After licking my wounds at the Finals on our disappointing runs , I was not overly eager to go to another trial. But we did and I entered Nan, Maid and Nikki. I am getting Nikki up to speed in Open as Nan is pretty much retired, aside from the few local shorter Open trials. Open was the last class to run so for once I didn't have to get up at the Vampire hour and head out before my coffee went to work and my eyes were fully functional. I got there in time to see all of the PN and they were tough. Sheep would take off if the dog was incorrect and showed no mercy. They knew where the exhaust and set out were and were quite light. Nan was first and had brilliant outwork then on the first leg, could not hear me and as a result we made a dreadful mess of the first half of the drive. She made up for it on the single and pen. She is deaf in one ear and slowly losing hearing on the other side so the drive aways are tough. She gave me a gallant effort and I was happy.
Nikki was next and went out about 200 yards and crossed. I tried to stop her but she ignored me. After a few minutes of going everywhere but where I wanted, she decided to listen and went and got the sheep. By this time, I had turned the session into a training run since we could use up our time. She wouldn't release on the first part of the drive so it was a battle and I got into her head on the second part and it was sweet. She came in nice for the she and marched them into the pen. We slowly are getting to be a team and hopefully by spring, she will be my solid Open dog.
Maid was third from the end and by this time the ewes were cranky and wanted to check out. She went out nice and I gave her a down at the top and there was no movement. Hum, so I gave her a walkup and the ewes squirted to one side. She did down and waited for me. I stopped her and then gave her a big flank to stop them. She took the stop at their shoulders and they turned back online. I kept her in the shoulder until all lined out and then put her behind the sheep. They flowed nice to my feet and they went around the post calmly. Nice first leg but one swirled and we got offline for a few steps and then nailed the first panel. Sweet turn and she was very soft. Beautiful crossdrive and made the second panel and nice turn to the ring. She came in to hold the single very calm and I about fell over in shock. She was so soft and pliable during her run. It was a quiet run and she was very easy. She tucked the ewes into the pen like a mother tucks her children in bed at night. She ran up to me and I gave her a big pet and it was one of the nicest runs that I have ever done. She was so willingly to work and very calm....it reminded me of running Tess....a gentle run like a walk in the park. I had no idea of the score but when I got a 96 out of 100, we both danced for joy. Maid knew I was delighted about something and so she jumped up and down with her tail wagging. We redeemed ourselves but we need to do better at the big show. Hopefully we will get enough points so we can go this year as this will be her last year.