Monday, February 15, 2010

Feb 7 Open Trial Results

Weathermen up in the Northwest can be secure in their job if they just say “Rain with possible sunshine” But obviously the weather who all predicted sunshine and no rain were, indeed, off the charts, as it rained, misted and was foggy and cold on this trial Sunday.

On Saturday, a group of us gathered and did practice trial runs. It was sunny and we basked in the warm glow. We soon shed off our coats and I enjoyed the warmth on my face. The day was wonderful and we looked forward to one like that for tomorrow.

Janet arrived early and I grabbed my coat. I thought about grabbing warmer gear and decided to toss in my hat and other items. I was thinking that was overkill but she had the room. Janet, as usual, had packed treats and the other trial items. She is a great travel partner.

Ron and Hope had come over late on Saturday night and they followed us out to the highway. We passed the sheep that were shrouded in the mist and I was looking forward to sitting in the sun in a few hours.

As we drove out of the valley, I noted that clouds hung low and it was misting slightly. I remarked to Janet that the weather on the island should be better but as we got closer to the ferry, we knew then out chances for a sunny day were in vain.

Low, gray clouds were in the sky and a cool breeze nipped at our heels as we parked at the trial site. I was glad that I had tossed the extra gear into the car as I put it on. My hat soon warmed up my head and ears and I waddled about in rain pants and thick coats. Other trial folks were soon putting on the raingear.

We all exchanged notes on the weather and we all realized that the weathermen had duped us. Such is life in the Northwest.

There was a cool fog that settled on the trial field and it gave you an eerie feeling when the fuzzy sheep would appear over the small hill with a black, unidentifiable mass behind them. Most of my pictures did not come out due to the fog and rain.

This time they had reversed the course. Where they used to set the sheep was now the handler’s post with the new exhaust to your right.

It proved to be a killer draw all day as the trial sheep could see the sheep in the pens. Additionally, the sheep knew the pen was a safe zone.

The sheep were set out on the now former handler post and the draw was to the former exhaust pen. On some runs, it took a bit to settle the sheep as they wanted to run back to the pen but in the end, it all worked out.

The drive was to the left, then the crossdrive was in view of the exhaust pen. Many of the sheep, once they had turned the first panel, broke for the exhaust. If they did, it was low and they would miss the crossdrive panel. You have to flank come-bye to make the first panel, then quickly do a away to keep the sheep online then also push them a bit to keep them high. This crossdrive proved to be the bane of many runs. Mine, included.

The pen was set on the hill and if you set it up, the sheep had no draw so it was just good work to get them in. The last component for Open was the single and the three hair sheep wanted no part of shedding.

They stuck together like peas in a pod. They came together as one. Only two singles (sheds) were successful that day.

They ran three Katahdin ewes and they were light as well as the heavy draws. After you penned, you have to do a single. It rained or misted all day and we all huddled about in our rain gear.

Monique and Lucy had draw up first. Thus she had no prior runs to watch to see what the draws were and what the lay of the land was like. Lucy was coming into heat and so like her grandmother, Tess, was on the muscle. She cast out wide and had a nice lift, was a offline as the sheep tried to bolt to the exhaust. Monique had been working on Lucy walking into the sheep when they turn on her and no unwinding her flanks. At the lift, the sheep faced Lucy and she walked into them. She didn’t unwind her flanks and held it. Monique got them squared away and Lucy had the speediest turn at the post as she was on fire. The first leg of the drive was nice and Monique was handling Lucy quite well.

Remember when I had said earlier, the crossdrive would be the bane of everyone? After Lucy put the sheep through the panels, Monique was a second too slow and they broke for the exhaust. Lucy flanked and stopped the sheep but they had missed the second panel and were low. Monique had a bit of fuss at the pen but got the job done. In the shedding ring, Lucy was all muscle and they timed out. They had a good run despite the score as Lucy stood up to the sheep and did not unwind her flanks and when the drive was having difficulties, Monique persevered to complete the run. I was proud of both of them. They placed 12th but the teamwork was excellent.

