Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Kendenup 3Sheep Trial

Peter Gorman and El Shamah Ellie:

Phew! My second trial as Stirling secretary/treasurer- it was fun, but it's a relief to have it over.

Bellview Obie (Bernie), Bill's half-brother:

I think the weekend went off alright. We had sheep (thanks to Wayne), and good food (thanks to Glenice and the kitchen crew), and I remembered to sign the prize cheques this year. Absolutely massive thanks to the Webbs, who are holding my hand through this scary organisational stuff, Tony and Wayne for their let out work, Nick, Marianne, Sue and Glen for being office staff, R for being chief babywrangler, and everyone else who lent a hand.

The weather was rather changeable on the Friday, but settled into pleasant warmth for the rest of the trial. It was nice to have dry ground instead of our usual August mud, and a novelty to see clouds of dust kick up as dogs skidded into stops and turns. There was the odd rogue sheep who really tested some of the dogs unfairly, but in general the mixed age ewes were good to work: fast, unforgiving and with long memories. It may have been something to do with the course, which was arranged differently this year, but penning was a persistent problem throughout the weekend, even with experienced teams who had their sheep walking quietly throughout.

Nick Webb's youngster, Morillo Doff, making her trial debut at the wettest part of the weekend:

Highlights of the trial included the success of some relatively new triallers. Neil Eastough and Scott Welke in particular, both with Grassvalley dogs, did well, and there was some impressive work from new triallers with the young offspring of Ken Atherton's Kiwi Knight: Phil Dorrell's Ramulam Patch, Pete Doherty's Ramulam Jen, Hayden Harries' Olboa Ben.

It was probably too early for most people to catch at dawn on Sunday, but I was also thrilled to see Mike Scott and Tig pen successfully in the Open. Now they've sorted out the crossing, the stopping, the winding pegs and the gate-slamming idiosyncracies of Australian trialling, I'm expecting to see some great runs from them in future.

Tony Boyle and the teeny weeny little Boylee Dot (our Bart's mum):

Ivan Solomon's young dog Danny was another one to watch. His first Open run was almost faultless, scoring 97, but in the Final he drew one temperamental sheep, who took a scenic tour of the ground, checking out most of the fencing, before Danny was able to work her back to her colleagues.

The Kojonup gang had another mixed weekend. R's young dogs had some nice runs, and some not so nice, but he was pretty happy with Fred, who was raring to go in his Open ran and made a good job of a fairly tricky packet of sheep, and just missed the final by a couple of points.

Boylee Fred at the pen:

I was disappointed with Pinky- she stuck on her cast on both occasions, initially because she had trouble seeing the sheep in the shade, and we got a cross as a result in the Improver. Queani actually worked well again, but I am really going to have to address her short heading on the anticlockwise side, because it cost us some major points.

Bill was a little weirdo in his first run. Usually Bill enjoys spectating for a few hours before he runs: he likes to check out the sheep and how they are working, and plan his attack. He has always been able to chill out and watch, and it seems to help his performance. But before his Improver run, he had his little black nose pressed against the fence and each siren sound sent him up in the air like a cattle prod up his rear end.

When he got out on the ground, he was revving, and he brought the sheep down at 100 miles and hour and kept them at that pace for most of our run. By the time we got to the race, Bill's sides were heaving and his tongue was slapping his cheeks, and when we reached the pen, I was mentally rehearsing canine CPR. I suppose I could have retired, but Bill is the sort of dog that learns from experience and I thought perhaps he would identify a take-home message on his own.

The little weirdo, mulling over the take home message. Or not...:

For our Open run, I treated him like Queani, not getting him out until just before his run, and he was much more sensible. Take home message, a less exciting build-up, or sheer exhaustion? Either way, we managed to pen with a score that scraped us into the final. It wasn't our best work, but he tried hard. We had one big ewe who didn't want to play and challenged him all the way to the race, where she decided to make a charge for the fence. Bill blocked and blocked and may even have got a little up close and personal with her nose, but it turned the tables and she walked quietly from there.

Our finals run was a bit of a mess, as usual. We ran last, as daylight faded into dusk, and it was great to hear the cheers and shouts of encouragement from the crowd as we headed towards the pen. I suspect they were most enthusiastic about the imminent prospect of finally packing up and going home, but Bill thinks he has a fanclub and I'm not going to shatter his illusions. He was so pleased with himself that he celebrated by cocking his leg on a fencepost on the way out- the fencepost with the judge's belongings collected below. I'm so sorry, Ken.

