere and it was still raining. There had been precious little let up on Saturday and Sunday promised more of the same. The hill field resembled a slip and slide with water pouring off it in tendrils, and one big stream. The pen area had become a bit of a bog. Ireland's Frank Cashen with scribe, bless their hearts, were perched under a surviving pop-up with make-shift sides. A tiny propane heater at their feet, they judged and notated in completely inhospitable conditions with a smile on their lips. True die-hards those, and the set out crew was still at it.

The Hill Field
Just above the field Sandy's driveway winds to her home. Across the road is a deep pond that was now spewing vast over flow through a large culvert down a rock-lined incline that bisects the field. On Sunday it was a rushing river for the dogs to either cross on the outrun, or not. It had to be crossed on the way to the post by hands and dogs, and on the way to the exhaust by hands, dogs and sheep, and I waded carefully, ankle deep for fear of landing on my already wet enough ass. Another small, but deceptively tricky course that starts with a blind outrun, progresses to a hazardous fetch down the face of the hill, then turns to a drive requiring that you not only make panels, but 2 huge oak trees marked with orange tape beyond a left turn after the drive away panel. It's such a releif to gain the shed ring, marked with sopping bumps of shavings that could have come from the downed oak, but didn't.
Sandy's Raffle
The sheep had been flipped from one field to the other on Sunday, and were working surprisingly well. There were the odd sets that gave a fight, but for the most part, they moved easily with steady pressure from the good dogs. I saw some beautiful runs on Sunday including Mandy Harley's with Jackie who finished 2nd. Both of my dogs ran well here as well. Mirk had an awkward ewe that had to be continually stopped and returned to her peers making his lines a bit wobbly, but his split, pen, single finish was effortless and workmanlike, even if Frank didn't like my selection on the single. My bad, no fault of the dog there. He showed unusual patience around the course, and I was happy with him.

Little Star man showed maturity way beyond his 2.5 years, got lost of the outrun requiring a re-direct or 2, but was steady-Eddy everywhere else with only 3 off a demanding little drive and a pretty stand-up finish. I can't seem to buy a finals qualifying point on Mirk, but added 4 or 5 more to Star's big bunch. He finished 6th garnering a lovely 2004 bottle of Clos du Bois Merlot and a check! Thanks Sandy. And wouldn't you know...the sun broke through just as the awards were handed out. Agh!

Grapevine in Winter

Bridget and I packed up and left that afternoon, hoping to get across the always-challenging grapvine without interference from mother nature. No luck. It was closed by the time we got several hundred miles south of the trial, so we stopped at my all-time favorite stopping place, Harris Ranch and crashed...again. Instead of staying in one of those oh-so-plush rooms that I just love, we just parked in the lot and hunkered down in the RV looking foward to breakfast after missing it for a few days. CHP was having breakfast there too, and told us that the grapvine was open but cars were being escorted across. The escort was gone by the time we got there, but the rain was still falling, and it had snowed heavily on the mountains.

Dexter as Fashion Accessory
I'm home now, and it's still raining. I can't complain when it rains at a dog trial, because I am trialing after all. Sandy and her crew did a bang up job and worked their tails off harder than usual so I could have some fun with my dogs and my friends. I appreciate that mightily. Can't wait for next year.

No comments:

Post a Comment