On Sunday, Maid, Nan and I went to a sheepdog trial at Fido’s Farm. It just under a 2 hour drive and I got there in time for the Handler’s meeting. It was a far bit of a walk to the field as you had to park your car at the barn and walk about 1/3 mile to the field but the path was clean and day was bright. The girls had to be on leashes and apparently the leash skills are a wee bit lacking as Maid and Nan successfully wrapped their leashes around my legs several times. Kent was at the parking lot with his lovely Crook and he kindly carried my heavy day bag to the field and was kind enough not to snicker as I was hobbled by my dogs. We thought we would be clever and take a short cut through the field but we realized that was not a wise choice as we landed up in the middle of a bog but since I was wearing my bog boots, I put them to good use. We had to go back to the rigs later and this time stayed on the path and therefore stayed dry.
Novice was first, then Ranch. Raenell Doyle and Jillian had flawless run in Novice and only lost one point. Then she decided to smoke Ranch and won that as well. How cool is that? Debbie Dunne and Spyder (Aussie) also tied for first place but was placed second due to the outwork. Debbie is a very sweet person and I enjoy her quick wit and kindness.
Open was about a 300 yards out run, where the dogs lost sight of the sheep about halfway down as they entered a swale. Some crossed or almost crossed as once they came out of the swale; the sheep were tucked near trees and hidden if the dog look just right. The fetch was dogleg to the right, and the drive was to the left. The panels were clearly marked with colored buckets which made it great. The turn at the second panel was between the panel and the pen so you had to be on the spot to make it. A single in the shedding ring and then the pen all in 7.5 minutes.
Maid was the first to go and she went on the away side. She came out of the swale, looked like she was going to cross and I was ready to stop here, when she kicked out wide and got deep behind her sheep. Her lift was nice but they busted hard to the left but she calmly picked them up. I stopped her and then flanked her wide and she took it. She took all the commands for the first part of the dog leg and made the panels. Then as three sheep approached the post, they bolted hard to the wrong side so we had to work them back and go proper. There was one lamb who kept bellowing for some pals and refused to stay with the other two. Maid lined them up for the first leg and drove nicely. Nice turn and small adjustment and made the second panel and they (the crybaby) broke hard so the last turn was wide. She got them lined up nice in the and smoked the single. She was so fast that I lost sight of her but the yearling sure didn’t. He was stunned by his sudden departure of his partners. We gathered them and went to the pen where crybaby kept running off. We would have them in the mouth, then crybaby would just bolt for no reason and Maid would carefully bring him back. She was calm and quiet and had no tension and a few times we would glance at each other. Finally time was called and I gave her a big pat for her efforts and her huge smile made my heart sing. She was so proud of herself and I was so happy to see she was calm, willing to please and just had a good time with me.
Nan was later and during her entire run, I could hear Maid’s barks of protest from her crate. Nan ran out wide to the away side and I wasn’t sure if she even saw her sheep. All the way up to the post, she was dancing up and down in front of me, her eyes fastened on my face. I pointed up the field and told her to look but all she did was wag her tail and look at my eyes. So I set up her up and she broke wide, and I should have know what she was doing and she cast out correctly and landed square behind the sheep. Nice lift and then I stopped her and flanked her and she took it. She did the dog leg quite well but ignored my steadies and hardly did a down but was flanking nice. I finally got her to stop and she gave me this look of “what> they needed to be on the weight loss program” but finally relented and listened. The turn was wide at the post but still nice. We all slowed down, took a breath and then started the drive. Made the panels and a nice cross drive with a few bobble and at the last minute, missed the second panel. We made up for that by a tight turn to the ring, got the single and off to the pen. We worked hard at the pen and almost had the pen shut when one lamb bolted and Nan kept her cool. We got close a few more times but never were able to get them in the pen but I was happy with her.
The sheep were yearling North Country crosses and fat and nice looking. They hadn’t been run before and were very nice. They hadn’t missed a meal and were all uniform and challenging to work. I really enjoyed working these light yearlings and showed where my dogs were too much on the muscle or slicing or were proper. When it was all done, Nan and Maid both got a score of 70 and tied for fifth place. Nan got fifth based on her outwork. Both girls ran very well and were calm and biddable and I have a great Open team. I really enjoyed the trial and on the way home, I stopped at Del’s feed Store and they each got a pig ear. Job well done and a great day was had. Thanks to Chris at Fido’s farm for hosting such a grand trial and for the weather God who held off on the rain, cold and wind and smiled as the sun beamed down on us.