I think I could do an entire post about rain, hail, air mattresses (human taco #2 anyone?) and then tents that leak. I won't - you guys get the idea. As usual Ben and Emily were so hospitable, and just a whole lot of fun. The field is gorgeous - terraced, and beautiful.
Day #1 in Open we ran about middle of the day. We'd been delayed for fog for an hour and a half, and it was pretty hot by the time we ran. I was having images in my head of last year in Ranch when it took three redirects to get Nick to the top, but this time he just went. He lifted the sheep really nice, took his down, and then proceeded to just bring the sheep down the middle of the field without more than a whistle or two from me. We were perhaps not as precise as the judge might have liked (lost 4 pts on our fetch) but it was so nice. He continued that on the drive away, and I think I blew one whistle at him after I set it up.
We had some squiggles - took a really wide turn at the drive away panels, but got it back online. Then... I misjudged the crossdrive panel. They went around high, and by the time I figured it out it was too late. We got into the shedding ring and it was the last two on the head. We settled the sheep and strung them out, I flanked Nick a couple of steps and called him into about a 1' gap. As I was calling him in I thought, "OMG, what have I done???!?!?" but he came in - and we lost nothing on our shed or pen. I feel like I could ride for YEARS on that shed - it felt fabulous.
We were on the leader board for a while after that. Lame as I am I took a picture. I'm not sure where we ended up - my guesstimate is somewhere around 15th or 16th.
Here... lame-o picture:
Open Day#2 we ran three from last - around 4pm. It was hot, and I knew after a long season of being off he'd struggle. He ran out SO nice - landed deep and easy, and lost nothing on his outrun or lift. Nice fetch, and then it all went to heck in a hand basket. From that point on it was a matter of containment. I think we got a mercy point each on our drive, pen, and shed. We never did get them in the pen as I sent him for water and we still couldn't get them settled.
But he gave me everything he had. He was trying desperately to figure out how to handle them, and even though nothing we did seemed to help he gave it all. What a good boy he is.
Monday... ProNovice... Linc. Nice enough outrun (a tad flat and short, but didn't lose but 1 and 1). After a few steps though (no lie down in sight) one sheep broke back to the set out. I retired rather than have a rodeo. Then we had the rodeo. It was a zoo - he wouldn't stop, blew through the sheep, one fell down (uh... he helped it a bit) all of this after the judge asked me to turn the sheep back to the single. LOL! I tried to grab him and accidentally whacked him with my stick - and then had visions of people saying I was trying to beat my dog on the field. Nothing like a little paranoia to finish out one's weekend, right?
After that Nick and I exhausted the rest of the P/N class. Nick would like for everyone to know that the only job in the world that compares to pushing sheep out of the pens is EXHAUSTING. He has hung a sign on his crate that reads, "Will exhaust for food. Or not. Just will exhaust."
We had a good time. This coming weekend we're working at Robin's trial, and then two weeks after that we're going to Roy and Debbie's. Beyond that I don't know, but we are certainly having fun.
(top photo by Robin French)