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Qualifying for National Sheepdog Finals


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#1 Gloria Atwater

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Posted 31 January 2011 - 04:48 PM

Greetings all ~

Okay, because I don't know, and I couldn't find answers by searching the forum archives, I figured I'd go ahead and ask. How exactly does one qualify a dog for National Sheepdog Finals?

I know there's a point system, as well as a quota - say the top 150 dogs - but I've no clue how it works. How or where does one amass these points? Does the size of the trials one enters make a difference? (Say, a trial with 30 dogs versus one with 60 dogs.) How many trials should one be prepared to compete in, to qualify? Do the points earned depend on whether one places in the top 4 or 5 of a trial? Do consistently high-placing dogs earn more points? Is there a difference in the system how one qualifies for Open versus Nursery? (Besides the nursery age requirement, of course.) In short, what does one have to do?

I'm very, very distantly toying with the remote and removed idea of possibly maybe getting my now-18-month-old pup (July 27 birthday) ready for the 2012 Nursery finals. Maybe. :P But I'm also thinking, ... it could be beyond my skills and/or travel budget, even if I do learn the math - and if I could get my girl ready.

So, if folks would be so kind as to 'splain how it's done, in short words and plain sentences, I'd be ever so grateful! :D
Humbly submitted,

Gloria
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#2 KathyF

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Posted 31 January 2011 - 04:56 PM

Go here: http://www.usbcha.co...m#ARTICLE XVI 

Kathy

#3 Debbie Meier

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Posted 31 January 2011 - 05:31 PM

You have two ways to qualify, one by entering nursery classes the other is by entering open classes. The point accrual is to quailify for the Open Finals.

Here are the specific rule from the USBCHA website:


E) A Nursery dog must place two (2) times in the top twenty percent (20%) (rounded to the nearest whole number) of dogs competing in any Nursery Class of five (5) dogs or more, sanctioned by the USBCHA, to qualified to compete in the Nursery Championship Finals. A Nursery dog that places in the top 20% of a full National style judged Open class counts as a qualifying placing.
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#4 Gloria Atwater

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Posted 31 January 2011 - 05:34 PM

Thanks, Kathy! :)

I think I still need some translation, though, if anyone is up to helping the simple-minded. :P

"E) A Nursery dog must place two (2) times in the top twenty percent (20%) (rounded to the nearest whole number) of dogs competing in any Nursery Class of five (5) dogs or more, sanctioned by the USBCHA, to qualified to compete in the Nursery Championship Finals. A Nursery dog that places in the top 20% of a full National style judged Open class counts as a qualifying placing."

Does this mean a dog only has to run - and place in the top 20% - in any two (2) trials, and he qualifies? But what about the points I hear of? Surely there are scores of nice Nursery dogs who could go to two or three nursery trials, place accordingly, and qualify. How, then, is the field narrowed to fit the availability of runs at Finals? Anybody? Bueller? B)

Though I see only 54 Nursery dogs currently listed as qualified for the 2011 finals. So, another question: How far in advance of any given year's finals must one qualify? If I were to make a real try for qualifying my Gael for 2012, is there a cut-off date by which she'd have to be qualified, say January 1st 2012 or so?

"F) The nursery dogs must run a full National style course, without the shedding work, in order to be a qualifying class."

This is your basic Open trial course, with 450+ yard outrun, etc? Or is "National style" not dependent on yardage measurements?

What I'd also like to know is, if one qualifies for Finals by meeting the criteria above, aren't there are still points to be earned somewhere, to assure we make the "cut," given the presumably limited number of Nursery entries available at finals? So even if I'm lucky enough to get Gael qualified, might we still miss out by not earning these mysterious points?

It's still confusing me, because some of the 2011 Qualified Nursery dogs on the USBCHA website don't even list two trials, only one!

Sorry, I'm not trying to be a pain. I can't read legalese, either. ;)
Thanks again ~

Gloria
P.S.
Thanks, Debbie. I see we were reading the same page at the same time. I'm still confused, though, as the world can see by my further questions, above. ;) Entering Nursery or Open is good, but there's the "points" thing I don't see mentioned there, among other things.

