Sunday, July 19, 2009

Sheep Thrillz write up - July 2-5

It was a long drive for me and my first time that I had such a long foray since the heart surgeries. Most of the trials that I have been attending are 90 minutes or so away. In addition, usually, Janet goes along so we can take turns driving. Nevertheless, this trial was in Scio and I had not entered but Lora Withnell called me up and roped me into going to the trial. I signed up Tess, Nan and Lucy. But since I just had retired Tess at Eweful Acres, I pulled her from this trial. Tess did go along as my bed buddy and chief navigator.

I was not able to drive the 5 hours straight so I took a short stop at Camping World and got a bunch of items for the trailer. Jeanne Boudrieau sent me a detailed list so I went and got quite a few items. I stopped at the part counter and told the gentleman that I wanted to buy a weight bearing/sway bars for my trailers. I told him the size, brand, weight, length and age of the trailer and told him I wanted the weight bearing/sway bars for it. He asked me what model, I told him that I didn’t know, and can he look it up for me? He said he was too busy and I need to figure it out and tell him. Let me see, he has the part catalog, a computer with all the info and he can’t look it up? They sell and install these all the time, for goodness sake and he is too lazy to look it up? I get him to open up the catalog, there are two listed, and I ask him which one would work for my trailer. One is for heavy trailers and one for small to medium trailers. I tell him the small to medium one might be the one and he says he isn’t sure it will work. I ask him if the bigger one would work and he says he doesn’t know. For crying out loud, he is working in the parts section, I am ready to put down a big chunk of change for the bars, and he can’t figure it out? He says he is too busy…well, hello, I am a customer who wants to buy a product and you are too busy to sell me one. Therefore, I leave the store with no bars and a reminder to email the Camper World management to let them know of my treatment.

The rest of the journey was pleasant and I pulled into the trial. I unload the girls and we go looking for Suzanne and Wayne. I spy them, we sit down for some cool ice tea, and then Suzanne has to run Yoko. Yoko is fast on the field and finishes the course and I believe got 1st. The sheep were very tough to set as well to run. I don’t think there were any pens or if there were any pens, maybe a few. They best most of the dogs and the scores showed that.

Nick Davis showed up later in the day. He is Kathy Davis’s father and I was staying at his place for the weekend. Kathy was driving up either late that night or the next morning. After the trial, was over I went to Nick’s place where Nick, Linda and I just hung out and had fun. The next morning was too early and I left before anyone was awake. Kathy didn’t pull into the trial until late Friday afternoon.

Saturday morning I set out with Sue MacDonald. So much for Tess’s retirement as she was the setout dog. The sheep were very challenging and ran all over. She set for 3 hours and was exhausted. The sun took a lot out of me as it was in the 90s and I felt slow the rest of the day. It did reflect in my runs late. Several times, they bolted and Tess had to put on her afterburners to get them but she did her job well. Sue was great company to talk to while we were doing our job.

Nan was the first dog and she went nice and deep and lifted her sheep well. One ewe was fighting the setout crew the entire time and she stopped at the fetch to face Nan. The rest of the sheep ran down to me so I had Nan bring them back to the surly Suffolk. She never moved. We did it again and she slowly walked and then every two feet or so, turned to face Nan. Nan held her ground and they slowly went around the handlers post. I was very happy with Nan that she didn’t back down and she worked the ewe one-step at a time. Halfway up the first leg, the ewe refused to move and tried to butt Nan. Nan met her with her teeth and the ewe still refused to move. Nan gripped the ewe next to her and all the ewes then decided to move. We were called off for a DQ but Nan held her ground and walked into the ewe with no hesitation. A couple of years ago, she would run off if the sheep faced her. When the ewe had the standoff, I called her name, Nan turned at looked at me, and I told her to walk on and take. She stood up taller, opened her mouth, and marched forward. Bonnie Block got some great pixs and I’ll see if I can get them. Even though we got a DQ, I was very happy she did as I asked and held her ground.

It was blazing hot and they had set up a water mister under one tent so we all sat under that. It made it bearable in the heat. Bev Lambert was the judge and she had a clinic, then judged the Novice/Nursery classes on Thursday, then Open on Friday/Saturday and then the double lift on Sunday. I know she was feeling the heat.

Lucy was next and I sent her. The setout people didn’t hold her sheep so they ran down the field on the other side she was going up. As she got to the top, I whistled her and she flanked and got her sheep. Then I had to hard flank her to hit the fetch gates. The drive was wobbly and she wasn’t holding the pressure well so we lost quite a few points on that. She got her shed and pen (a nice one) and then timed out on the single. During her run, I had her get into the tub as it too darn hot to have her run without cooling down. They had set a tub so the dogs could go into it with no point loss. You would just lose time. Her score was 60 and she placed 10th out of 36 dogs.

Kathy showed up, Nick and we watched the rest of the run, and we headed back to Nicks. Linda made a very nice dinner for us. I brought my drench gun so Kathy and I wormed Nick’s sheep. Again, Tess was called upon to work and she pushed the sheep into a small pen and moved them around in the small pen so we could worm. The ram thought he was going to smash her into the ground but when his nose hit her teeth; he suddenly gained a lot more respect for Tess plus two new holes in his nose. He wisely then stayed in the middle of the flock after that. A few times, I had to tell Tess to take hold and she reached down to hock a sheep to get it to move. She was very quiet, we turned our back on her for most of the time, and she did her part well. Last year, when I stayed at Nick, Kathy and I wormed the sheep so this is going to be an annual event. I told Kathy that I was going to bring my drench gun since I knew Nick had not wormed his sheep and Kathy and I could do it quicker. I handled the gun while Kathy grabbed the sheep and soon it was done. We were all tired after that!!

