Dino in His Draft Cart in test in Phoenix

Dino in His Draft Cart in test in Phoenix

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Dino Earns Novice Draft Dog Title with Bernese Club!

Dino Earns Novice Draft Dog Title!
First Mixed Breed to Earn Drafting Title!

Sierra West Bernese Mountain Dog Club
Draft Tests
August 17 and 18, 2013
Scotts Valley, CA

Dino with Title Ribbon

Catalog Cover

Photo with Judges Phil Chagnon and Steve Dudley

Back of Cart During Tests

Equipment Check First Day

Mural at Entrance to Park as a Dedication to 
Former Airport at the site of the Current Park

Equipment Check Second Day

Ring Favor for Each Test

Score Sheet First Day, Judge #1

Score Sheet First Day, Judge #2


Following is the report from the judges after the draft tests. Very good information!

Sierra West draft tests
Sky Park, Scotts Valley CA  August 17

Entry4 open2 passed(3 Berners,  1 Kuvasz (passed))

11 novice6 passed
A Basenji and a Mixed breed(passed) with all remaining teams Berners

Ring for both tests was in a wide open space with no shade.  Area was flat and was mown lawn.  Some areas were dry and some were lush. The ring was a rectangle of approx 10000 sq feet.  We made excellent use of the entire area and designed two courses with excellent flow and wide open approaches for all obstacles and patterns. We made use of all four corners of the ring on both days and dipped into the center of the ring area for our narrows.

As there was no shade and weather forecasts were calling for hot and sunny we placed a 10x20  shade tent in the ring. We used this tent for all HH and All stays. We added a 10 X 10 shade tent on two of our LS to accommodate the group size.  This strategy reduced tension and provided a fair test of reality (no one leaves their dog in full sun for three minutes)

We allowed all teams to guide their dogs into position as in some cases the area was pretty tight and we didn't want any contact issues. This strategy (shade tent and allowing guidance)  is highly recommended and I would not hesitate to use it again if there are heat and sun concerns

Note:  we only lost two teams during the stay exercises and neither was related to the shade tent.

Performing all the HH under shade reduced tension for all teams an made it a level playing field for all teams from first to last.

Again and further in future I will use a shaded area for all HH as it provides a truer picture of an actual experience.

Open Teams entered the ring and set up their stay in the shade then retrieved their cart. HH went smoothly in every occasion although some were a little extended. Teams then exited the shaded area  to a load ( which on both days was an empty back pack)  a circle left with an audible (maracas) then to a slow along the short side of the ring to a circle right then a four pole weave ( set 10 feet apart)  to the MO ( they had to replace it on both days) a right turn at the third corner where we had the visual (a flag waving) to a back up area  a right turn to the middle of the ring for the narrows then a left turn and another left turn to the unload finally exiting the ring.  Teams were quite complimentary to the flow of the entire exercise and we used pretty much all the ring so teams had lots of time to relax and prepare for obstacles etc.

There were no weird situations during the ring exercises and the fails were obvious in nature. Lack of halts, lack of slows, contact with the narrows ( only 2 teams). We did have several teams fail the backup exercise - which was a little surprising considering the high level of efficiency on the waits and the narrows.
The waits throughout the weekend were very good and there were no fails on the waits for the load/unload or movable during the Saturday test.

Very well prepared teams and they performed the maximum number of halts and waits as we asked them to replace the MO on both days.

FH on this test was thru an urban area.  We had several changes of terrain including some fairly long lush grass with some soggy areas. This provided exceptional drag for the open teams.  There were two curbs where we allowed stewards to help the teams negotiate. There was an absence of substantial hills but there were a few small slopes.

