This last weekend I went to Wilbur for the first Annual Sheepdog trial, called "Shaded Heart Sheepdog Trial. It was fantastic but tough. April born Targee crossbreed lambs with no leader, five per Open proved to be quite challenging. On Saturday, they wanted to run back to the trailers and when and if you got them lifted, they ran to the crowd. They are feed lotted lambs so were drawn to people but never worked by dogs. Once they busted past the post, on the wrong side, you had to reset to do the proper turn and that proved to be the undoing of my dogs on the first day, including mine.
The town went all out to make this a great event. Noelle and Dan Williams were the driving force behind this and they pulled off a fantastic well run trial. Lorri Padmos-Crumpler did the score keeping and I am sure I forgot to thank someone so here is a "Global Thank You."
A field with about 300 yard out run, a long crossdrive , shed and pen in ten minutes. Sounds easy, right? Not so, with lambs that bolt or all face off at your dog. None had a leader so it was very difficult. The lambs were consistent in size and temperaments and freshly shorn. The place was set up well as had lots of amenities, food, lots of parking, bathrooms and much more and sunny weather for most of the weekend. A must return to trial and five star rating.
I got there late Friday night after working all day (darn that day job) and took rest stop every hour to ease out the hurting ribs as they began to scream in pain after an hour of driving. Maid and Nan like the stops as we got to explore the areas. They especially like the dinner stop as they got a good portion of my sandwich. I got to the Willows motel, one of two in town. Very nice and my room had been recently remodel. Clean and new everything and a five star rating as they went out of their way to be accommodating. Turns out the owner is from Carnation and has family here as well as her friend who helps her out. We knew a lot of the same people...how wild is that?
I tossed a blanket on the bed for the dogs and Nan and Maid soon stretched out and left little room for me to sleep and when I shoved them aside, they just groaned.....spoilt! We got up at 6 and moseyed about before heading out to the Handler's meeting. Maid was a social butterfly and had to visit everyone.
Nan was first up and had a nice outrun and lifted them well but her fetch was offline and they went on the wrong side of the post. One tried to break and she nipped it (we were allowed one warranted grip but any unwarranted you were DQ)....she finally got then lines up and another one tried to bust and she stopped it with her teeth and was called. She never backed down, even when they were charging her. Once she gripped the lambs behaved and she was quite pleased with herself and I told her that she was a brave and good dog.
Later in the day, it was Maid's turn. I took her out and let her visit and relax. She watched the sheep but was calm and we went to the post and she scanned the field. She ran out nice and deep and according to Norm Close, she had a wonderful lift, calm and thoughtful. The lambs ran down the field and I flanked her to stop them and we missed the post. One of the many people who missed the post all day. She had to work to get them back online as they kept breaking into two groups and running in two different directions. She was patient and did everything I asked of her with numerous downs and steadies. She finally got them going on the first leg of the drive but we were called since we had a minutes 20 seconds left but got to keep out score of 26. Most of it was off due to the fetch.
I was happy how well she ran for me. She was soft, pliable and wanted to please me. I think we finally turned some corner in out relationship in the last couple of trials.
After the trial, they had a Handler's Dinner but I passed as I was feeling bad from the drive and hurting ribs. So we stopped and got a pizza and went to bed early. Slept for 12 hours and I felt so much better.
Sunday we slept in until 8 and it felt good and my body was not feeling bad. In fact, I felt pretty good. Maid was the first of my dogs to run and I decided to pull Nan as I knew I had a long drive and needed to rest. It was a good call and I am glad I did it as the drive was much better going home.
The wind began to pick up and there was a little chill in the air but it still was a nice day. Perfect Indian summer weather.
They moved the setout so when the lamb bolted it would be towards the other side of the post and also made the draw to the trailer much less. You didn't have to regroup in the shedding ring as well. Maid ran out wide and took her time picking up the lambs and was kind to them. We just skimmed the panels and were offline here and there. Nice tidy turn at the post and they wanted to bust back to the spectators so Maid worked them nice and slow and we got them going. It took a bit of work and time but she listened well, was soft and very biddable.
the line was nice and we made the first panel and then they busted up towards the trailer so I flanked her wide and she stopped them. She got them back online at the cross drive and she got them through the second panels and had a tight turn to the shedding ring. We worked and got the shed. She came in easy and drove them off. We got them gathered at the pen and they still wanted to bust, two to the back of the pen and three to the exhaust pen. We looked at each other and she gave me a look that warmed me to the heart. It was a look of trust and partnership. One that Tess used to give me in the shedding ring. Maid had a sly smile and a tiny wag of her tail and did a few cutting horse moves and we penned the sheep. I gave her a big pat and she looked up at me with adoring eyes. In the end she placed 6th and got a couple more points towards the Finals. I love this dog and she gave me her heart and trust me and tries hard, even though I maybe sometimes in the wrong.
We watched a couple more runs then headed out. We stopped at a Del's along the way and got some feed as it is a lot cheaper on this side. The girls loved this as they got to have fun and I played with them. We also stopped at Dry Fall's museum based on Chris Soderstrom's advice. Simply beautiful. Thanks to Chris for suggesting this!
Pixs are below, using the iPhone but it was a breathtaking sight.