Thursday, June 25, 2009

Whidbey Island – Sunday- Part Three

Sunday rolled around too early and again I rolled out of the comfortable bed, grabbed a coffee and wandered out to check out the course. I was 11th with Nan so I was able to watch a few runs before mine. They had reversed the course but the setout was the same. There were a couple of good runs so I sat down to plot my strategy. Send dog to get sheep and shut up was the first part. Blow the correct whistle. Lastly, go to the potty before the run. It was a long and well thought out strategy, don’t you think?

Nan was the first to run and she walked up to the post, full of herself. Her eyes bored onto the sheep and she stood, every muscle quivering in her haunches. She ran off quick and deep and came behind the sheep and brought them to my feet with a little bobble. She was on the muscle for the drive and got her pen. The sheep were high headed and her being on the muscle did not help. We ran out of time in the shed and almost had it a couple of time. Her score was 77.

Lucy was next and it is in the mid day but it was overcast, so the sheep were not so cranky. She was a live wire and I felt a good connection when we went to the post. She came deep behind her sheep but the setout crew had let the sheep run part way to the set out so she dropped and looked at me, quite confused, as one set out was moving towards the sheep. I called her to do an away and she got confused at the echoes. I did the whistle, she came on to the sheep, and we got them back on line and through the fetch panels. The turns were nice and she was a far different dog today than yesterday. The drive was sweet, she leaned onto her sheep, and she brought them straight to the pen. A little fuss and she got the pen and off to the shed. I set up the shed and she flew in like a rocket launcher to the target. Needless to say, it was my only shed of the weekend. I was very proud of her and she was grinning ear to ear as she knew she was the best. She got a score of 84.

I took a long rest and had lunch and watched some nice runs. Gayle Cochlan from Canada has the most inspiration runs to watch. She is a very nice person and is a joy to watch. Suzanna had a nice run with Jet and they are a good team to watch. Not only y he is an Open dog, but he knows about a million tricks too. Oh, did I forget to motion that he is a good looking dog to boot!!

The setout crew had a hard time with Tess’s sheep as one ewe wanted no part of the deal. They ran back to the setout a couple of time, then down to the first drive gate and back to setout and back to the tree and then one last blast to the setout. The two people and two dogs had a very hard time holding them and they were trying to dart around them. When Tess got to about 11:00 the sheep slipped past the setout person and dog and ran to the setout pen. She turned to get them and worked like a cutting horse to keep them off the pen. All five darted five directions to try to get past her to the gate. Tess met each attempt as the dust swirled up in the air. I let her work the sheep and she finally got them bunched up and headed down the course. I gave her a redirect and she got them online and had a nice turn at the post. At the first leg, they tried to bolt back to the set out, she stopped them, and they fought the entire time across the crossdrive. They tried to dart past her to go back to the setout but Tess was determined to win this battle. We did lose the battle at the pen as the one high-headed ewe refused to join her pals in the pens. As Tess would cover four, the high-headed ewe would slip off and her friends would join bolt then. Tess gallantly covered them and we would try again but we ran out of time. She would very hard to get what little points she had obtained. Afterwards, the judge said we should have gotten a new set but I was happy how well she did her work. She did awesome work at the top in sorting out the nasty sheep. She was proud of her work and we walked back to the the trailer where she got part of my lunch for her efforts.

Overall, Lucy got 3rd, Nan was 7th and Tess was much lower. This is Tess’s last year to trial and she only has a couple more before she becomes a retiree at home. It will be a big loss for me as she reads my mind at the trials and in a difficult situation as today; she is the only dog of mine that could do the work without any commands from me. Tess has carried me to be the handler that I am today, her shoulders are very broad, and our love for each other is deep as the Grand Canyon.

I loaded up my dogs after the Awards and catch a late ferry. We arrive home well after nine and Getty had bbq chicken for the girls and me. Soon we were all passed out on the couch and the dear spouse unloaded the truck. It was a fun weekend and this upcoming weekend is the super fun trial at Sue and George’s. I will post from the trial. Time to go and pack the trailer and get on the road.

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