Monday, June 27, 2011

Sunday Ewefull Acres Open - June 26

The MacDonald’s are not only know for the tricky trial but for the fabulous Seafood Potluck dinner on Saturday night. It was delivered as promised. Sue and George provide pork and beef roast, freah clam and oysters from the beach, drinks and a sweet raffle. Each hander brings a dish to the potluck. I have been brining my Asian Salad for a few years and this year it had sweet greens, almonds. Cherries and blueberries, baby corn, tons of feta cheese and other assorted goodies and Ginger Sesame dressing. Other side dishes were Ray Coapman’s famous Asian pasta salad, fruit salad, chili mango shrimp, shrimp coacktail, pasta salads, homemade dessert, blueberry cobbler and the list goes on. Of course, I had to taste quite of the offerings as well have my clams. I was so full that I waddled later when I took my dogs out for the nightly walk. Oh yea, did I fail to mention there was a huge sampling of wine as well.

Before dinner, I had my Mike’s hard lemonade on a empty stomach which made me quite happy, then wandered over to Dan and Noelle’s trailer to sample some tasty Cabernet wine. Jeff and dee were there and soon we were all bursting out with laughter. It was a great time and I had such a grand time, just enjoying their company and tasting good wine.

After dinner, Sue had the drawing for the raffle. I had put my name in for a Border Collie blanket and WON it. I was so stroked!! I also got the “Bucket of Wine” made by Fran. In addition, I got other goodies, a nice vest for Getty (with a Border Collie on it from the UK), a sheep toy and odds and ends. I hit the mother load. It probably helped that I put a bunch of money in. It all goes to a good cause.

I wandered back to take the dogs for a walk and was joined by Debbie Dunne. We would often walk our dogs during the trial. We would go down to the secluded area behind the house and it was peaceful.

The first class on Sunday was Nursery so I was able to see the young dogs run. They sure were keen and it made me relize how much I take my open dogs work for granted. The day decided to turn into sunshine and then the cloud retreated for a bit.

Open was right after Nursery and they set the course to be challenging. The outwork was standard but the first leg of the drive was back through the fetch panels, then a 90 degree turn then over a hill into a blind spot for the second drive panel. You could not see the sheep on the last 30 feet or so, therefore you hope you had them lines up right. You could not really see if you had them lined up right either. Then it was a long cross drive up a hill but the first half of the cross drive, the sheep and dog were out of sight. You had about ten feet at the second panel to line everyone up. Then the sheep would appear about halfway up the long drive, and then you have to put them over a bump through the third panel. This was especially tricky as the illusion it gave was that you had made the panels, when in fact, you were about five sheep short. Then, you had to swing wide around huge maple tree and then halfway down the lat leg, you had a y-chute. You could not leave the post so had to stop the sheep from running down the hill to make the chute. The angle was tough so you could not see if the sheep were lined up to go in. Moreover, the sheep were racing down the long hill to the exhaust. You had to put all three sheep through the chute and then do a single. All of this in eight minutes.

The morning runs were very challenging as the sheep were super light and ran. The dogs had a hard time getting close enough to control them so it really put the test to the team. Normally, the sheep can be a bit heavy to push and would challenge a soft dog but in this case, they ran. I am thinking they were part gazelle at this point.

Nan was my first dog up and she ran out wide and deep and had a nice lift. She was right on top on then so I had to reel her in and she settled down. We made the fetch panel and had a nice turn at the post. Nice line to the fetch panels, where I turned a couple of sheep too soon, but we at least had a crisp turn. The sheep bolted but I had them lined up and they went through the second panel and then Nan had to peel them off the fence. She walked slowly and methodical into them and we lined them up for the cross drive. It was fairly nice and the illusion of the third panel got me as I was off to the side but we swirled about and then got some and made the tree panel. The sheep tried to bolt down the filed so I hitched her up tight and they were close to the mouth of the y-chute. I thought I had lined them up but they skimmed past it so we tried it again and got it. They sheep were light and refused to settle in the shedding ring so we time out. I was happy with Nan’s efforts as she tried very hard but the bonus was she didn’t run through her stop the extra five feet. For most of the morning, she sat in third place but I knew it would not last.

In the afternoon, the sheep settled and were very workable. They didn’t bolt and if you handled then right, would be able to do the course quite well, as demonstrated by Lasoya and Beau who got a 95 for their efforts. There were a lot of top score in the afternoon and the sheep were sweet to work.
Roo has been running well for me, stopping and flanking well but we need to work, on some fine-tuning but I am very happy with him. We finally partnered up quite well and I have to be more aware of his power and were to place him. That means to me, not too close to the sheep and apply the brakes. He has wonderful square flanks to dream of!
I sent Roo on the away side and he cast out wide and came out deep behind his sheep. However on the backside of the filed, he was out of sight of the sheep and when he got to the sheep setout, they were not there. They had bolted, were near the third drive panel so I gave his fast wide flanks and he got them and put them back online, settled them and brought them kindly through the fetch panels to my feet. The Judge called me to do a rerun.

I really hate reruns so we did it after one run rest. Roo did the same type of outrun but came fast over the hill, only to see his sheep run off again, but he broke to cover and we got them at the top third of the fetch and back online. I had to work on slowing him down as he was amped, no doubt from having to run twice. Nice turn at the post, smart walk through the fetch panels, nice tidy turn and through the second panels and then the start of the blind cross drive. The sheep swung out wide then inside and we finally got it lined up and a sweep push through the third panel and nice swing around the tree. He slowed the sheep down and we lined them in the mouth of the y chute. The wanted to squirt out to the side but his square one step flanks held true and they went in and into the ring. He was amped in the ring and sheep felt it and he was coming through with a good single as time was called. Oh, to wish for one more second but not to be. I was very happy with his work, considering it was a rerun and he almost got the single. He listened well and gave me his all.

The dogs ran much better for me at this trial and our homework we did this week paid off. I hope we continue on this good trend.

I was very happy on how Rainey ran for me. I see a little eyeing up at the top of the outrun, lack on confidence at the setout crew and more push need on the drive but she did everything I asked of her and at one point it was way over her head but the game little dog did as I asked of her. She will need miles but in the last few months has grown up quite a bit. She is super biddable, will stop on a dime and wants to please me. I see a lot of Lucy in her, meaning about three years or so ago, when I ran Lucy, it was the same style. Lucy got the miles on her and now is a great trial dog so I hope that Rainey will follow her example.

I was happy with my dogs this weekend and hope we continue to do well. The next trial is at the end of July in Canada, then two in August. I have a couple of new field and fresh sheep to work so we will be fine-tuning our work in the next few weeks.

I want to thank the folks who helped me at the trial setting up and breaking down my trailer. Since I am partial disabled from the heart surgery and car accident, some setting up and breaking down are very hard for me. Bob Hickman is my awning master and Ruedi stepped in to help. The awning refused to go up and Ruedi fixed it the old-fashioned way by giving it a solid hit. Bonnie and Steve also helped and I hope I got everyone. By helping me, it takes the stress off me! Thanks to people who took pictures of my runs!

I hit serious traffic on the way home and was glad when I pulled into my driveway. The dogs were happy to be home and jumped into the pond for a good soaking. It sure was nice to sleep in my bad and the last thing I remember I heard before I fell asleep was Tess’s snores near my head. She had a hard day at the trial working the crowd for treats and sleeping in the sun.

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