Saturday was also hot as heck at the trial. Handlers’ meeting was too early and they reversed the drive. Lucy was second dog on deck so we went to the post while it was just starting to heat up. I don’t have my scorecard as they didn’t give them out at the trial. Lucy ran out well and had a nice outrun, lift and fetch. The drive was reversed but she did a nice drive and she got the shed and then pen and the single. She ran with more confidence today and held the pressure much better. I was very happy with her run and score of 68. Lucy placed 12th. Nan had a nice outrun, lift and fetch. She has a great run and a stellar crossdrive until the second panel where she could hear me. Therefore, she flipped the sheep back and did part of the drive the wrong way and when she heard me, we had lost quite a few points. We recovered and had a nice last leg and she got a great shed, pen and single. Her score was 69. That bobble took us from third for tenth place. I was happy on how strong she ran today. Both dogs did well and I was very happy with them. Tess was the lapdog and she did well on that job too.

Therefore, to into the double lift, you had to have decent combined scores. Nan with her DQ and a low score did not make it. She was close though/ Lucy made it in and it washer double lift. I called Scott that night and asked him if he had trained her for the double lift, since she was at his place over the winter. He taught her a turn back but no double lift. I wasn’t too worried about Lucy driving a flock as she does it all the time at the farm and we sorta do a look back but not a double lift. So it was like the blind leading the blind at this point.

They did the draw that night and Morgan called me to tell me that I was first up. I was counting on not being first so I could watch Derek, Karen or Noelle. Then Ian put me down for several hours of setout at the end of the trial. I told him that my heart was not up to it and I couldn’t do it but he told me I had no choice. Well, the choice of being dead is not a choice for me and he refused to listen. And I told him that I wanted to leave early so I wouldn’t be in hours of hot rush hour traffic, that combined several hours doing setout and driving extra long would push my heart to its limits didn’t faze him. He told me to trade and I told him that I was not going to kill myself and he still refused to listen. So before the handler’s meeting, I asked several handlers if they could set out and explained the situation and Bonnie took my place. Everyone was surprised that Ian would try to force me to setout and nowhere on the entry form; it said if you made the double lift, you had to set out. At the meeting I told people that I couldn’t do set out and Bonnie would do it. Ian vetoed that idea and said Bonnie was taking pictures and that he traded Brian’s spot for me…that I would setout out earlier and Brian would do later. Brian said he couldn’t as his wife was expecting home since he was under the impression he had an early setout. I told Ian that I was not going to work and Lora took my shift. Lynn was on the first setout and was late so they covered for her so she ended up doing my shift. I stressed all night thinking about this, woke up at four in the morning with SEVERE heart palpitations, and freaked out. I felt like my heart was going to rip out of my chest and I was very faint. I got up out of bed and woke Kathy up so she could see if I was ok. I had no idea what was going on. I thought I was having a heart attack. Tess was freaking out, jumping all over me, licking me and whining. I was terrified on what was happening. Kathy gave me the once over and my heart settle down. Talk about stress!!

Therefore, Lora saved the day. She also brought me a Starbuck coffee and doughnut. She is a very good friend with a huge heart of gold. I am blessed to have her as a friend. Oh, she introduced me to Charletta (sp?) who had the wool/fiber tent. I got a beautiful purple silk scarf and purple wool hat for my mom. I was going to keep it but it screamed out to me to give to my mom, which I did when she was here on Friday. She loved both of them.

Lucy ran out well, got her first packet, and dropped them off at the proper spot. I stopped her in the correct stop and told her to look back. I let the sheep drift as I learned from the last trial once they pass the fetch gate; you are not allowed to monkey with them. Lucy did a quick look back and didn’t see her second packet as she did a quick look back and was focused on the sheep in front of her. It took several times but she finally turned back and went up the field. The second packet had drifted down and she took the hard flanks and got half of them through the fetch. The first packet went to the exhaust by this time and we joined the sheep at the proper line. She was a nice turn at the post and we had two Suffolk who decided they didn’t want to be with the other sheep and kept going into a different direction. She worked hard at keeping them tucked in and had a very nice drive. She really held the pressure. Before the drive, I told her to get into the tub so she would be cool. At the end of the drive, I told her to get into before we did the international shed.

So the blind was leading the blind in the shedding ring. We did quite well. Lucy held the packet as we slowly began to peel off the sheep. We got down to six sheep and had four collared sheep and two uncollared sheep. We were very close but timed out. She did everything I asked of her in the Double Lift and did great in the shedding ring. The sheep broke once to join the uncollared sheep and she stopped them. She was a real trooper considering the pressure and doing something out of her comfort zone. Our score was 96 and at the end, we placed 8th out of 16 dogs. She was pleased with herself and I was grinning ear to ear that she did so well.

We stuck around until lunchtime for the group photos and lunch and hit the road, The normal 5.5 hour drive turned into almost 8 hours and I was feeling pretty stressed by the time we got home. We all crawled into bed and crashed hard. It was good to see Nick and Linda and enjoy their warm hospitality. Moreover, of course, hanging out with Kathy was a real treat and for once, she got to see me out of a hospital room or my couch and not just out of an operation. Lora made me laugh with her wisecracks and Suzanne and Wayne were gracious as ever.

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