Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Feb 7 Whidbey Island Trial

I’ve been working long hours at work this week even though I am only supposed to work part time since I am on part time sick leave. Therefore, when I have gotten home, I am exhausted and fall asleep for a long nap and thus no update on the trial this weekend until tonight. How’s that for a long-winded excuse for a belated update!

The trial was at the lovely farm of Susan Crocker. It is nestled among tall tree that host an Eagle’s nest. Last time there were eagles as part of the audience but this time, they were not to be seen. Instead, we have the donkey and Fjord horses as our admirers. So we hope!

Janet and made out trek by meeting at 6:15 a.m. in the morning. It was very chilly and the frost was thick on the truck. Tess and Nan were in heat and were confined to the cab while poor old Scott has to ride in a crate in the back of the truck. Scott sure felt like he got the short end of the deal. No girls, no ride in the front and all by himself in the back. However, he managed to get over his disappointment.

We managed to miss the ferry by minutes so consoled ourselves by getting hot drinks at the local coffee shop. The ride over was quiet and we were on the ferry with several other trial folks. We got to the field in plenty of time and sauntered about chatting with the other folks.

The Open class was same like the last time but the sheep were drawn to the exhaust. If your dog stopped short, the sheep would bolt to the setout. If your dogs were too wide or slow, they would bolt to the exhaust. We had three Katadhin sheep that were very light.

Tess was the first dog that I ran. A couple of weeks ago, she had cut her paw quite deeply and was lame. She was a little off this week and on Tuesday, I dug out a 1 “x ¼ “ wood just below her dewclaw. She did not show any signs of lameness after that so she went to the post. She was fine mentally but slow due to not being in condition. The sheep bolted past her to the exhaust and she was slow to cover them but we did get them back online at the end of the fetch. Her drive was good, a few bobbles here and there with a loss of 10 points and she had a perfect pen. In the shedding ring, we had two chances to do a shed but she was slow and we timed out. Her fetch killed her and took her out of the top placing.

Nan was next, ran nicely up the field, and was one of the few dogs that went deep behind her sheep. Her lift was forceful but she listened to my down. She had a nice fetch but the sheep slipped by the fetch panels at the last moment. She had a nice controlled drive, a bit tight on a couple of points. I was very happy with her drive. At the pen, just as I was closing it, the sheep slipped out and then we penned the sheep again. We ran out of time in the shedding ring and overall I was happy with both of the girls. After it, all shook out, Nan placed third and there was one point difference between first and third. There was a tie for first.

It was nice to have several handlers comment on how well that Nan ran for me. She tries very hard and we just have to work out a few kinks and timing issues. Both of my dogs did well on the first leg of the drive. The first leg was near the exhaust and many of the drives were strong to the exhaust or if you dog was too far off, stopping the draw then the sheep bolted up the field. Much thanks to George MacDonald for judging the Open Class.

We took a break for lunch and Susan and Alison made hot lasagna and all the fixing. I love that Susan had half-and-half for your coffee. At lunchtime, everyone laughed and told stories and just had good fun. Part of trialing is the true genuine friendship you have with other handlers. Susan had her Kelpie puppies in the lunch area and we all adored them. They had the cutest faces and largest ears!

I was on deck to set out for ProNovice so Tess and I wandered up the field with Brian. It seemed that some of the PN dogs were very tight and as a result, the fetches were offline and down to the exhaust.

Janet ran Scott, their outwork was a bit tight, and she worked very hard to get things in order. Her first leg of her drive was doing well but on the crossdrive, she ran into trouble so retired. The drive was a challenge to many of the young dogs. Karen Mahoney and her talent dog, Grit handled the sheep well and won the class, followed by our guest handler, Pearse and his fine dog, Cal.

In Ranch, they move the post up closer and reversed the drive. The Kelpies won first and second place and Janet got third with Scott. She realized what she needed to fix from her ProNovice run and did an excellent job. She had the best pen of the day and marched the sheep in. Audrey and Dan also ran in this class and he had an outstanding outrun, lift and fetch. Kathleen ran Emma but the course was a bit much so Kathleen left to help Emma and it boosted their confidence.

Novice was the last class to run and Kathleen went out with Emma. She did an excellent run and Emma shined on her outrun. It was very nice and she won her class. Both came out beaming after their run. It was a good way to end the day. I scribed for ranch and Novice and it was great to see how well they have done. Sue MacDonald did a great job in judging the ProNovice, Ranch and Novice classes.

We all raced to the ferry only to miss it yet again. We were three cars too short. Darn!!! However, we had company as Kathleen and Bob/Jane and Sue/George also missed it. Janet drove home again and that was good as I was tired. It helps a lot to have someone else help drive. We got home in the dark and soon Janet and Scott headed off to their home as Tess, Nan and I did the long slow walk up the drive to our house.

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