This past weekend was the High Point Sheepdog trial in Knox NY. There were nursery, and novice classes.
Saturday, the weather started out a bit iffy. I was prepared with my rain coat and my wellies, but, well, perhaps not my thinking cap....
When it was our turn to go to the post, it began to sprinkle, and I thought better of making anyone wait, just so I could get my rain coat. So, I go to the post, sent Danny to the right, and he did a nice lift, and started bringing them and then the DELUGE came. I mean, it rained so hard I had a hard time seeing and I have great doubts Danny could hear. We got them around the post started the drive and it was tough going. Sheep generally do not like to be in torrential down pours.... At one point they went high and then I stopped Danny and then, I waited too long to send him and they hot footed it to the exhaust. Now, Danny made it over there, and went into what I call the abyss- where you cannot see dog/handler. So, I stood near the pen (we were heading to this when they too off), and I waited. After some nerve wracking moments, I see three pairs of sheep's ears coming up the rise. I gave one command to Danny to settle him and he brought them back. We ran out of time by the time they did get back to the pen. To say I was chuffed that Danny was able to bring them back un-assisted from a place where he could not see me was just about as good as it gets for me. I have not had the most faith in his "real work" work, so I guess he proved me wrong. I got home around 6 that evening and for some reason, did not sleep well. I think I woke up every hour on the hour. I was frustrated with our performance on Sat, and I think that kept me up.
Sunday, we were a bit earlier in the run order, and I went out there with a plan to keep my head about me. I was nervous, but put my hands on my hips (I know I look stupid, but for some reason I am calmer), and I sent him. He had a gorgeous outrun and I stopped him at the top and instead of getting up like I expected, he waited for the ask up, which was him being a good boy. Thing is, the sheep were heads down in the grain. So, I said "walk up" and he did, and they lifted very gently. We got them down the fetch, around the post and through the drive gates (all but one) and then I SCREWED UP and thought that after the turn they would keep going. So, with me not watching, they came back THROUGH the panels. I did not know this until I looked at the video. Well, we got them to/in the pen- they were some of the calmest sheep I had seen all weekend, and I came out of there feeling great. We ended up with a 4th place, and it would have been LOTS better had I not been stupid. That will NOT happen again my dears!
We headed home, I had a sandwich for dinner and then bed. Now, back to regularly scheduled programming.
Danny is turning out to be everything I wanted. Thanks Danny. You rock.