Again, I apologize if I seem obtuse. I don't mean to be!
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#5 Debbie Meier

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Posted 31 January 2011 - 05:45 PM

The points are for Open.

The larger the trial the more points that you can earn by placing in the top 20%

As far as the size of the nursery trial, the larger the trial the more dogs that can earn a qualifying leg. Basically 2 legs to qualify. Nursery does not track points, as I understand it once qualified you are in. Just pay the entry fee and get there.


As far as the courses, the rule of thumb I go by is whether or not the trial has a approved as a sanctioned Nursery Class when looking at the schedule on the USBCHA website.

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#6 Debbie Meier

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Posted 31 January 2011 - 05:51 PM

I've been running numbers both from a entry standpoint and my check book, as to how often I can go.

If I wanted to qualify for the Open the best bet is to go to a bigger trial where there will be more dogs in the top 20%. Some of the smaller trials would require you to place 1 or 2 in every trial in order to accrue enough points, especially if it is a year that has a high qualifying threshhold, or there is a chance that you won't be able to get there just by running at small trials. You also have to remember that they only count 5 trials.
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#7 Debbie Meier

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Posted 31 January 2011 - 06:02 PM

It's still confusing me, because some of the 2011 Qualified Nursery dogs on the USBCHA website don't even list two trials, only one!


I took that list to be tracking dogs that have both qualified and that have met 1 of the 2 requirments. Basically they have to do it again at one more trials to be officially qualified. But I may be mistaken.
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#8 MagRam

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Posted 31 January 2011 - 06:03 PM

Thanks, Kathy! :)

I think I still need some translation, though, if anyone is up to helping the simple-minded. :P

"E) A Nursery dog must place two (2) times in the top twenty percent (20%) (rounded to the nearest whole number) of dogs competing in any Nursery Class of five (5) dogs or more, sanctioned by the USBCHA, to qualified to compete in the Nursery Championship Finals. A Nursery dog that places in the top 20% of a full National style judged Open class counts as a qualifying placing."

Does this mean a dog only has to run - and place in the top 20% - in any two (2) trials, and he qualifies? But what about the points I hear of? Surely there are scores of nice Nursery dogs who could go to two or three nursery trials, place accordingly, and qualify. How, then, is the field narrowed to fit the availability of runs at Finals? Anybody? Bueller? B)

Though I see only 54 Nursery dogs currently listed as qualified for the 2011 finals. So, another question: How far in advance of any given year's finals must one qualify? If I were to make a real try for qualifying my Gael for 2012, is there a cut-off date by which she'd have to be qualified, say January 1st 2012 or so?

"F) The nursery dogs must run a full National style course, without the shedding work, in order to be a qualifying class."

This is your basic Open trial course, with 450+ yard outrun, etc? Or is "National style" not dependent on yardage measurements?

What I'd also like to know is, if one qualifies for Finals by meeting the criteria above, aren't there are still points to be earned somewhere, to assure we make the "cut," given the presumably limited number of Nursery entries available at finals? So even if I'm lucky enough to get Gael qualified, might we still miss out by not earning these mysterious points?

It's still confusing me, because some of the 2011 Qualified Nursery dogs on the USBCHA website don't even list two trials, only one!

Sorry, I'm not trying to be a pain. I can't read legalese, either. ;)
Thanks again ~

Gloria
P.S.
Thanks, Debbie. I see we were reading the same page at the same time. I'm still confused, though, as the world can see by my further questions, above. ;) Entering Nursery or Open is good, but there's the "points" thing I don't see mentioned there, among other things.

Again, I apologize if I seem obtuse. I don't mean to be!



Gloria -

Focusing on Nursery for the Moment as that seems to be what you are mainly asking for. Points are irrelevant. You simply need to be in the top twenty percent at two sanctioned Nursery Trials during the qualifying year. For the 2012 Nursery Finals that means sanctioned Nursery Trials from Aug 1, 2011 through July 31, 2012.

