We have been having tea parties each night since it was so cold. The first night it was in my trailer with Judy, Jo, Bob and Bonnie Daley. Normally we would whip out the drinks but we opted for hot tea. We also had praline fudge and other snackies. The next night we went to Bonnie Blocks trailer and had more tea and cookies. Bonnie, Rueidi, and I were at Bonnie's place. It was a fun thing to do each night and get warm with hot tea.
She also got me convinced to get a trailer last year. I remember her words along the line of…”you’ll like your small trailer but soon you will get a bigger one”. I laughed and told her no way as I was still terrified of pulling my 18 ft trailer. So then, I had to eat my words and tell her that I wanted a trailer like hers with a mudroom. At least she didn’t laugh in my face!
View from the setout.
Tess and I set for the first twelve runs and it was interesting to watch from the top. If the dog came hard on the lift, then the run was fast and furious. If the dog came deep and slow, the run was much nicer. The cross was the bane for quite a few people. Some of the sets came out with major attitude but Tess settled them down quickly. The sheep were looking for any reason to run anyway. Even with grain and Tess, some of the sets were tough.
My first dog to run was Nan but since I had set sheep, I had to get her quickly and then run her. I didn’t have very much time to settle with her and she was raring to go. She spied the sheep and took off like a bullet, her head low and long legs stretched out and digging into the wet soil. She went on the away side and came out wide and deep behind the sheep. She down nicely and had a nice lift then came on strong and the sheep fanned out. I blew a hard stop and yelled her name to slow her down. Nan has always had a hard time with these hair sheep. It is usually a run fest and we can’t do a shed nor get a hold of them very well. She stopped and I made her settle down then walked her slowly and when she tried to come too strong, I slowed her down to feel the very large bubble these sheep had. She lost zero on her outrun and lift and five on her fetch.
The Maltese cross has been a killer for most of the handlers and I was not going to let it psyche me out in any way. I made Nan stop far back and we inched the sheep to the mouth and then I had Nan walk forward,. They tried to sneak out the side to I waved my crook and then they tried to sneak out the other side so I flanked Nan and stopped her so they could see her. They went straight through and I flanked Nan a big, wide flank and stopped her between the exhaust and the sheep. We inched then to the second mouth and slowly worked them through and got the second cross. She got zero off for both of her crosses.
The first few steps of her drive were a bit wobbly then she straightened them out. About ten feet in front of the first panel, you lost sight of your dog and sheep as they went into a gully. I thought that I had them lined up and flanked her BUT they slithered by the panel. DARN!! I lined up Nan for the blind drive and blew walkups and as they came out of the gully, they were a little low so I put them back on line again and made the second panel. She brought them to the pen in a straight line and we lost 11 points for the drive. She settled them at the pen and got it for a two-point loss. She got 92 points for her run and got second place. As we walked off the field, she bounded up with joy and I praised her. She did the best she has ever done on the hair sheep.
Monique and Lucy were up right after me. She did a bit of overflanking at the top and was on the muscle. Monique was dead on with her commands but Lucy was slow to stop so that cost them. They made the first part of the cross with ease and had issues with the second half so they had to go to the drive. Monique did great on her first leg, made the blind first panel with ease, and made it look easy. She was low on the crossdrive and had a sweet line to the pen. They had a bit of fuss at the pen but got it and a cheer went up from the crowd. I couldn’t see anything wrong with Monique’s timing on her run. Lucy chose a different timing than Monique wanted and they will work on that. It was a very nice run and one of the best first legs of the drives all day.
Ken Johnson and Joe had a screaming run but had a fuss at the second cross. He only lost four points on his drive and got a nice pen. Bob Hickman and Mojo also had a wonderful drive.
I was up at the end of the day with Roo. He had heard me set with Tess all morning then run Nan so he was all worked up. I was not looking forward to his run, as he was shaking so bad to go on the course. The wind had picked up and it began to drizzle. I sent him on the away side and he was fast and hard. He was trying to muscle on his lift so I blew a very hard down whistle. I was using my Corian whistles and they made a huge difference. He slid to a stop and then began his fetch. He was a bit hard at the first part but settled down. I had to slow down the sheep and get them set straight for the mouth of the cross. If they were pushed too hard, they would race around the cross to the exhaust and you lost your cross points and you would be hard pressed to get the second cross. The sheep walked in and then I flanked Roo to cover them as they came out. He was a bit pushy so he got a scolding and we fussed a tad but got the second cross. His outrun was -2, -3, and -5. The cross was -0 and -2. He started his drive with a wonderful line and marched them through the first panel. I flanked him and hoped that I stopped him in the right spot for the blind cross drive, as you couldn’t see. I gave him a walk up and hoped for the best. They came out in line and had a wee wobble, them smartly through the second panel and to the pen. It was amazing how well he handled the sheep. He was biddable and wanting to do right. He lost only three points for the drive and had the best drive of the day. At the pen the sheep went under my rope and penned. I didn’t know and it wasn’t explained that you could not do that so we lost all of our pen points. Had we got the pen points Roo would have placed in second place but he placed in 8th place. Regardless, I was very pleased on how well he ran. I gave him a big pet and told him that he was indeed a fine little dog and I was proud of him. His eyes shone with delight and he pranced all the way It was a great way to end the day with a fine run and he has been running pretty well for me the last few months.
The trial ended at the right time as the sky opened up and dumped buckets and we all ran for our trailers. Later that night we all went to Lulu Homeport for dinner and got good home cooking. Of course, we had a tea party that night and the tea was enhanced with blackberry brandy.
Tomorrow: the Novice, Ranch and ProNovice runs.