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On Saturday, 7 June, 2008, I competed in a sheepdog trial in Neumarkt im Mühlkreis near Waldburg in Upper Austria.
I ran with Puppy, Gael and Myf in 2nd class and with Faro and Mossie in 1st class. There were two runs for each competitor in both classes.
The judge was Kai Haus from Germany.

View at the trial field

I achieved the best placement with my 13-year-old Puppy. She was 4th! I took her with me just for fun and recreation and initially I didn't plan to run twice with her. But she enjoyed it so much, so I decided to let her run again (OK, the fact that she was my best/only placed dog in 2nd class after the first run "maybe" had something to do with that decision :-)).
But let me start from the beginning.
In 1st class there were 14 dogs and Faro and I started as the 2nd pair. That ended pretty fast. Faro made a terrible outrun (I sent him to the left, a bit up the hill). Then, instead of fetching the sheep to me, he started to chase them away. I called him back and that was that. I must say I was really disappointed. I knew that Mossie and Faro are not quite ready for trialing, but that... that was too much.
Next was Mossie. Outrun was OK (she lost 12 points, but 10 of those 12 she lost because I decided to move from the post halfway to the sheep). Lift and fetch were a bit messy, she lost 7 and 10 points. At driving we had some problems in the beginning (she lost 14 points), but at "stabilisieren" (immobilising the sheep) and at pen she lost only 1 point each.

Myf, Gael, Faro, Mossie & Puppy

In 2nd class there were also 14 dogs starting, 4 of them out of competition (they were dogs from 3rd class, competing just for practice).
First I ran with Gael, then with Myf and then with Puppy.
I was happy to start first with Gael because I feel most confident with her (Myf is still inexperienced and Puppy... well, she's old and deaf :-)). From the beginning Gael's sheep seemed awkward. At the outrun Gael lost 3 points and at lift 5. Fetch was really good, Gael lost only 1 point. But she lost a lot of points at drive (usually that's Gael's strong point, but this time something went wrong) - 19 minus. At shedding, despite all our efforts, we couldn't stand a chance with those sheep. Gael really needs a microscopic gap to shed, but those sheep were glued together. And what was even worse, Gael couldn't come closer than 10 meters to them without sheep starting to panic. After the 2nd unsuccessful shed, where Gael singled one sheep, that sheep started to run away to the direction of holding pen in full speed. I sent Gael to outrun the sheep and she managed to do so near the helpers who bring the sheep to the post. When she fetched that sheep back, I tried to shed again for a minute or so, then I retired because I saw that all our efforts were useless.
Myf, who was next, lost 4 points at the outrun, being too tight at the top (I presume) and consequently lift was rough (she lost 5 points). At the fetch she lost 6 points and at the drive 17. We struggled to shed two sheep off. When we finally did it, while I was waiting and looking at the judge to see if he would announce that shed was satisfactory, those two sheep ran away to the holding pen (the same as Gael's sheep). Myf was too young and inexperienced to be able to bring them back, so I retired (getting more and more frustrated).
Then it was Puppy's turn. As she is going much tighter to the sheep now when she's old, she lost 5 points at the outrun, but only 2 at the lift. I knew that after the lift it was God's will if she'd fetch them through the gates or not, because she really can't hear a thing when she is away from me. Unfortunately, she missed the gates and almost all points at the fetch. At the drive there was again some difficulty with hearing my commands, so she lost 12 points. Quite fast we managed to shed two off (she lost 3 points) then to pen (no points lost).

Watching Barbara Weinrauch and Tom

Claudia with Spot, June and Mawlch Gunn

In the second run the same story with Faro... I sent him to the right a bit down to hill this time, he started nicely and then really near the sheep he crossed in front of them. Again lifting and fetching the sheep to somewhere (it was a bit more closely to my direction but not exactly :-)) and I was forced to call him off.
Mossie was again much better than I expected. She lost 10 + 4 points at the outrun, 8 at the lift, 15 at the fetch. Driving was better than in first run, she lost 10 points, at "stabilisieren" no points were lost and at the pen 2. One sheep almost ran beside the pen gate, but Mossie successfully blocked her. I never had an opportunity to even train penning with Mossie, but she showed some natural talent for that. Altogether... 5th place for Mossie. Not bad.
In the second run Gael lost 4 points at the outrun (being a good outrunner, maybe she wouldn't lose so much, but I deliberately sent some of my dogs once to the right and once to the left) and 6 points at the lift. Fetch was again good, she lost only 2 points and the drive again not so good, she lost 20 points (we missed second gates). This time we managed to shed, but time ran out just when I opened the pen gate. With points from only one run, Gael was 10th altogether.
Sending Myf to the left was good for her and she lost only 1 point at the outrun. At the lift she lost 4 points and only 2 at the fetch. Driving was also good, Myf lost 8 points. Time ran out before we managed to shed two off. Like Gael, with points from only one run, Myf gained 9th place (she was 3rd in 2nd run).
At the second run Puppy made a bit better outrun (she lost 3 points), slightly worse lift (she lost 3 points) and the same fetch :-) (she lost 19 points). At the drive some sheep missed both gates and Puppy lost 22 points. The shed and the pen the same as in the first run, she lost only 3 points at shed. As I wrote at the beginning, she gained 4th place.

Just to mention that in 1st class winner was Claudia Fischer with her young June. Sincere congratulations!


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