Monday, July 2, 2012

Eweful Acres Saturday Open runs write up

Normally this trial is hot and a slight breeze and the tank tops and shorts are out in full force, but alas, this time, full raingear was out and hot coffee was the drink de jour. I was decked out in my rain gear all weekend and drank more than my fair share of tea and coffee. I pulled in on Thursday and Sue backed my  trailer in for me. I can’t back my trailer at all so now Sue just backs it in for me. She takes about 32 seconds and has it lined up perfectly. I practiced one day at my place and thirty minutes later, almost hit the side of my barn and dented my pond pasture fence. I will admit there are some things you are good at and some things you just plain suck at…and this is one of them!

I already wrote about Friday’s runs. I was disappointed on Rainey lack of push but her shining moment was when the sheep stalled, she stepped forward, gripped on the ass and they did move for a bit. It was a good butt grip, swift and made a point but the sheep stalled on the crossdrive and time ran out. I am going to keep working with her and hope I can get more push on her but she is a fantastic farm dog otherwise. Rain is Getty’s pride and joy and she loves to go to the post with me.

Kathleen stayed in my trailer so it was good to have company. However, she probably wasn’t too happy when the low battery alarm went off around 4:30 in the morning.  I leaped out of bed and tried to figure it out but to no avail. I had everything turned off aside the fridge, which was on propane. I had to flip a light switch on to stop the screeching. By the time I got back to bed, I was too wired to sleep and since the handler meeting was at 6:45 am, no sense in trying to sleep for an hour or so.

The course was a standard fetch,  right hand drive, then a single from the three sheep, a pen and then a single of the one marked sheep. There were two ewes and a lamb and they were sly sheep. They showed no mercy and if your dog was weak, they ran off merrily and if your dog was strong, they stuck together like glue. The marked shed was the bane of many of the handler and maybe only half a dozen did it from the 5o or so dog that ran.

Bevis Jordan had judged the last weekend trials on the light hair sheep and this weekend it was on tough, wily Scottish Blackfaces that refused to move if the dog was weak or took advantage and ran like deer. The sheep from last weekend and this weekend were polar opposites and Bevis judged them properly for each style. The draws changed and he judged according to them too. The handler that I talked to really enjoyed his excellent judging and we hope he returns again. He is very approachable and enjoyable to talk to on any subject, be it be dogs or clothing fashion designs. (His son is a menswear designer for Ralph Lauren in New York
He manages over 1400 Swaledales and over 125 cattle back in the UK and has ten working Border Collies. He is well noted for his black and tan dogs and is a very good hand. We were surprised to hear he manages the .  He laughed as he told us that he was "modern", while standing in his overall and workman cap! I would highly recommend Bevis if you are looking for a overseas judge.

Maid ran out clean and it was joyful to see such a wonderful partner.  She had a perfect outrun and lift and only lost three on her fetch, a slight wobble coming down the hill. A very tight turn and held the first leg like a champion. On the crossdrive at about halfway we were too low so I adjust but then we swung low again and missed the panel, I gave her an away flank,  she promptly overflanked,  pushed them through the panel backwards and we finally got them back online to the shed ring. Oh, that cost us dearly and it will be an area, we will work on in the next few weeks. In the  ring, I settled the sheep as they were looking to escape and I used that to my advantage and she came in for a perfect shed. She quickly gathered them and put them in the pen with no fuss. We were tight on time and as we were getting them ready for entry into the ring, the buzzer went off. Aside from the second drive panel miscommunication, I was very happy with her. She was quite please with herself and bounced up and down, her eyes gleaming with pride. The drive cost us 19 points in an otherwise flawless run.

Nan ran later in the day and sheep were quite heavy. Nan can lose her temper on heavy sheep and will slung one around if they don’t move quickly enough but I have been working on her to push than grip.

I stood in stunned silence as she ran up, checked for the sheep and kept a wonderful outrun,. She stopped quietly behind the sheep, took her time in lifting them, and softly worked them down the field. I held her tightly, not letting her run up their hind ends and she got the edge of the bubble and it began to click. She had a quick, tight turn and lined them up for the drive.  The drive was nice and again, I missed that crossdrive panel and it cost us ten points of the miss and offline. She came into the rig hot and wired and it took me a bit to settled her down and come in close. We got the shed and it was tough but she put the sheep back together quite well and marched them into the pen. As we were going to the ring for the marked shed, I saw I had an old gray-back ewe that had been the ringleader throughout the course. She stuck in the middle and knew I was eying her. The ole Scottie ewe had been through many a run and wasn’t going to give up easily. I slowly worked her to the edge of the ring, managed to get her in the front and called Nan in for the single. Nan came in like a bolt of lightning and before the ewe could blink, she was split from her buddies and she shot away from Nan and we got a two point loss. I was ecstatic on her performance and how we have been clicking on the field. The last few months,  we have just seems to be in rhythm and working as one unit.  Nan placed 6th in the end of the day, with most of her point loss from the drive.  She was very tired after her run and we went back to the trailer and had a quiet hour, just sitting and enjoying each other. She laid down so I could rub her belly and soon she was in deep slumber. I am so grateful that I have two such talent Open dogs and now my goal is to fix that section of the cross drive that has been our nemesis.

The famed potluck was that night. I made a Asian coconut chicken salad with sesame dressing. It had almonds, cheese, fruit, dried cherries and other goodies in it. Each year, I make some type of Asian salad with meat and invent it each year.  Ron, the chef who has been cooking for many year, grilled pork roast and it was juicy and full of flavor.  There was fresh clam and oysters, hot off the grill, slathered in butter and they just melted in your mouth. I had seconds. Everyone made some dish and the dessert table was bending under the weight of so many desserts. By the time dinner was over, I was quite full and was very content. It was raining all day so I didn’t even pull my camera out to take photos so shame on me!

The WASH (Washington Association of Stockdog Handlers) had their annual meeting and award presentation. Rainy got second overall of the ProNovice Dog of the year and got a lovely picture frame award and lanyard. I was quit stunned and happy as one year ago, she could even finish a course. She won a few PN trials and placed highly in the others. She was very slow to mature and I am happy that she has come this far, and even thought she may never be a top Open dog, she tries her hardest. She also has taught me to grow a dog to their potential. It has been a hard journey but to see the try in her eyes, is well worth it.
Vicki Romero got the “Mary Ann Lindsey Award” for the year. She has rescued over 100 Border Collies and is an wonderful ambassador for the breed. Congratulation to an person who is well deserving of the award.

The raffle was after dinner and I put my 6th place earning back into the tickets. I got the coveted wines that Fran brings each year. Plus these two cool sheep statures and other fun stuff.

Soon it was time to go to bed. We were very exhausted and sleep came quickly

Tomorrow: Sunday runs.

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