Nan was the first of my two Open dog to run. She also was going into heat and was a ball of fire. She ran out wide and checked for her sheep. She stopped and had a nice lift, maybe a little pushy. The sheep tried to go offline so I flanked her on the come-bye to hold the line. Nan marched them slowly down the field and had a nice turn. Part of her first drive was pushy but online and I turned the sheep in front of the panels too early and missed them. I was a split second slow to flank her and they ran but she caught them and made the second panel and had a wide turn but quickly put them back online.

She was smooth at the pen and they slid in and we went to the shedding ring. I looked them over and saw a freckle face ewe that was slightly apart and did one attempt and they regrouped again. Darn it. I worked them around again and got the freckle face ewe just a bit back and called Nan. She came through like greased lightning and got the single. As I called her through I used my bad arm and it hurt badlyand I had to stop and rub out the pain. I was quite happy with Nan and she wagged her tail and puffed up as we walked to the exhaust. She placed 6th and would have probably won aside from my major bungle at the first drive panel. I wanted to kick myself for my blunder!!

The runs were difficult as the sheep kept beating the dogs to the exhaust on the fetch or the crossdrive. The sheep had been run a few times so later they were quite cunning.
As I stood at the post for Roo’s run, the setout crew had issues with my set. They busted back into the pen, then out, then around and around, then up the field into a fence then more around and around. About five minute later, they arrived at the setout post, head held high and major attitude. I sent Roo, hoping for the best.
see how far to the right Roo has to be to keep the sheep online

holding the line but keeping well off the sheep

He cast out wide and checked as he went up. As he got closer, he checked the sheep and cast out wider. I blew a down and he took it and the sheep bolted down the field. I gave him a quick, long come-bye flank and he cast out wide and stopped the sheep just before the fetch panels. I walked him into the head of the sheep, very slowly and they turned and went through the panel. We worked the sheep nice and slow and tried to calm them and he had a nice turn at the post

Roo being very calm and settled the sheep at the post.

The first leg was nice and I had to keep him off as he was getting more push. Again, I had a brain cramp and missed the first panels but recovered and had a good crossdrive, made the second panels and he held them from bolting to the exhaust. He listened very well to me at the pen and they went easily. IN the ring, he was on the muscle, we tried to single, and I was happy with his work. After his run, I petted and praised him and saw our partnership has come very far. He tries to work for me than fighting me on the course and I enjoy running him. I certainly hope his issue of slicing at the top is a thing of the past and he can truly shine as the great dog that he really is. Roo won this trial and was the first trial that he has won for me.

Ron ran Tigr and she cast out wide, had a hard time holding the line on the fetch which cost them. He had the same issue we all had on the drive but had a wonderful pen. He timed out in the shed and placed 8th.

Bonnie ran her new dog, Gull. He is going to one heck of an Open dog. He wouldn’t give up on the pressure but considering she just got less than three weeks ago, they had nice team work. His outrun and lift were close to perfect. She also had trouble on the dive but got her pen. Gull was patient in the shedding ring and got the only other single of the day and it was perfect. She placed 7th with him and should be happy as it was a nice run.

I had just got a new Corian whistle from BorderCollics Anonymous and used it for this trial. I had a lesson with Patrick and it was noted that I repeat my whistles and they were hard. So I changed to the new whistle and got it the day before the trial. I used it and the sounds were softer and I made a point of trying to do my whistles better. (Less loud and not repeating). It seemed to work and Roo ran softer for me. From now on, I am going to try to be better on my whistles. I did note with Nan that she was less frantic also. I loved the quick service from BorderCollics Anonymous, and the whistle arrived in record time. I will be ordering from them again!!

Tomorrow I will write about the other classes and the rest of the trial. I was happy with how well my dogs ran. I was not happy that I had messed up both times at the first drive panels and that cost us dearly. As I did the error, I knew it but left it behind and didn’t let effect me on the rest of the run. I did each component with a fresh mind.

I had a good time and happy to see that my dogs tried hard to me and didn’t fight me but worked as a team. What more can you ask for?

1 comment:

An English Shepherd said...

Glad you had a nice time :-)