Sunday, April 26, 2009

Can It Get Any Better?

Last weekend (April 18th & 19th) Reason was running in an AKC herding trial in Advanced B sheep.  The sheep were hard to pen and many experienced dogs and handlers weren't getting the five Katahdins into the free standing pen. On Saturday, we didn't get any further than the pen because I rushed the process and got them circling the pen and decided to retire our run.  But on Sunday, it felt like I spent almost the entire 10 minutes at the pen - patiently waiting for all them to decide that that was a safer place to go.  Reason was working one side of the pen and I had the rope and was working the other side.  He was patiently walking in a few inches and stopping as we would wait for the sheep to settle before I would have him walk up a few inches again.  The cold wind and rain was blowing hard and I thought my left arm that was holding onto that rope was going to get so weak that the gate would blow back into the sheep and scatter them away from that opening.  Patience, focus, and Reason listening to my commands finally got the sheep into the pen.  After the pen, these sheep set up for a shed really nicely and Reason came in and held the two on the end.  That was his HXBs title, which rounds up all the A course & B course advanced titles on him (he already had his herding championship).
Now fast forward to this past weekend (April 24th, 25th, & 26th).  It's a three day obedience trial at St. Paul Dog Training Club in South St. Paul, Minnesota.  Reason is entered in Open B and Utility B all three days.  The obedience trial has been designated as an AKC National Obedience Invitational Regional Qualifier (for more information on these events, click here). Reason just loves obedience and considers it just as fun as agility, which is why I love going into the obedience ring with him.  He gives his all on each exercise, burning rubber on the way out and just as fast on the way back to me. And he just floats at my side when he heels with me. 
It wasn't a surprise to me that this event drew in some of the best competition from the surrounding states along with a couple of dogs from states that required a flight into town. 
We started off on Friday qualifying in both classes with great runs, but a bobble in each class kept us out of the placement.  On Saturday, he was 1/2 point out of the placement in Open B with a 198 1/2 (1st & 2nd place was a 199 1/2, 3rd & 4th place was a 199). In Utility B, he had a great run but nearly grabbed the wrong article in his race to find it but figured it out quickly and got the correct one.  I was pleased going home on Saturday night knowing that we had gotten UDX legs 6 and 7.  When I arrived at the trial this morning, I found out that Reason was actually in the lead as the 4 top qualifying dogs for the Invitational invite. I was thrilled to know this and just focused on our performances for the day.  Our Utility B run was a great run, with a 198 and 4th place (tied for 3rd).  He had a decent run in Open B, but not good enough to place.  This gave us UDX leg 8 and the icing on the cake was that Reason ended up in the lead for the regional qualifier.  
Because of the number of herding and agility trials we compete in, there is no way that we could ever qualify for the National Obedience Invitational with a breed like the Border Collie.  What an honor to be able to qualify for this prestigious event in Long Beach, California from a weekend of trials like this. But then again, the honor really is that I have such an amazing and versatile partner, Reason.  
Obedience photos by Great Dane Photos.

4 comments:

  1. oh I just love reading stories like this! Versatility at its finest! ummm, and let's see, how old is Reason? I believe he will turn 10 this June:>) The puppy I dubbed Da Bear and Tugboat in his litter, is one amazingly gifted Tri Boy! Well done to you both especially since you were not even trying to qualify for this event!

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  2. Congrats, Nancy. You both did a great job!!

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  3. Nancy, just read your story about qualifying for the NOI. I wondered who had and am so pleased that you did in great style! Great Teamwork!

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