It is probably best explained by numerical example. The minimum number of dogs for a qualifier to come out of Nursery is 5 dogs in the class. 5 dogs times 0.2 (20%) is 1 dog qualifies from that class. If there are seven dogs there is still only one qualifier (7 x 0.2 = 1.4). At eight dogs in the class the top two dogs qualify (8 x 0.2 = 1.6). The next step is when three qualify at 13 dogs (13 x 0.2 = 2.6) and so on.

You can also qualify by running in a full Open Class and finishinbg in the top 20% of dogs in that Open Class (e.g. 50 dogs you would have to finish top 10). This is a less common way of qualifying but it certainly can be done. For example, I watched Amelia Smith qualify her Star dog this way at the Snowbirds trial over New Years.

In order to qualify for the Nationals you need two qualifying runs. Points do not matter - only that you get 2 qualifying runs. If you look at the USBCHA Nursery Dog list you will notice that it lists all dogs with 1 reported qualifying Nursery Run. Only those dogs listed with two qualifying runs have already qualified.

One very important thing to remember is that you MUST BE A USBCHA MEMBER WHEN YOU RUN for your qualifying run to count. You can pay to join as an associate member in advance of your first trial and your points/qualifying run will count. But if you do notdo this it will not count. I know of at least one person who was not aware of this when he got a qualifying run for the 2009 Nursery Nationals. It did not count and even though he got a second qualifying run after joining he did not qua;lify because of it.

Most Nursery courses - at least out here - ae approximately equivalent to the Pro Novice Courses. In fact several of them run as a combined class with Pro Novice and you can pay slightly more to have your single run count for both Nursery and Pro-Novice. If you want to be truly competitve at Nationals though you will need to stretch your dog out to close to Open distance by the time of the National Finals. The tendency is for the Nursery Courses to get longer and a bit tougher as the year goes on.

As for accumulating points for qualifying for Open it is based on the top 20% of dogs running at each trial and goes down in descending order.

Assume 19 dogs run. The top 4 dogs would get points as follows: 1st place - 3.8 pts, 2d place - 2.8 pts, 3d place - 1.8 pts, 4th place - .8 pts. Now assume a trial with 90 dogs (like Sonoma for example). Eighteen dogs would get points as follows: 1st place - 18 pts (#of dogs running x 0.2), 2nd place - 17 pts . . . 18th place - 1 pt.

The number of points to qualify for Open Finals varies each year. Obviously though it is better to win a high entry trial than a 10 dog trial for points purposes. You get to count your top 5 point trials. Thus, if you get points in 7 trials, only your top 5 point trials count to your total.

#9 Gloria Atwater

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Posted 31 January 2011 - 06:10 PM

Ahhh, okay, I think I'm getting it. :) So Nursery just isn't as big a thing as Open, at Finals. One doesn't get the sheer numbers of entries or people trying to qualify, so the rules can be different. Got it.

Then if I ever did feel brave enough to attempt Open at Finals, some day when I've learned to be a decent handler, that's where the points and whatnot come into play, and that's where bigger trials with more entries would be useful. So, being from northern Nevada, I'd want to hit up trials like Lacamas and Zamora (and whatever else is biggish in California,) if I were trying for Open points. The bigger the trial, the better.

Hm. Okay. Lol, it also saves me from having to fry my brain over points any time soon, because I've a long way to go, before I'd want to put poor Nick up for embarrassment next to the big hats! B)

So, if I get my big girl britches and bring Gael along well, and save my pennies ... I could conceivably qualify her for 2012 Finals.

Is there a cut-off date, then, by which a young dog should be qualified for the next year's Finals?

Thanks again for your patience, folks. I sometimes have to talk my way around to grasping a thing, and I realize it can be wearing for others. ;)
Cheers,

Gloria
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#10 Debbie Meier

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Posted 31 January 2011 - 06:15 PM

So, another question: How far in advance of any given year's finals must one qualify? If I were to make a real try for qualifying my Gael for 2012, is there a cut-off date by which she'd have to be qualified, say January 1st 2012 or so?


