The sun smiled brightly on me early Wednesday morning as Getty hitched up the truck and I quickly packed. Janet called and we decided to head down and get set up and then go grocery shopping. I put the dogs through their paces and was happy how well the stopped and listened. Tess gave me the sad eyes at the gate when I worked the trial dogs so I slipped her in for a bit of a go. Her eyes beamed and she shot off like a cannon ball. I looked at her in amazement and wondered what happened to her out jog that she was noted for in her last few trials. I tried to stop her but she rode hard on the sheep behinds and brought them at a rather fast clip. I smiled at her happy face and did a few flanks and a short drive. I called her off and she looked at me in astonishment and then busted behind at the sheep in disobedience and brought them to my feet and then trotted to the gate. I laughed. Had one of the trial dogs done that, they would had a evil glare from me but I found it rather funny that at twelve ears old, Tess decided to have a little civil disobedience. She was quite pleased with herself and when she saw Getty she ran to him and promptly jumped on him, wet muddy paws and all. He petted her and she circled around the truck, knowing a trial was pending and didn’t want to be left behind. It brought back fond memories of many trials that we have traveled together and now in retirement, she is my lap warmer.
Getty loaded the trailer while I got the last minute items and soon I was on my way. Janet took her car and we were timing it so we would arrive at the same time. Bob Dias called and we agreed to met in the same area that we had camped in last year. Bob would get there first but then had to go and pick up Rochelle.
The trip took longer than I had thought due to the heavy traffic and that I-% was down to two lane instead of four lanes so I pulled in at 4ish than my 2ish time. Janet had arrived and found where Bob had set his trailer up.
Other members of our camping group were Ron and Vickye, Monique, and Ben. Bob was kind enough to back the trailer in for me and help us set up. Bill Orr stopped by to give Bob some grief and help us with the stuck awning. The trick is to jiggle the braces as they got stuck. Camp was quickly set up and Janet is now getting to be quite the pro at the trailer set up too.
Ron and Vickye came in later on Wednesday and Monique and Ben were the next day. Everyone brought tons of food and drinks. We sure were not hurting for anything in that department. Bob, Rochelle, Janet and I all went out to dinner to the same Asian restaurant that we had gone to last year and we ate very well. So much in fact, I was not hungry for dessert. Then Janet and I went grocery shopping and we got enough food for a week. I honestly don’t know how it happened but ice cream some how jumped into our cart! Of course, we didn’t discover it until we arrived at the trailer and lo and behold, the freezer was empty and it fit in it! ;-)
I was up on Thursday with Roo in the 37 spot. There was about 100 dogs entered. It was overcast with sun break and perfect weather for the trial. Roo had done extremely well at Wednesday practice so I felt good. That feeling soon disappeared when Roo disappeared over the crest of the hill. I cast him on an away and he turned and went 90 degrees off. I whistled hard stops and he ran through them and went over to the PN parking lots. There was a single that had gotten away from the PN field and he was going to bring it back. The PN handlers chased him off and he came back, then crossed over and got his sheep. He still didn’t listen to me and brought them at breakneck speed and wouldn’t flank. We quit as soon as I could get to him to stop him. I was very disappointed in him.
Later that day, Faye had to run in PN. She cast our nice and got her sheep. They fought her the entire way and wanted to run to the exhaust. They were very heavy and she had to push but she listened to me and did as I asked. (Roo, perhaps could have taken a lesson from Faye!). One ewe turned on her at the turn around the post and she greeted her with a quick nose bite and the ewe decided to behave. She had to work hard to push them on the first leg of the drive then timed out on the crossdrive. I was very happy on well she tried and it was over her head but she kept on going. She lost her drive and pen points and got 39 and I was happy with that. About half of the PN dogs RT or DQ.
Rochelle and Koko made it around the course and where the ONLY OPEN team to pen that day. The sheep were very tough to pen and Koko glared at them and they slipped in. Koko also got the highest score of our group of friends that day.
Monique sent Lucy out on the away side and she crossed over and didn’t find her sheep. She didn’t look far enough up the field for the sheep and Monique walked off to think of a strategy for her next run to make it a success. I was looking for a boat anchor to slow Roo down as his only gear was SPEEDY. Monique found me a Gin/Tonic instead so that soothed my wound!
Bob Hickman ran Trooper in his first Open class and he got around the course. Congrats to a good job for his first Open debut. Bo ran Rock he was a handful!! He likes a tough dog and I admire that he can handle such a strong dogs. He recently bought Kira from me and she will be just a tough as his two Open dogs.
Alasdair and Patricia also ran their dogs and the crowd watched to see some fine handling on the cunning sheep. Alasdair made it look easy and the crowd give him a huge round of applause. Rob Miller handled the sheep quite well and always impresses us not only with his fine handling skills but his calmness on the field. Rob and Mary are a very nice couple and enjoyable to talk to at the trial.
Quite a few of the Open handlers went down that day and I think it was about 30%-40 with no score by the end of the day. The lambs were tough and wily, either they ran or sluggish, If they were sluggish and your dog had no push, they were content to graze, If they decided to run, you just hoped your dog was as fast as Phar Lap.
At the end of the day, they ran out of daylight so the last six dogs did not get to run. They were to run first thing on Friday morning. At the crack-of-dawn when all living creatures should be tucked in bed. I cheered for Bob from the warm blankets at 6:30 a.m. with my dogs curled next to me.
On a side note, Tess had ten pups or grandpups running in LaCamas, quite a feat for her. Koko, Roo, Pete, Kate, Jackie are from her two litters and Dodge, Finn, Kirby, Pooka, and Spike are the grandpups. Tess also ran in this trial a few years ago.
Evening came swiftly and we all drank Gin/tonics and had salmon, pasta salad, tons of other goodies for dinner and sat about and chatted the night away. Monique and Ben had arrived and set up their tents. Ron and Vickye provided some humor and we all ended the night on full bellies, stories of successful runs in the past and an empty Gin bottle.
Even though we did not do well, we all learned from our runs and worked on strategies for the next runs. Mine with Roo was to get into his head quicker and stop him and mean it. My first run with Nan was the next day and I already had planned out what I wanted to do (send her on the away and stop her at the top and try to have some pace on the sheep). Faye’s second run was on Saturday so I was going to plan to walk up her quicker and flank her more to get the sheep going at a faster pace. With these grandiose ideas in my head, I fell into a deep sleep and awoke the next morning to the loud snores coming from Tess. I warned Janet that Tess snored so I wouldn't get blamed for them!
Put your comments in the comment sections of the notable runs you saw at the trial. I didn’t see them all so I would love to hear what you saw that was good.
Tomorrow: Friday’s runs and Pixs