Dan and I survived our first open trial this weekend. My good friend and I loaded Dan, Joe and her two dogs (one pup and one running in the trial) into my car and we headed up- an un-eventful trip, which was nice. We got to the site and watched a few runs. It was quite warm up there, and we were glad to get to the hotel when we did. We had take out from a local chain restaurant and fell asleep early.
Saturday morning my friend ran early in the day and had a good go, doing well, but no shed. Still though, her dog has not run since last year, so I would say they did well. I did not run until much later in the afternoon and a few minutes before our run I started to gag a little. I was extremely nervous. I remembered to drink some water as if I don't my mouth gets dry and my whistle becomes useless. I was sitting under the food tent and realized I did not have my stock stick, so I asked a fellow competitor if they could get it for me, see I didn't think I could *handle* going under the handlers' tent before my run...... Nice lady she was, she got it for me. Okay, so it was our turn.
We go the post and we were supposed to give our name (handler and dog) to the judge. So, I walk up and say "Lucy and Dan"- scribe had a confused look on her face, and I said "oh, no, sorry, I meant Julie and Dan. I gave my Kelpie's name instead of my own... Wow. Anyway...
I sent Dan away and he did well on his outrun and lift, and took his come by flanks on the fetch and we got around the post and I think we missed most of the drive panels, I have no idea. We then got to the pen and I just mis-handled it because all I could think of was "Cripes!!!! we have to shed!!!!!!! we can't SHED!!!!!!!!" So, finally, after several attempts we got them in (it ended up being a 1 point pen), and no shed, but BY GOD was I happy to be out of there. I was very happy with Dan, he took all my commands, and found his sheep well. So, then we had to exhaust. I was standing there talking with my friend, waiting to exhaust but all the sheep had bolted over and pushed through the gate. So, we did not have to exhaust. All in all, even though I think we had the lowest score for the trial, I was happy.
That night we had the same take out restaurant dinner and asleep early. Sunday morning we found a little hole in the wall diner called "Frank and Mary's Diner" on the way to the trial. I had a couple of eggs, some bacon and hash browns. This was by far one of the best breakfasts I have ever had. The hash browns were a real stand out. I could not finish this meal, and it was a whopping $4.71. At the trial we watched a bit and my friend went earlier than me, and she had a better go this time; she got a shed. Very good! These sheep are notoriously difficult to shed, so this was impressive.
Sometime around 1:00 was our turn. I again sat under the food tent while waiting and drank some water. When we walked up to the judge to give our names, I AGAIN called myself Lucy. What a dolt I am!!!
Anyway, I sent Dan and he did a nice outrun and lift and I should have shut up on the fetch because I over handled it causing some squiggly lines, but in general it was good. We turned the post pretty well and then on to the drive away. Last year in pro-novice I did not keep Dan from sliding up on the sheep's shoulders and they would stop when he caught their eye, causing all sorts of issues. Anyway, I did not do that again, and I also took advice from others- to wait 2-3 seconds between commands, so everything can slow down. We hit the drive away panels and I had a decent cross drive and hit the cross drive panels. Had a pretty good line to the pen and this time the pen went easy peasy. I guess I was calmer. The shed, we had one attempt, but I just am not proficient. Sheep bolted out Dan after, but no grip, and we re-grouped, and I tried to set it up, but one ewe was clearly ready to leave and her lips were puckered and her nose flaring. I know enough about sheep to know that this will result in an escape if we are not careful, so I calmed everything down. Time was called and we could leave... I guess that's a funny way to put it, but time really goes slow when you are trying to shed but can't.
Anyway, I cool Dan off and we head to the exhaust. I was standing there and the run after me, who's sheep I was to exhaust ended, and the sheep just busted through the gate without me opening it (just like our first run) and then, we could just go and chill. I sat under the handlers' tent and chilled a bit, and watched a few runs, and then we headed home.
We hit traffic so our ride home was an extra 45 mins. I was so beat when I got home, I see this morning, that I had left the doors open in my car over night. Thankfully the car is smart enough to turn off all lights after a while when doors are left open, for dolts like me!
So, now we are back to normal (yeah) this week and I plan to do the usual routine, boring stuff, and relish it!