Nan Lloyd's youngster, Badgingarra Angel (I think- it could be Rio- correct me if I'm wrong, Nan):

judge: Bernie Jones

1) Gordon Curtis Binnaburra Jess (kelpie) 91
2) Andrew Gorton Boylee Ella 90
3) Neil Eastough Grassvalley Jack 83
4) Ivan Solomon Perangery Beck 74

Mike Scott's pup, Torbay Badger (FredxTig), 12 months old:

judge: Yvonne Haynes

1) Bernie Jones Glenview Ruth 79
2) Gordon Curtis Binnaburra Maggie (kelpie) 75
3) Ivan Solomon Perangery Sasha 74
= 4) Nick Webb Morillo Toby 73
= 4) Ray Sutherland Swagman Cyndy 73

Andrew Gorton and Grassvalley Tippy (Esme's dad):

judge: Eric Atherton

1) Ivan Solomon Perangery Jill 94 + 77 = 171
2) Neil Kristiansen Badgingarra Casey 89 + 80 = 169
3) Scott Welke Grassvalley Becky (kelpie x collie) 86 + 75 = 161
4) Andrew Gorton Boylee Ella 77 + 72 = 149
5) Ivan Solomon Perangery Danny 97 + 38 = 135
6) Neil Kristiansen Badgingarra Toppie 81 + 52 = 133
7) Peter Gorman Princes Ash 87 + 41 = 128
8) Marianne Rogers Bellview Obie (Bernie) 79 + 46 = 125
9) Sam Weaver Boylee Bill 76 + 47 = 123
10) Ray Sutherland Christies Tammy 82 + 37 = 119
11) Peter Gorman Princes Casper 82 + 31 = 113
12) Jean Hydleman Belmor George 80 + X = 80

Neil Kristiansen penning with Badgingarra Casey:

Pendalup Candy (littermate to R's Tess):

I think this is Karyn Buller with Badgingarra Barney, another young dog:

One of my all-time favourite canine characters, Boylee Ted:


Ted's serious side, working with Doreen Hansen:

Torbay Tig, waiting, waiting, waiting, for someone to set some sheep out:

Monday, March 16, 2009


Wow, that went fast!

How did this

become this?

and this?

and even this?

Happy second birthday, J.

I love you.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Wagin Woolorama

(apologies for the photo quality- they're Handycam stills)

Ivan Solomon's Perangery Jil in the Open:

So our 3sheep trialling year has begun again!
We missed Esperance because of a training course I was compelled (largely against my will) to attend, which was a real disappointment

Wagin is usually one of the most "interesting" trials on our calendar. Held at the Woolorama, the biggest Ag Show in the Great Southern, Wagin is notorious for its very small ground and its very scary sheep. This year was no exception.

Gordon Curtis' Binnaburra Jess in the Improver:

The sheep for Novice and Improver were fairly strong hoggets, which did stand up to any weakness but worked well if they were handled correctly. There weren't too many scores, but those that managed it scored well. The Improver was won by Denise Scudds and Badgingarra Cody with a brilliant run. Spectators were heard to comment on the "pet lambs", but Cody had the sheep exactly where he wanted them at every step. Cody is a special dog, who has had some big hurdles to overcome to get out on the trial ground, and Denise has been fighting some battles of her own, but together they are a wonderful team and the win was not only popular but well deserved.

The Open sheep were from a different property. They were big, fit, fearless yellow tag ewes that turned on the dogs from the outset and just kept taking them on again and again.

Jenny Atherton's Badgingarra DotCom in the Open:

The draw down the ground was a bit of a lottery, with points lost depending almost entirely on the sheep. Numerous dogs worked brilliantly to get the sheep almost into the D, only to have them break straight back down to the let out. Dogs that have never been seen to turn tail before were getting pushed back down the ground, and others were going nose-to-nose with stomping sheep, holding their ground only to have the sheep run over the top of them and incur a cross.

In the end some top handlers and experienced dogs proved that the sheep could be worked, and in fact once they'd been through the race the sheep seemed to change, emerging with a new attitude and working really well. There were a few pens with good scores, and a few other semi-successful runs.

