I haven't run Nan for 3.5 months so naturally we got first spot. And to top it off, the Open class was the first class. Janet and I took my truck and loaded up the truck with Nan, Scott, Rainey, Sleat, Taff and Nan. We managed to stop at Starbucks for coffee which helped me during the run.
I haven't worked Nan for those 3.5 months and I remembered that while I was walking to the post. Nan was so excited to go out and she bounced up and down. She scanned the field and I set her up on the right. The set out crew was having a hard time setting the sheep and it took them a long time. Judy had just got twenty new sheep and they were not part of her flock. One of the four ewes was one of the newcomers and she ran back to the set out a number of times and tried to jump in. Then the three other sheep decided to join in and they all ran around and then the solo ewe did it a few more time. They got them to the set out and the sheep kept looking back, ready to bolt.
Since I had Nan set up to go away, and the sheep were looking the other direction, I flipped Nan to cover the draw to the set out. She ran out wide and deep and cam in perfectly on the pressure point and slowly walked in. I held my breath and waited to see what that renegade ewe would do. I wanted to give her a command but since she looked like she had it all under control, I stood and watched.
She eased into the lift and they came off down the line. They tried to zig back but she covered them. There was a large pool of water and she finagled them through it. She then turned on her power and came on strong and they all hurried down the line. I blew a steady, then a stop but to no avail. She pushed harder and they broke into a fast trot and then a slow gallop. Numerous stops didn't help but finally at the fetch panel, I got her to stop. I let the sheep settle and then walked her up. At the top half of the lift, she was pushing hard into their bubble and I wanted her to feel the sheep more. We made the fetch panels and she began to work with me.
Nan spies her sheep.
The fetch...finally slowing down!
We got into a good zone with each other. It seemed like magic. My timing was on and she was very responsive and it was going great. I concentrated on one section at a time and it felt good.
She is feeling her bubble.
We had a nice turn at the post and started the drive..
At the panel there was a heavy draw to the right so we covered it. We just skirted by the panel. We were so close but not good enough. The cross drive was nice and she got the second panel.
They had a free standing pen and you had to stay at the post and put the sheep in. We used a bunch of tiny flanks and eased them in. The big white ewe in the back thought a few times about escaping but Nan did a great job in keeping cool and holding steady.
We timed out at the shed. We got a score of 76 and was the leader for most of the day. Nan got 4th and I was very happy with her. what was very nice was that a respected Open handler came up to me after my run and said it was the best run that Nan and I had ever done. It was an amazing run and our teamwork was sheep joy.
Nan was quite happy and bounced about like a puppy afterwards. We have become very close and we enjoy working as a team. She is relaxed, confident and pushy and has made me more aware of how to work such a talented dog. Nan is the top Open dog and has given me her all. I am so lucky to have such a wonderful dog in my life.
Thank you Nan for being my star! I love you.
Note: Photos by Carolyn. Harwell (Thanks very much!)