Well, the first of two trials is done. It was not easy. Let me give those of you who are unfamiliar, the lay of the land. First, it's flat. Second, the field that you are sending out to, actually appears to be two fields. That is, about 1/2-1/3 way to the sheep on the outrun, the dog has to run through a partial tree line. This has wiped out a lot of dogs. If you click on the photo, you will see the image larger, and thusly, can read the scores. High score was Barb Levinson with Ryn with a 78. Then, once your dog handles the seemingly two fields, he/she must lift properly. Short, and you are dead. Short means the sheep can exit stage right- and that means they end up behind a stand of dense brush/trees. You cannot see anything if they are there. IF you are lucky, and your dog pulls them out of the bowels of heck, then, the sheep lean on the dog the entire.fetch.
So, if your dog was good, he lifts at the right place. Ah, but your dog cannot simply blithely walk up to the sheep and expect them to go. No. They will just stand there, wondering what you want. So, your dog needs to get them up, and moving. At which point all 4 sheep in concert head left, head right, head left- you get the picture. They don't know this field, and they don't know to go to a handler. They are only worked in large mobs, and are basically not dogged. So, your dog MUST take that stop whistle. EVEN THOUGH he has to work hard to keep them on any sort of a line. If the dog blows those whistles, you can FORGET your fetch panels, usually by a lot- AND, the remember that dense stand of trees/bushes? Well, the sheep do- they they immediately run HARD along that stand. Then, well, they get around it, and head BACK to the set out area. Oh boy. Okay, so say your dog took it's whistles, listened well, and the sheep are calm. You now have a chance in Hades to finish. So, you get them turned at the post. And drive them out, and around. Cool. Then, you have to shed two off the four and then pen.
These sheep simply will not take being run hard, and they will also question if a dog is too far off.
Since this field is not fenced, a couple of runs ended when the sheep got off the field and ran up the hill toward the campers.
Add to all of this that it was in the 90's today- can you imagine? It was sweltering. The dogs had a tank of water at the post to dip in, which several made use of. There was one very memorable run- Fiona Roberston and "Pat". They laid down the best run of the weekend so far. I don't know the score, but I tell you- it was nicely NICELY done.
We had lots of spectators, and everything seemed to run very smoothly. It was a very good first trial, and let's see tomorrow, when we finish trial two, if Fiona maintains, what I think, is the lead.
Danny had a great time- especially when the sheep ran past us up the hill. There were lots of very cute puppies there as well.
So, more pics and more info when the trial is done tomorrow. I had to put the a/c in the window today. I feel for the folks in their campers tonight....