Thursday runs could have been a lot better with my Open dogs. As I previously stated Roo was a comet. Bright flash then a flameout. He would flip to the wrong side on the fetch line and not the side I needed him so as a result the sheep were way offline. We did a decent turn and a pretty decent start of the first leg. Then as I needed him to do the come bye turn, he decided to push then this way and then that way and totally ignored me. Part of it was due to the lay of the land but part of it was that he refused to listen. He was near my feet at the post turn and still refused to have me on his program. His outrun and lift were nice and the best part of the show. I walked off at the first drive panel since he was not partnering up with me and no sense in displaying more of his misbehaving.
Nan had a nice outrun and lift and one of the white face lamb strung out to the left. She tucked the lamb back in but it was pushing still to bust away. She apparently had enough of its shenanigans so gripped it hard on the hock and it leaped up to the delight of the crown, did a 180 and headed to the cornfield. Nan was quite satisfied that she got rid of the troublemaker and brought the remaining four down at a nice pace and was quite pleased with herself. It was the first time that Nan had done such a spectacular grip for me and I was even at a loss for words when she nailed the lamb. This was not looking good when my two Open dogs went down in rapid order on the first day.
The lambs were white and black faces and had been worked in the large flock. They had never been worked in a small group and it showed. They had no leader and had a tendency to split into two groups and go in opposite directions. Put any pressure on them and they would stand off to the dog (and had no idea to respect a dog) or simply bolt in several directions. However if your dog was gentle but had a firm quiet control, you looked like a rock star. Since Roo and Nan are quite pushy, my goal was to slow them way down and keep them well off the bubble but that idea went to hell in a hand basket in about two seconds. I had worked the heck out of Roo the few days before the trial to make him feel the sheep and listen but since he had Wednesday off to recover, the Monday and Tuesday lesson were quickly forgotten.
Ron Green ran Tigr and she went out wide, lifted nice but was offline. The drive was hard as the lamb had no inclination to do as told and she had to push. They did time out in the shedding ring.
Ron brought Kiki and Chavo to run in the Nursery Class and I had Rainey for the PN class. This would be the second PN run that I ever did with her and I groaned inside when I found out the same lambs would be run on the PN field. Rainey is still learning to push and these lambs were be way above her head. She has been working two large flocks at home but never on range or valley lambs and not seasoned. We have been doing a lot of driving and hard work and she trusts me so that helps. She also is unsure of the people at the top so when I saw the setout person was between the lambs and pen and that was the way she needed to go, I knew that I had my work cut out for me. But at least with Rainey, she will turn herself inside out for me and try to please me, even when it above her skill level.
Rainey scans the field for the sheep, then acts like nonchalant. She is like her mom, Tess in this matter. I asked her if she saw the sheep and she glared at me as if I was blind. I set her up to run out wide on the away side and she cast out wide. She walked in slow at the top near the person and I gave her some flanks whistles to keep me moving. She did a nice lift and then down the fetch line, a wee bit off but flanked well when I asked her and held the line. The lambs kept in a tight bunch and moved well for her. Lucky for me, I was clutching the handler’s post otherwise I would have fallen down in utter shock. She had the good feel for the lambs and they respected her. She dropped her head and gave them a keen eye to mean business. They tried to make a break to the exhaust but she marched them back.
We had a fast turn at the post and they wanted to sprint wide on the first leg and she ran and got them stopped and then back on line. She held them true to the first panel, tucked them in and a nice turn. She leaned on the on the cross drive and they got a good run but I held her back so they slowed down. A misjudged on my part at the cross drive panel which looked like like a drunken sailor trying to do a jig but we got some of them through. The lambs saw their buddies in the exhaust but she tucked them back online and marched them to the pen. We had them in the mouth and almost in but time ran out. She was putting the right pressure on the lambs and I was the proud handler at the end of the run. There were a few times she had to be encouraged to walk into the faces of the stamping lambs, but she did as I asked of her. She took all of my whistles and once she did, a flank that she thought was right, but I stopped her and gave her the other flanks and she took it.
I really had thought these lambs would be too tough for her but she proved me wrong. Quite a few of the PN dogs could not stop the lambs or gripped as well as quite a few of the Open dogs (like my two!!)
Rainey strutted off the field and hopped in the water tub and was quite pleased with herself. I had pushed her quite hard and there were times she had to work hard to work the lambs but by the end she had done well. Her drive is the area that she has been struggling with and I was very pleased that she had only lost seven points on that. She lost two on her outrun, none on her lift and three on her fetch. I was doing the happy dance with Rainey after her run as it was very tough but she gave me it her all. The judge, Bill DeVoe told me that was a nice run and that warmed my heart. I got a few compliments on her run on how nice and smooth it was. She is not the strongest dog but she is very biddable. I plan to make her stronger with farm work and experience. She placed 11th out of 50 dogs. Her score was 68.
Kiki ran well for Ron and worked her heart out. She had superb outwork but struggled a bit on the drive but made it to the pen, only to time out. This was her first Nursery run and she won first place and got a engraved glass mug as an award. Chavo ran out nice but forgot his “down” and Ron retired him since he was not listening. It will be fixed by the next trial! Ron and Vic came over from eastern Washington and we hung out together. Ron fixed the blown out window in my trailer for me also.
On Thursday night, Bob, Rochelle and I went out and had German food. They had discovered a superb German Restaurant last year and we went to it. It was fantastic and I waddled back to my trailer. The night before we went to the Asian restaurant that we had gone to the year before. It was just as good. Bob and Rochelle set up next to me. I really enjoy their company and look forward to seeing them each year. They really love their dogs and are some of the kindest people in the world. They ran Rock, Cloud and Koko in Open. Rack, Kira and Ben were in PN. They had their hands full with running all of them.
I am sure that I am missing something but that is life. I am still editing the photos and hope to have them up on Wednesday. I didn't take as many as I wanted to as I was busy and just enjoyed watching the other runs. Maybe next year, I will bring my laptop to the field and do blogging of the runs like I did at the Finals.