July 31, 2012 will be the last day for you to qualify.
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#11 Gloria Atwater

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Posted 31 January 2011 - 06:19 PM

And as I type, the answers are appearing. :) Thank you, thank you. This explains a lot. I'm going to bookmark it for future reference.

I agree with what you say about stretching a Nursery dog towards Open distances, for Finals. I spoke in passing with Alasdair MacRae once, and he advised always training for the level above where one is presently competing. I agree with that. I would rather my dog be over-qualified for the level we're at than barely qualified. I think that can only help their confidence on the field. If my dog isn't ready, then I just shouldn't go.

So ... time will tell, whether I make it or not. :) Thanks again for the clarifications!
Cheers ~

Gloria


Gloria -

Focusing on Nursery for the Moment as that seems to be what you are mainly asking for. Points are irrelevant. You simply need to be in the top twenty percent at two sanctioned Nursery Trials during the qualifying year. For the 2012 Nursery Finals that means sanctioned Nursery Trials from Aug 1, 2011 through July 31, 2012.

It is probably best explained by numerical example. The minimum number of dogs for a qualifier to come out of Nursery is 5 dogs in the class. 5 dogs times 0.2 (20%) is 1 dog qualifies from that class. If there are seven dogs there is still only one qualifier (7 x 0.2 = 1.4). At eight dogs in the class the top two dogs qualify (8 x 0.2 = 1.6). The next step is when three qualify at 13 dogs (13 x 0.2 = 2.6) and so on.

You can also qualify by running in a full Open Class and finishinbg in the top 20% of dogs in that Open Class (e.g. 50 dogs you would have to finish top 10). This is a less common way of qualifying but it certainly can be done. For example, I watched Amelia Smith qualify her Star dog this way at the Snowbirds trial over New Years.

In order to qualify for the Nationals you need two qualifying runs. Points do not matter - only that you get 2 qualifying runs. If you look at the USBCHA Nursery Dog list you will notice that it lists all dogs with 1 reported qualifying Nursery Run. Only those dogs listed with two qualifying runs have already qualified.

One very important thing to remember is that you MUST BE A USBCHA MEMBER WHEN YOU RUN for your qualifying run to count. You can pay to join as an associate member in advance of your first trial and your points/qualifying run will count. But if you do notdo this it will not count. I know of at least one person who was not aware of this when he got a qualifying run for the 2009 Nursery Nationals. It did not count and even though he got a second qualifying run after joining he did not qua;lify because of it.

Most Nursery courses - at least out here - ae approximately equivalent to the Pro Novice Courses. In fact several of them run as a combined class with Pro Novice and you can pay slightly more to have your single run count for both Nursery and Pro-Novice. If you want to be truly competitve at Nationals though you will need to stretch your dog out to close to Open distance by the time of the National Finals. The tendency is for the Nursery Courses to get longer and a bit tougher as the year goes on.

As for accumulating points for qualifying for Open it is based on the top 20% of dogs running at each trial and goes down in descending order.

Assume 19 dogs run. The top 4 dogs would get points as follows: 1st place - 3.8 pts, 2d place - 2.8 pts, 3d place - 1.8 pts, 4th place - .8 pts. Now assume a trial with 90 dogs (like Sonoma for example). Eighteen dogs would get points as follows: 1st place - 18 pts (#of dogs running x 0.2), 2nd place - 17 pts . . . 18th place - 1 pt.

The number of points to qualify for Open Finals varies each year. Obviously though it is better to win a high entry trial than a 10 dog trial for points purposes. You get to count your top 5 point trials. Thus, if you get points in 7 trials, only your top 5 point trials count to your total.


You ask of my companions. Hills, sir, and the sundown, and a dog as large as myself that my father bought me. They are better than human beings, because they know but do not tell. ~ Emily Dickinson

To sit with a dog on a hillside on a glorious afternoon is to be back in Eden, where doing nothing was not boring - it was peace. ~ Milan Kundera

#12 Gloria Atwater

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Posted 31 January 2011 - 06:45 PM

July 31, 2012 will be the last day for you to qualify.




<--- deleted because I can't read, and should not try to post when I'm this tired! B) --- >

Okay, then! I'll get to training and see where the chips fall. :) Thank you, Debbie.

