Friday, July 3, 2009
What a difference a few days makes....
I ran Lucy at the Fetch Gate farm trial. I had worked on her stops on the whistle, and she was doing well, and I wanted to get back on the proverbial horse, after my disappointment last weekend. Let me touch on last weekend a bit. We really didn't do that badly! I was just upset by seeing myself on video asking for downs frantically, and yelling. Yikes. Okay, so now that THAT is out of the way.
I got to the site and walked Lucy. Shortly after that, there was a handlers meeting. The field is gorgeous. Sloping hill, beautiful backdrop to the hills, just a bucolic scene. The sheep were Katahdins (registered). They were using one ewe and two lambs per run. I thought about Lucy and K's, as they really need a dog to stay off them- all K's do, generally- they are rather like Gazelles. But, I had worked on Lucy's stop, and I hoped we could eke out a good run.
The first run of the day was very good. The dog stayed off his sheep and listened. They got a nice pen too. These sheep are not knee knockers, and would prefer not to pen (that's an understatement).
Generally, the runs were pretty good.
Then came our turn. I sent Lucy on the come by side. Generally not her best side, but she set up that way when we arrived at the post, so I went with it. She came around pretty well, though, I considered it a bit tight, though the sheep never noticed her, so maybe not... Anyway, she then came in on the lift thoughtfully and gently. It was very nice. I then blew a stop whistle as they started. Lucy took this, and I let the sheep continue. I blew one or two more stops on the fetch, and as Lucy would get up- she did so carefully, and covered, if they were drifting, without me needing to ask her for this.
Lucy then got them to the post, and they were so calm. You have to realize, that's not generally how I see K's, and it isn't generally the effect Lucy has on them ;)
So, we made a decent turn at the post, and I proceeded the assisted drive- you can't wear these sheep, they have no interest in being with you. They have to be worked by the dog. So, we continue on the drive, and Lucy is once again, taking my stops, and the flanks I give her. As the sheep go through the panels, I give Lucy an away flank, and stop her, and then walk her up, then, another flank, and a nice turn at the panels was achieved.
Then, I realized I better get back to the pen and fast. That was a mistake. Lucy covered well, and stopped when I asked, but the sheep made it to the pen as I did, and they were freaked by me running and my dog was now on the muscle. Bad news. We never did get a pen. Lucy did finally widen out on the flanks I asked for, but it was too late- those sheep were jiggered. So, thankfully, time was called, and we headed off the field.
I was SO happy with Lucy. She was a big girl out there- listening, working clean, well and smooth. That lift and fetch was her best EVER.
So, I then watched more runs. Some very good, some not so good; basically, what you see at all trials.
As I headed back to the tent from the porto potty, a trial friend says "hey, did you see? you are #1". I replied- "really? well, there's still lots more to go".
So, I got Danny, and then sat and watched the rest, and later, I see, we held on to first place. I could not believe it. We have never gotten first place, and it was a decent sized novice class (18-19 dogs, I believe).
We stayed around and watched the pro novice and ranch runs. They were good to watch, but the sheep had learned the exhaust, and were hell bent to get there...
So, later in the day came ribbon time. When our name was called, it was extremely gratifying to have my little red/tan Kelpie take her first place ribbon, and as an added perk, 20 lbs of Canidae dog food.
I know some open handlers will scoff at me for boasting, but I am going to. I am going to bask in this for a little while. A little success once in a while is a good thing.
Yeah, I still can't believe it. Thanks Lucy, you are my girl