Well, I'm pleased to announce that we got NUMBERS, and I did not throw up on my shoes.
That counts for something, right?
Hah. This stuff still sort of blurs and whirls around for me, so unlike Julie who manages to generally be able to recount everything beautifully, for me it's more like, "well, we didn't totally suck". So here is what I DO remember:
Run #1 - outrun was nice, but he was pulling up a bit shallow. He, however, realized it and flared out beautifully to land nice and deep, and walk up straight and confident. He was, of course, walking up right through my "LIE DOWN" whistle. My emphatic lie down whistle, in fact. According to Julie he also managed to effectively lift the sheep, GOOSE them, and then lie down. Doofus. Fetch was offline until after the panels, he did NOT want to let off of the pressure to correct the line, nor did he want to stop. Turn at the post was lovely, as was the drive away.
The cross drive for the first run was a pull back through the fetch panels, which he did pretty nicely. We managed to time out at the pen though. Wanna know why? His idiot handler had neglected to check how it opened during the handler's meeting, and thought she was going to have to take the danged thing apart to get them in it.
So sheepdog trialing noobs, listen up. When the seasoned veterans tell you to make sure you know how to open the pen, you should listen. For reals.
Second run his outrun was nicer, though he slightly overran. Lifted a bit crooked (I thought, but his lift score was better) and then same fetch as before. Same exact score, actually. Drive away was a hair squirrelly, mostly due to the dog deciding that maybe he should see if he could just do what he wanted to. We discussed it. I won.
He did the most beeeyoootiful crossdrive he's ever done. Up until today every cross drive we've done at a trial has mostly been him goosing sheep, winging around to cover, me trying to get him around, rinse and repeat. Today he got in there and with some steady's and some small flanks damn if we didn't actually drive some sheep.
That being said, we timed out before we got to the pen. This course was the full drive (it was a long drive) and as a result didn't get our drive points at all. We did miss the crossdrive panels, and had a squirrely trek back to the pen because the sheep were bound and determined to get back to the setout. They'd neglected to tell the judge that we'd have an extra minute, so we timed out when we shouldn't have. But hey, there were others who managed to complete the course AND pen on the smaller amount of time, so fair enough. I'm not complaining at ALL.
I think we ended up fifth or sixth in the first go (there were some really, REALLY nice runs after ours, including Robin's Billy - who is very young, and looked very good, and Denise's May who kicked some serious young dog bootie). I don't know where we wound up on the second run - but I think I won the "Who can have the lowest score that is a NUMBER" prize. Wonder what we get for that?
Here's the thing... we didn't do all that great from a score standpoint, and we didn't get our second Nursery leg, but I'm so happy with him and our runs. They were very respectable, and I was just pleased as punch with his driving. There were a lot of things that he gave me that he hasn't been, and I think the time off did him some good. He's gotten a lot tougher, and I truly had a ball today. The weather held out until we were finished too, so that was a very good thing. Anet has a beautiful place, and I really liked the challenges on the field.
Update on tomorrow to follow!