~ Gloria

Edited by Gloria Atwater, 31 January 2011 - 07:20 PM.

You ask of my companions. Hills, sir, and the sundown, and a dog as large as myself that my father bought me. They are better than human beings, because they know but do not tell. ~ Emily Dickinson

To sit with a dog on a hillside on a glorious afternoon is to be back in Eden, where doing nothing was not boring - it was peace. ~ Milan Kundera

#13 MagRam

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Posted 31 January 2011 - 06:49 PM

Ouch. I didn't know it would be that soon. Probably that renders my entire question moot. :unsure:

I'd have to get Gael up to better-than-pro-novice level in the next two or three months, and trialing competitively by May/June. Since I only just ran her 2 -1/2 year old brother in his 2nd P/N trial this Sunday - and finally placed! - likely I'm not trainer enough to do the job in that amount of time.

Plus I don't see any sanctioned late spring/early summer trials in California, which is where I have to go to find USBCHA trials. Nevada has none, and anywhere in Idaho or Oregon is an 8-to-10 hour drive, for me ...

Well, hell. It was fun to dream, however briefly. And it's been educational to learn about, and I can always hope on running Open in Finals, some day. :) Thanks again, Debbie.
Cheers ~

Gloria


2012 not 2011. You have almost a year and a half.

#14 Gloria Atwater

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Posted 31 January 2011 - 07:17 PM

2012 not 2011. You have almost a year and a half.



*face-palm*

Please forgive me! I'm operating on not enough sleep. I was gone for the weekend and today I'm still dead tired. :P

Well, then! I'll stop whining and start training. Thanks again. :)

~ Gloria
You ask of my companions. Hills, sir, and the sundown, and a dog as large as myself that my father bought me. They are better than human beings, because they know but do not tell. ~ Emily Dickinson

To sit with a dog on a hillside on a glorious afternoon is to be back in Eden, where doing nothing was not boring - it was peace. ~ Milan Kundera

#15 ItsADogsLyfe

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Posted 31 January 2011 - 09:18 PM

Don't forget there are some good trials in Idaho also that might be close enough for you.
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#16 workindogs

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Posted 31 January 2011 - 10:04 PM

Gloria
Just go for it....but not stupidly B)
Your Nick is very nice and Gael looks to be just as nice....just young.

The big point trials on the West Coast are: Zamora, Lacamas, Sonoma....a new one, Oregon Wine Country.

Good trials to attend for points and a great experience on range ewes: Big Willow, Trailing of the Sheep, Dry Lake, Fire Ridge and Wessels Dirt Blowing

CA has a number of trials: Point Pleasant, Porterville Spring & Fall and Coalinga

My first time to Meeker, I really just went to watch.....and entered a dog, expecting to be eliminated quickly. Kind of like the lottery...if you don't play, it won't pay. I ended up in the DL that year next to REALLY BIG HATS....I was nobody....they even announced me as the "Rookie from Oregon". No one was really sure how I got there....but I know.

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#17 Donald McCaig

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Posted 01 February 2011 - 07:04 AM

Dear Sheepdoggers,

In the east, if you have a nursery dog and wish to run in the Finals, unless the dog and handler are hopeless, they'll get to the Finals

Since more handlers live in the east, qualifying an open dog has required fewer points when the Finals are held out west.

The bigger trials and their prize money attract top handlers and steeper competition but it feels good to earn three or four points finishing in the double digits.

If you have time and money, you can trailer race a mediocre dog to the National Finals and some, who wish to experience the event do. If you hope to get through one or two rounds at the Finals, you had better be placing in big trials. If you can't beat the big hats now, why think you could beat them at a trial they really, really care about?

That said, hope springs eternal and I ran my first National Finals in 1991 with a dog who hadn't a chance and his handler didn't have a prayer - moreover, his prayers had no apparent effect. Seeing Tommy Wilson's Roy in the shedding ring made that trip worth while.

The only way you'll get better is running against your betters.

