Sunday, April 25, 2021

dog trials (and trails!)

we're up to something…
And now for something completely different. Ok, maybe not completely, but not something I'd ever known about: Road Dog trials!

peeking through the window at what is going on over there

impatient face
I saw a post a few months ago on Facebook asking for volunteers for the 2021 West Coast Road Dog Trial. I have no idea what prompted usually reticent me to volunteer, but riding horses, cute dogs, pretty spring weather, why not?

I'm so cute!

excited pups!
I briefly glanced at the website, decided I could make Major behave for 12 miles, and showed up at my assigned time. I was to ride escort ride along with two competitors and their dogs. In the beginning the competitors, riding their horses, have to go though a specified course where the dogs must follow orders issued by a judge. I just had to stay out of the way!

waiting for the testing portion

heading out on the trail
Then the horses and dogs hit the trail. The first time all three dogs went running past Major he flinched a bit, but then it was ho-hum (he likes dogs) and these dogs know to stay back and out from under foot, very smart! I thought maybe there were more obstacles along the way, but no, the competitors have to ride and keep the dogs behaving to the half way point, rest for 30 minutes, and come back. (This competition was held on BLM land, which allows off leash dogs.) The competitors were very nice, one was very experienced and one it was their first time, all dogs were well behaved.

staying behind but attentive

good doggies following

nice in the shade

happy dog, paying attention to his owner
The big quarterhorse in the lead didn't want to stay there for long, she was certainly not built for distance! You have to cover the 12 miles in three hours, with the break added in, so you did need to cover some ground. Which was easier to do when they asked to put Major in front! I kept him at his almost slowest trot, about 7-8 mph, and they gamely followed along! The dogs had no problems. veering off trail into water sources, coming back to "hock" when called.

just trotting along

heading back out after the break

happy dogs
We were at the rest stop quickly, and after water and a break, were ready to head back. The day was gorgeous, and also the hottest day of the year so far! We were all a bit overwhelmed in suddenly 85 degree heat, and these trails are very exposed (and why I never ride them in summer!). Hikers asked "Where are the other 98, haha?" I'm sure they get that all the time!

hot, but heading home

we did have gorgeous weather and trails!

the "why are they so slow" ears

coming home
We successfully returned back to the trailers, and all dogs competing got their title. It was an interesting new experience, and I was pretty proud of Major for being cool with it all, even with his "I'm annoyed that I have to go slow" ears. I even think Major wants a dalmatian of his own now!

well-deserved snack


  1. Well this is just the coolest new thing to learn about! I love the small pack of dals. I'm used to seeing a husky pack šŸ¤£ My childhood self is squealing over over dals because that was my first favorite breed until huskies took over when I was 8.

  2. Never heard of it - Great photos & lots of spots! Good boy Major!

  3. I think I know those dogs. They own the “ranch” where Persee and Nevel live.