Zamora is one of those trials that makes even seasoned trialers take one look at the course and say “WOW”! The course — either one — as sometimes they have it across from their house and other times it’s held at “Henry’s field”. Both fields are rolling hills needing a dog with scope and listening skills because — after a 600 yard difficult outrun the dog has to lift non dog-broke range ewes that have no real desire to come down that 600 yard steep hill.
The sheep strong and healthy with a mind of their own needed a dog to guide them with authority. If the dog pushed to hard they split – didn’t push enough they stalled. It took push with finesse and often even that wasn’t enough to convince them to go through the panels (they were very panel shy on the first run … much better on the 2nd). The real nemesis was the pen and that was the difference between a wining run and a placement.
The weather was perfect – unlike last year where the rain never ceased. There was a huge field across from the trial field that the Slaven’s were kind enough to open up for handlers to walk their dogs – making life much more pleasant for handlers and dogs alike.
For those of you that don’t know the Slaven’s … they have been raising sheep on that ranch for generations. Bill’s father and grandfather were both sheep ranchers. They passed the ranch on to Bill and now his son Micheal is carrying on the tradition. A few years back they lost almost their entire flock (I believe over 900 sheep) due to a fire. They still “went on” to have the trial even though they had to rent sheep since they didn’t have enough of their own.
Bill appreciates a good working dog … and that’s why he puts on the trial. He doesn’t run in it and never stops working while it’s going on. Hopefully, handlers understand that we are extremely lucky to have these generous people involved in the sheepdog world and appreciate all that they offer.