In At The Deep End

Well what can I say……

Danby Show held in the North Yorkshire Moors area is a show I have been attending for many years, usually to compete in horse classes. But since retiring from the professional horse world I thought I would do something a little different.

I entered some photographs into the competitions and arranged a day out with a friend, Nicky. Nicky decided to enter a lemon drizzle cake, her first time too.

Sheepdog trialSo on show day I took my two border collie dogs with me, Zena and Kay. My young dog EV Kay is in training to be a sheepdog and hopefully do some trialling.

We had a walk around the show ground and came across a stall Moorland Sticks. I spotted a sheep crook I liked and discovered it was made by Eric Brooks, a gentleman I had been talking to only a couple of weeks before to gain information on what to look for in a good stick! Eric Brooks has made and competed with sticks and crooks for many years, and was competing at the show also. So I bought the stick and wandered around the show field to get the feel for it and to see if it was the right length. It felt very natural so I was glad I did not have it shortened.

Back to the sheepdog trial field, I ¬†intended watching some of the dogs run in the sheepdog trials and watch to see if I could gain any knowledge or tips. There were not many entries to start, the field was quite small, not much bigger than my home training field. My friend Nicky encouraged me to enter and have a go, she paid the entry fee so I could not back out and I’m sure she did it for entertainment value. Not what I had prepared to do that day but nursery dogs were being accepted and there was another guy entering for the first time too. So what the heck….in at the deep end, my first ever dog trial, with my first dog, that I was training myself. Not one to take the easy route.

So entry done, nerves kicked in and I wondered what have I let myself in for…

Waiting for my turn seemed like an age. I walked onto the field, up to the Judge and explained it was my first time and it might not go to plan! He smiled nicely, asked me if I knew what I should be doing and told me to wait for the sheep to be put into place.

There I am at my post, new crook in hand and ready to go. Kay laid beside me on my sheepdog trialright. I sent her away and she ran wide up the field to behind the sheep, but then in my lack of experience I failed to control her soon enough to get a lie down. Her youngness and keenness meant she lifted the sheep on her own and put them into flight mode.

I managed to get her under control and proceeded to fetch the sheep down the field, but the line taken was more like a bumble bee in flight than the straight line it should have been. We managed to round the post – the right way, and off the sheep shot up the field again with Kay in hot pursuit. Kay just found it all too exciting and wanted to chase, so I called her off and decided to retire.

Not the best first start to my trailing career, but hopefully and Kay and I will improve.

Back to lessons I think!

On a final note the photography competition went well, 2 firsts, 2 seconds and a third out of 6 photos entered and Nicky’s lemon drizzle came a very good 3rd place from 13 entries.

All in all a good day out.