The alarm went off to darn early for me. I rolled over, turned it off, and slowly got out of bed. Let the girls out to go potty and got fresh coffee from the lobby. Got going to the field at 7:30 for the 7:45 handlers meeting which didn’t start until 9ish. They shortened the course and it took a bit to get going.
Cheryl Munson was first up, Jett got the first packet, and she was trying to send him for the second packet when it was discovered the sheep were still in the setout pen and not out on the field. Therefore, she got to do a rerun. This was Cheryl’s first Double Lift also!! She had the rerun later in the day and Jett got the first packet and then got his second packet, had a nice drive and timed out in the shedding ring. She was very pleased when she came off the field and they did great.
Brian Ricard and Doc were the next set. Doc had a nice outrun and handled the sheep well down the course. On his second outrun, he couldn’t find the sheep so they retired. The grass was to the dog’s ear and sheep shoulders. The first outrun was about 450 yards and blind. The second outrun was about 500 yards and down a dip and you could not see the sheep at all. The grass made both outrun very difficult. Pearse Ward said it was the toughest Double Lift that he ever ran in.
Third on deck was Maggi McClure and Lil. I missed part of this run as I was getting my dogs but she got both packets of sheep, did a drive and timed out in the shedding ring. What I did see was very nice and controlled.
Fourth was Lee Lumb and Nan. Nan struggled on the second outrun but did get her sheep. She had a very nice drive and was very patient in the shedding ring. She almost had it but timed out. This team is going to be very dangerous for the next ten years or so. Since I have a fondness for the name of Nan. I will be rooting for this team. Not to mention that Lee is one classy woman. I admire her and her dogs.
Pearse Ward and Riel were fifth. They got the first packet just fine and Riel swung out wide on his second outrun and finally got his sheep. Riel was doing gazelle bouncing trying to find his sheep. Pearse, once again, laid down a stunning drive and almost had the shed. They are one heck of a team and have been very hard to beat. I managed to beat him O*N*C*E*….it was my lucky day. He is a very nice person and I enjoy chatting with him. What I like about Pearse is that he is very encouraging to the newer handlers and makes them feel at home. He has good karma going his way!! He said it was the hardest Double Lift that he has been in!!
Lee and Mac went up in the sixth place position. Mac went way deep and wide, over ½ mile and swung around and finally got his sheep. That took a bit of time and when he was sent for his second set, he went wide and she finally retired him when he was struggling. He gave it all of his gallant effort and we all were pulling for this senior, seasoned dog that we have admired over the years.
Brian and Mig walked up to the post in seventh position and she went out like a rocket. She brought the sheep quickly and Brian turned her back for the second packet. She was locked on the first packet and then the unspeakable happened. The exhaust gate slipped opened and the exhaust sheep wandered out on the field. Mig spied them and her first packet and Brian kept trying to help her find the second packet. He retired and was offered a rerun but he declined. That was a tough going for that team but they are a tough team to beat.
Finally, it was my turn. I sent Nan and she went wide and deep and had a nice lift. The fetch line was a dogleg, she took my flanks, and we barely missed the gates. So close and yet so far away. I was happy we did that so well. We dropped the sheep at the cone and they began to run to the exhaust. There had been an exhaust dog that was keeping the sheep away from the exhaust but they were not there so I sent Nan to drift them back. Tactical mistake as I should have let them go to the exhaust and Jack would have taken that into account. Therefore, that mistake cost me major points. One huge Suffolk ewe was determined to go into the exhaust so I had Nan back her and her buddies back to the cone. Last year Nan would not have help her ground and backed or ran off but she marched up, was nose to nose with the ewe, and held her ground for a few minutes. I walked her one-step at a time and the ewe walked back one-step at a time. It was painful but she never backed down and showed no fear. Tactical blunder or not on my part, regardless, I was proud of her for going nose to nose and holding her own. She never looked like she was going to do a cheap shot but stood firm.
So after I shot myself in the foot for this error, it took a bit of work for her to drop focus on the first packet to go and get the second packet. She crossed over as most of the dogs did today (I think only one dog did not cross) but she got her sheep. We were wide to the drop point and by that time, the first packet had drifted away and I put all together and turned the post.
She drove the straight to the fist panel and the huge Suffolk tried to make motions to go to the exhaust, which was in the area of the first leg. Nan help firm and pushed them past the exhaust and the huge Suffolk tried for one last break. Nan gave her a good buzz, we were dinged for it, and then the Suffolk decided she was going to play the game after all. We had a nice crossdrive and Nan was leaning into the sheep. The sheep were hard to drive, as they were hungry. We got the crossdrive gate and had a nice turn and into the ring. It was an awesome drive and Nan was pushing hard on them. She has been having a hard time pushing on heavy sheep but she really shined this weekend.
Into the ring, we went and I managed to do everything backwards, forwards, sideways and just plain wrong, and time out. Jack was twisting in his chair just watching me bumble right and left
It was my first Double Lift and I made some grievous errors but I learned quite a bit and know what to do and want N*O*T* to do. Jack told me that I could have won the trial had I not screwed around the first drop off sheep ….not only did I lose points for that error it also caused me to lose my second outrun points. So, know that I had a good chance of winning and my bumbling cost me; I will never repeat that mistake again. I will have to step up to her plate!! Jack was very kind to me and explained what I did wrong and it made sense. Thank Goodness, I will be going to a Scott Glen Shedding Clinic in August as I really fell down in that area in the Double Lift.
Nan on the other hand was happy as lark after the run was over and I was so happy how hard she tried and how she trusted me to find the second packet of sheep. She has realized that she has replaced Tess in the Number One Spot and is carrying herself with lots more confidence. I am truly blessed with her.
Placings: I don’t remember the exact scores but when I get them, I will post them.
1. Pearse and Riel 107 or so
2. Cheryl and Jett 89 or so
3. Lee and Nan 88 or so
4. Maggi and Lil 85 or so
5. Diane and Nan 84
6. RT-Brian and Doc
7. RT Brian and Mig
8. RT Lee and Mac
The Double Lift was very tough. Most if not all the dogs crossed on the second outrun. Everyone timed out in the shedding ring. The grass was shoulder high (it was supposed to be cut but it was too wet to cut so it was not Dirk’s fault at all) and both outruns were far away and blind. The exhaust was close to the first leg of the drive and viewable from the drop off cone and the sheep were drawn to it. It made realize what holes you have as a handler. It was a tough trial on Saturday as well as Sunday but a very good trial. I really enjoyed it as it was tough and you had to work at it. They are going to have another trial in the end of July with another Double Lift and I plan on trying to lick my wounds from today, fix my errors and try to win.
Thanks to Dirk and Sonya for hosting a great trial and we plan on being back. His trials are known for being a challenge and I like that.
I didn’t take any pictures today as I was watching other runs.