In the end, Peter Gorman and Ellie showed why they are one of the State's top teams with two good runs, leading the rest of the finalists by a country mile.

On the personal front- we did okay. It was a fairly fun weekend, I always enjoy the Woolorama and BabyJ is old enough now to really appreciate the John Deere stand and the merry-go-rounds.

I ran Pinky in the Novice and Improver, and wasn't really expecting that much from here considering the sheep. Even so, I was pretty disappointed with our Novice run, where she picked up her sheep well, started to get them moving and then they turned on her and we had a stand-off. There's nothing worse than watching your dog stuck on the lift (well, yes, there is, but I'm pretending I don't know anything about that). So I retired basically as soon as she looked like she wasn't going to come in and shift them.

According to R, that was a mistake and I should have given her a bit longer. So in the Improver, when the same thing happened (she sat down and wouldn't get up) I just waited, and she did move them, and we got them to the race and then I caused a cross. But it still felt like a win for Pink.

Bill and Queani had some mediocre runs in the lower classes, nothing too awful, but I can't remember much about them. Queani did some really nice work in the Open up until the bridge. She was listening and working quietly, no swiping (although she did think about it). But that bloody short back flank killed us at the bridge, she just would not go far enough to head them. We did eventually get the sheep over, and then I cruised off in my own little world, let her go the wrong way and we ended up putting them back over the bridge again- twice, while I stood at the pen. And then one sheep came off on its own, panicked a bit, and I retired.

I actually nearly scratched Bill from the Open, after seeing the early runs, because he's a funny sort of weak dog and I thought they'd flatten him. But once we got them to the race (which involved some barking and bouncing and tail waving- oh dear!!!) they actually worked beautifully. I think the fact that Bill didn't confront the sheep worked in his favour- he blocked and blocked and wouldn't let them go anywhere else, then stopped with his head turned away, radiating "no threat" vibes. The sheep calmed down and started walking quietly. We wasted a lot of time at the unwinding peg, when the sheep were still fighting, so when we got to the pen we ran out of time seconds before then walked in. But we made the Open final in 6th place. Of course then I got all uptight and started bossing and we kind of botched the final run, but were still one of only a few scores in the final, so ended up 5th.

Central Districts Sheep Dog Club Championship 3 Sheep Trial
Wagin Woolorama 5th-7th March 2009

judged by Wayne Hall

1) Ray Sutherland Swagman Cyndy 90 (9:14)
2) Ivan Solomon Perangery Beck 86 (11.34)
3) Gordon Curtis Binnaburra Maggie 80 (11.09)
4) Tony Boyle Boylee Dot 79

judged by Marianne Rogers

1) Denise Scudds Badgingarra Cody 93 (10:49)
2) Peter Gorman Princes Casper 92 (8:21)
= 3) Jenny Atherton Ramulam Don 88
= 3) Ivan Solomon Perangery Danny 88

judged by Grant Cooke

1) Peter Gorman El Shamah Ellie 88 + 82 = 170
2) Gordon Curtis Nolan's Minnie 80 + 32 = 112
3) Ken Atherton Ramulam Gus 61 + 48 = 109
4) Jenny Atherton Badgingarra DotCom 61 + 38 = 99
5) Sam Weaver Boylee Bill 69 + 25 = 94
6) Nigel Armstrong Yarralonga Delta 76 + X = 76
7) Jenny Nolan Grassvalley Ella 76 + DQ = 76
8) Malcolm Seymour Euroa Nell 75+ X = 75
9) Gordon Curtis Binnaburra Tuff 73 + X = 73
10) Frank Sutherland Rocky Bear 69 + X = 69
11) Frank Sutherland Rocky Roxy 66 + X = 66
12) Jean Hydleman Belmor George 63 + X = 63

Monday, March 02, 2009


Dear Cats,

I know I've been complaining lately about the plague of mice we've had this summer, and I understand that you're just doing your job. I do appreciate your efforts.

But I'd actually rather have the mice chewing the corners off everything in the pantry than lying dismembered in a pink and brown pool of regurgitated Whiskas on the back doormat. Honestly.

Looking on the bright side, I'm blown away that Farmboy, aged only two, can look at the coiled tendrils of intestine, soggy shreds of fur and disarticulated hind leg squelching up between his mother's bare toes, and instantly recognise it as an "Eeek, eek, eek!" (Toddler for mouse). A sure sign of genius.