Sunday, August 8, 2010

Sunday Trial recap- Island Crossing

I love this trial. Honest sheep. Sheep that will test your dog if they are wrong but be smooth as butter if they are right. Sheep that are not trial worn and certainly not pen trained. Big, fat lambs. High headed ewes who sneered at a dog that was too pushy. Ewes that looked stunning and square. Everyone loved the sheep. I know that I am buying a ram from this flock to beef up my flock. I wanted to sneak, say, about 45 ewes and lambs into the back of Ron's truck, but Heather had eagle eyes.

Today we started the trial far earlier so it would be done earlier. We rose at 5 and believe me, that was hard, and got to the field at 6:30 a.m. Trial started at 7 and the first packet was marched around the field, quite smartly by Brian Nelson and Pleat. Some great runs and some not so great runs. Lavon was the judged and he was spot on!! And he didn't laugh at me.

The killer was the cross drive. The sheep when they turned the handler's post, was in full view of the exhaust and the draw was strong. Like three shots of tequila on an empty stomach. If you were too slow to turn at the panel, the sheep slipped into a huge gully and you prayed that your dog would bring them back up in the general location. The drive was on the edge of the gully and if you dog did not hold the line, they raced down the gully. Some turned back and raced to the exhaust. The second panel was a snug turn, and then again, if your dog was wrong, you paid the price. This cross drive showed the weakness of quite a few dogs, mine included. It was tough but showed some great runs also.

For us short people, there was a ladder post. You climbed up the ladder and had a flat spot to stand on. Then you realized how D-E-E-P the gully was and hoped you dogs would hold true the fetch as once they entered the gully, you were crossing your fingers, toes and whatever else.

The sheep, if handler properly, worked great. I really liked the sheep a lot and it was a pleasure to run on them. Although my score really didn't reflect it. If your dog was pushy (like mine) they held their heads high and made you lose three pounds by trying to slow down your race car of a dog. This is where I learned that I needed to have a better pace on Nan. Like a MUCH BETTER PACE than powering the sheep through the course. She handled the sheep quite well and had I paced her, she would have been brilliant. Instead, she showed me what I needed to work on. Same as Roo.

Roo was the first dog to run and he cast out wide, like to the exhaust. It took several look back before he went up the field and he lifted them like a rugby player. Poof and a hard fetch but I got him to slow down. I guess I will be working on his lift and have him be more thoughtful than bully the sheep, when he is amped up.

Since yesterday's drive was a disaster, I tightened the reins on Roo and he has one of the nicest drives of the day. He held the pressure so the sheep were straight to the first panel and any thoughts of them trying to sneak to the exhaust, quickly fled their minds. A nice turn and then a wee bit of a wobble on the cross drive, high then low but he did it well and what I asked. Nice turn at the second panel and a good line to the shedding ring. We ran out of time in the shedding ring but I was happy how well he did. We still have a few areas to polish up before our next trial but that is our homework. Score of 50.

Nan ran much later in the day. She was amped since I ran Roo. She cast out wide and came behind the sheep nicely. She down then wobbled on the lift and had a pretty decent fetch. I had to slow her down at the turn and as the sheep turned at the post, they bolted to the exhaust. They got 2/3 of the way there before Nam got to them and put them back online. She ran like a rocket to get them and it was the fastest she has ever run.  We had some weaving on the drive but managed to limp  through it. In the shedding ring, she was amped up and well within the bubble, thus spooking the sheep so it took a bit to get the shed. She flew in and held it like a rock, unwavering and marched on and no doubt. One ewe tried to break to go to the exhaust several times and she stood her up and walked into her face. Apparently she had her jaws wide open, ready to have a ewe for dinner. The ewe decided that she wanted to be with her flock and snuck back in.

Nan tucked the sheep in and walked them with authority to the pen and as we had them going in, the timer went off. I was very happy on she ran and need to work on a couple of items with her before the next trial.

My friend ran Kane and he began to come in tight on the outrun but he blew a huge flank whistle and he took it. Very nice lift, a bit of trouble on the drive. The sweet shed and Kane is a nice shedding machine. Score of 59.

There were some very nice runs and I will post pixs and more  info tomorrow as I am wore out and can't think enough to write anymore.

The trial was well run, sheep was kind and sweet and the company was superb. Joe and Heather went all out to provide a wonderful handler's dinner (fresh crab, deep fried turkey, the works). Cover shelter from he rain, breakfast and lunches cooked to your specs, anything you could think of! It was a top ranked trial and they plan to have another one in Nov and in Jan. I won't be missing any of those as it was such a good time. I am glad they are hosting them now and maybe next time, I step out on their field, I will do better. Great way to spend a birthday weekend!!


KPR said...

Awesome. Sounds like a fun trial and really cool course! Did you take any photos? From what you describe, it sounds like you did really well on a very tough course. Did you use the Tranquil on either of them this weekend?

Happy Birthday!

gvmama said...

Ahhhh....I hate to miss a good trial with good sheep! I loved it when you said, "He lifted them like a rugby palyer." Kilt would like Roo. :0)

DeltaBluez Tess said...

Nan was the ballerina and Roo was the rugby player.

DeltaBluez Tess said...

I read Poetry to Nan and Roo to get them ready for their runs.

KPR said...

Emily Dickinson ... or Eminem?