It dawned on me that I did not do a write up on the last trial that I attended. I guess time just slipped by so here it is. Ron, Hope and Lori came over the day before the trial and we practiced a few outruns. It gets dark around 4 so there isn’t much time to train when I get home. I try to do stall work or work near the barn as there are barn lights.
The trial was hosted at the lovely farm of George and Sue MacDonald’s. The course is tricky and the sheep are wily. We ran on three Scotties and they were lively. I ran Maid and she ran out nice and clean. I got her to stop at the top and have a nice lift, then she was on the muscle. The sheep were offline so I had to flank her to get them back online. She was tight but got them online. We had a ok drive as she was on the muscle and I had to stop her. She took my flanks whistles at home but apparently forgot them at the trial so needless to say, our drive was a bit of a bobble. The pen was a open faced pen and you had to stand at the post to get them and as we were almost in, we timed out. It was a rough run but need to be on the same page on the flanks and the push. However, I only had her for 2.5 weeks and she did try to work for me so I was pleased. The score did not reflect how well we have been working together in the short time that I have had her.
Nan was my other open dog and she ran out nice then stopped at the top, was pushy on the fetch until I got a hold of her. The rest of the fetch was nice and but the sheep wanted to race to the pen and she had to work them to get them to me for the post turn. She was very pushy on the drive and on her flanks, she was very slicey. On the fetch she was nice and wide but on the drive, she bent in and sped p. I guess I know what I will be working on at home. She got the sheep in the pen and we had to settle the sheep in the ring for her shed. We did get the shed and she held them nice. I was happy with her run but need to square her on her driving. She tied for first place with Bob and Mojo but won on outwork. The Judge was Sue MacDonald and she judged Open and ProNovice and later in the day, Bob Hickman judged the other classes.
Sava as the first of PN dogs to run and she had a sweet outrun. A bit off at the top and I had to discuss the importance of a stop and steady and a flank and she smartened up and began to work as a team. Her drive was nice and the crossdrive panel was a tough angle so I had to scoop the sheep low to drive them up through them. Then the Judge called out, told me it was a pull through and said she had forgotten to tell the handlers. I tried to get them back up the field but Sava was struggling at the hard switch so I had her bring the sheep to the pen. She tucked them in nicely and got a score of 69 and won the class. She is getting better and better all the time and in time, will be a fine Open dog. In the meantime, we are working as a team to get synced up.
Rainey went out nice and needed a redirect then got stuck at the top. This is an issue that I need to work on. At home, she is fine but at trials she gets very cautious. Once she got the sheep lift, I tried a new method of running her. It was fast and furious so she would not be sticky. It worked and she only slowed down once on her drive. Her flanks ere nice and wide and fast and she got the pen. She got third place but her point loss on the outrun killed her. Once we get this issue worked out, she will be a good Open dog since she is so biddable. Hopefully she will run with more vigor and reckless abandon at the next trial. I want her to be bad to be good. She will move up to Open at the end of this trial year.
Tess was begging to run so I had her do exhaust for the ranch class. She had a great time and really loved to push them up the alleyway. When we were done, she got to visit people and soon was relieving Liz S of her lunch. Liz has been kind to Tess at the trials and now Tess will seek her out. This time she got croissants.
After the run were done, we had a chance to do non-competitive runs. I ran Maid in another Open run. She began to cross on her outrun as she saw the LGD in the next field. I gave her a hard stop, and then she ran out proper. She had seen the sheep come down the field but in the meantime, I guess her eyes wandered to the side pasture. She competed her outrun and had a nice lift and a much better fetch. Her drive was very nice. We missed part of a panel and had a little bobble but overall I was pleased. She marched the sheep into the pen and had a shed quickly. She came in nice and held the ewe like a champ. Her score would have put her in fourth place if it was a competitive run. We ran well as a team and now that I can trust her, I can give her more freedom and she can give me wider flanks. She did all I had asked of her and she was happy as we walked over the field.
Overall, I was very happy with my dogs and how well they tried. Each of them has an area we need to work on but I enjoyed running them. The four dogs are so vastly different in style, manners and work so I have to adjust to them.