We ran three FH groups.  An open group of 4 and two novice groups -one of 6 and the last of 5.  The stays went well with only two fails one dog was a little insecure and decided to get up and go visit her mom at about the two minute mark and a male decided to visit the male beside him ( I think the male thought the other dog was a female) . We diffused any potential of disaster immediately and it did not disrupt the exercise.
August 18
5 open2 passed(4 Berners and a Kuvasz (passed))

10 novice7 passed1 Basenji and 1 mixed the rest Berners

1 novice braceO passed

We used the same ring but changed up the pattern.  It was a little more technical than the first day offering a direct approach to the narrows but requiring a left to right serpentine to be in position for the slow.  We changed the ring entrance as it had become a muddy mess by the end of the previous day. The first teams began with some fog but within an hour we were in full sun.   Very thankful for the shade tent on this day. The dogs were a little more ring aware and the handlers generally had to work a little harder to stay on focus.   They managed very well and due to their preparation were mostly a pleasure to judge. The waits were almost as good as previous day but we did lose a team that needed to investigate the wagon we used as the MO.

Once again all HH were done under shade.  WE began with a left turn to a load then another left to the narrows in the center of the ring then a serpentine left then right motion to position themselves for the slow then a circle right which was the visual (a blanket being shaken out) then a MO which was replaced then a circle left and then a four pole weave ( now 12 feet apart - as there was a brace team) then to the backing station,  a right ( audible - Christmas bells) and finally an unload then a straight exit .

The sun was very intense and the FH was thru a dry windless  path  and a return along the drainage ditch. This became uncomfortable by the second FH so we decided to not take a lunch break and complete all teams before the real intense heat of the day.  The final two freight hauls were less than ideal.  We lost a couple of teams to  leash guidance as the dogs could easily be heard thinking their handlers were clearly making a mistake in direction   We mustered up on all FH and provided watering  points in whatever shade we could find for the teams.  The Return proved challenging as we passed where the teams had set up their shade tents so extra diligence was required to get back into the ring.
We ran four FH.  An open group of 5 and 3 novice groups - 4,4 and the final group with the brace team of 3. We finished judging at 1:30 which was well received by all.

The organization for this test was Superlative.  All stewards were excellent and the entire draft committee were helpful and knowledgeable. A real pleasure to judge and the main  reason we were able to complete both days in such an early fashion.

Weather:Day one started out overcast and remained overcast until close to the end of the day.   The sun did come out periodically and when it did was very intense.  We completed day one at 2:30.   By 3 the sun came out in full force. Excellent timing. Then we finished our paperwork and had a most lovely BBQ. 
Day two began foggy but by 10 it had burned off. The sun became quite intense by 11 and we made the decision NOT to stop for lunch.  We completed day 2 by 1:30. Then finished our paperworktook pictures  and had lunch.
All stewards were knowledgeable and eager. Test committee were fully organized. 

Equipment checks and walk thrus were completed by nine on day one with a9:15 start time and on day two by 8:45 with a 9:00 start time.

The FH's were mostly flat as there were few hills. They were however totally adequate in judging conditioning and control when temperature and location (lots of distractions) were taken into account. Considering all factors I would rate them as a degree of difficulty as a 7 out of 10.

Judging again with Steve Dudley after all these years was a truly exceptional experience. Throughout both days we were totally in sync. Uncanny.
To all entrants, test committee, volunteers  and all those who helped make this possible.

I would like to thank you for giving me the opportunity to judge you and your teammate. It is always a pleasure when I see such well prepared teams and the handlers work with enthusiasm and positivism throughout the test no matter the outcome. I would also like to thank all those who stewarded the tests and acted as the test committee especially the test secretaries.  The most important criteria for a successful event is the volunteers that make it happen!
You guys were great!!

Finally, Thank you for inviting me and making me feel so welcome. … And for the great food… and for keeping the IPA within easy reach (after the tests of course).
I left San Francisco early Monday morning  and watched a wonderful sun rise!
As we left the gate the two workers in charge of seeing us off on the tarmac waved us good bye.

... And I thought what a wonderful weekend and what a great group of people!!
Life is good!!! Take care, stay healthy. Enjoy your dogs!!
Have fun!
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