Zamora is always one of the most enjoyable and challenging dog trials around. This year it was challenging in “more ways than one” … the weather took charge and everything had to revolve around it.
It all started with the rain they had received in Northern California. The Slaven’s were lambing so they had to rent sheep and try to haul them in. Almost couldn’t “get er done” with all wet weather and mud – so had to bring what they could before it became impossible. This meant there weren’t enough sheep for all the dogs to have fresh if 5 were run … so it was cut down to 3. This was the first time this had been tried so everyone was wondering what the difference would be. Somehow the thought of 3 range ewes seemed a little daunting — surprisingly they worked fine. The first couple of runs the sheep were eyeing the dogs on the lift but then seemed to flow off the top better as the day wore on. They were lighter than 5 usually are.
With 80+ dogs to run everything was scheduled to go like clock-work to get all the dogs in … well, that is until “weather struck again” … the fog rolled in for a couple of hours on the first day sending all plans into a “tailspin”. It was decided to drop the time (the usual 12 down to 9 minutes) and the shed to try to “fit” the time that was left. As dogs “came and went” it became obvious the biggest problem seemed to be getting the drive finished (usually we are more worried about the 650 yard outrun :@) with the majory of dogs stalling out on the drive. There was a creek that the sheep were suppose to cross to get to the pen. It was decided that just getting to the creek would be the end of the drive (only a “handful” of dogs got them across the creek) and fewer yet actually got to make an attempt at the pen (none penned).
The second run we had almost “caught up” but “the powers to be” still had to find a way to get through all the dogs. So, it was decided to have the handlers walk across the creek (instead of the sheep :@) This shortened the outrun and drive considerably but was the only logical thing to do in order to finish. I think most handlers preferred that to a standard … everyone wants to give the Zamora hill “a go” and so it allowed everyone to get another full run in.
I emailed a friend of mine a picture of the course and she said “it looks like the borders in Scotland” (I didn’t tell her the Slaven’s are originally from Ireland) and I couldn’t agree more (including the rain :@) It’s a trial well worth the trip – it will challenge and stretch you and your dog.
Results can be found “HERE“.