Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Vashon Island Sheepdog Trial

Again, I am weeks late and playing catch up so you are going to get a short version of this trial. Kathleen and I rented a quaint cottage on Vashon Island. It was two runs over three trials. I ran Nan and Nikki  on Day one, Maid on Day two and then all three on Day three. It was Nikki's first Open trial but I need to get her going as Nan is retiring. Nan ran first and ran out nice and had the sheep offline at the top but settled them down and listened on the way down. So our fetch points loss from the last trial was cut in half....homework does help. The drive was down a gully (blind) and the sheep appeared either online or offline at the mouth of the drive panel, then the crossdrive was half blind and up a hill to the panel. Then shed, pen and single. The drive was ok but I mishandled her on the crossdrive so the points loss were my fault and not her pushing hard. Then she came in like a Queen for the shed and got the pen but we ran ouf of time at the single. She had a good run, in spite of my mishandling and placed 7th out of 53 dogs. The course was hard and the lambs were the ones we used at LaCamas. Nikki ran out and crossed twice looking for the sheep BUT she stopped and looked back at me for help and took my whistles. And got her sheep offline and fast and I retired her on the first leg as she was spent. I was happy she tried to work for me and kept on trying when I whistled her out.
Maid ran out nice on the second day but was on the sheep behinds and forgot her downs. I was not pleased and it continued on the drive. She saw my scowl in the ring then quickly settled and had a nice shed and pen. She had an agenda and I wasn't on it. More homework for us. Nikki ran out like a seasoned Open dog, super sweet and wide and nice lift and offline fetch. I couldn't get her to hold the pressure on the fetch but a nice turn and super calm first leg of the drive until the sheep went into the gully and they came up on the inside of the panel. I tried to get Nikki to flank to break the plane but she wouldn't release so I called her off. I was happy with the progress we had made.
The third day was Nan and Maid.  Maid ran first and was on the muscle and we didn't connect. On the drive I began to get a hold of her and on the last leg in the blind gully she ran to the head and turned them back up the field and gripped on. I was walking but this time and she knew she was bad as she avoided me.....ok, seriously more homework and we did lot of it the next fee weeks.
I sent Nan in the different direction than I normally send her at this trial and she was looking too short so I gave her a couple of redirects. Nice lift and she listened on the fetch and got the panels and her drive was excellent, with a few bobbles on the crossdrive, thanks to yours truly. Sweet shed and pen and missed attempt on the single but she got it and she landed 8th place. too bad she is almost 12 and retiring as she is running brilliantly. Oh well, such is life so I need to work with Maid on partnering up and getting Nikki to fill Nan's shoes.
We caught the ferry in my new 2015 Subaru Forester and took a nap on the ferry ride. It was wonderful being rocked by the waves and the engine noise was a nice deep lullaby.

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