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#18 juliepoudrier

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Posted 01 February 2011 - 09:39 AM

FWIW, you don't HAVE to hit all the big trials in order to qualify a dog for the finals, even when the finals are in the east and accumulated points required typically is more than 20. The more trials you can go to, the better your chances of getting enough points simply because you're increasing the odds in your favor through sheer numbers of trials you enter. But it *is* possible to qualify a dog for the finals here in the East without having to run all over creation and trial every weekend or hit only the huge trials all over the country (or all over the east coast).

If you are a good team and you go to a couple of big trials and do well, then you'll likely have enough points to get in. But then there's the mileage question. More trials = more experience for your dog, which of course should translate into a better performance at the finals.


Any way you look at it, qualifying is relatively costly.

As for nursery, many folks won't travel across the country just to run a nursery dog, so you rarely have to worry about *too many* nursery dogs at the finals.

J.

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#19 Donald McCaig

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Posted 01 February 2011 - 11:10 AM

Dear Sheepdoggers,

My friend Julie wrote:

"If you are a good team and you go to a couple of big trials and do well, then you'll likely have enough points to get in. But then there's the mileage question. More trials = more experience for your dog, which of course should translate into a better performance at the finals."

Trials show you what you need to train, emphasize during training, and in the worst case: retrain.

A couple weeks ago I took my new open dog Fly to our first trial.She wasn't ready but I wanted to see what I'd have to work on. I also brought my 10 year old June who I haven't worked in months. Anyway, June had a placing run until we got in the shedding ring when we spent four long minutes going round and round. June's not a natural shedder but . . . I didn't realize until I was driving home - she wasn't off her sheep and of course, they wouldn't settle. I knew that about June but had forgotten.

This morning, June practiced the "Keep away" and the "Out come."

Although I know at least one Big Hat who doesn't train or practice much, for the less gifted (or less stock savvy) like myself, establishing a regular training and trialing rhythm keeps the dogs (and moi) better tuned. Coaching others and judging also helps.

Novice entries are generally cheap and you can tent camp or sleep in your vehicle. Traveling with others will dramatically reduce costs and you''ll have a friend watching everything you do on the course. Another pair of eyes plus rooting section.

Most of the time, you won't win. It's awful when you wreck and exhilarating when you and your dog are synched. And no, it isn't all about winning. When asked why he trialed, Alastair MaCrae replied, "Because it's beautiful. Even when it doesn't all go well, parts of it are beautiful."

Donald McCaig

#20 Gloria Atwater

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Posted 01 February 2011 - 01:10 PM

Thanks, Joan, Elizabeth, Donald and Julie, for your further thoughts and info. :)

For the record, it will be a very long time before I'm tempted to trial in Open at Finals. Not that nursery is easier - I know it's not - but I don't even know how to teach my dog a double-lift, yet, let alone perform one! Heck, I'm still learning to shed. So, I'm well aware of my limitations, which transfer to limitations on my dogs, until we become a wiser, more knowledgeable and seasoned team.

But Nursery intrigues me, in its way, so we'll see how it goes. I'm not going to put myself out there if I don't feel we truly stand a chance of making a respectable showing! I feel it would be an insult to those better handlers if I showed up to occupy a running slot that could have gone to a more deserving dog.

Still ... I can dream, and I do, and we'll see. :)

Yes, Idaho is a possibility, but it's also a 9+ hour drive, for me. Dust Blowing and other points in Oregon and Washington are 9 to 12 hours. So, that kind of limits me, given that I'm driving a '97 Mazda pickup with 200k miles on it. :P Hope to change that in the next year or so, but "budget" is the key word on anything I do.

However, if I can hit some of those northerly trials, I'll do it. These days, I mostly run on hopes and dreams, but that's what it's about, right? Everybody starts somewhere and this is me, starting out. :)
Cheers ~

Gloria
You ask of my companions. Hills, sir, and the sundown, and a dog as large as myself that my father bought me. They are better than human beings, because they know but do not tell. ~ Emily Dickinson

To sit with a dog on a hillside on a glorious afternoon is to be back in Eden, where doing nothing was not boring - it was peace. ~ Milan Kundera



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