Saturday we went to the 1st winter series trial at MacDonalds Ewesful Acres in Longbranch, WA. Beth and I ran novice. (Thank you to Jorgen Persson for taking pictures).
We did it! We got a score!
Beth and I walking to the handlers post - two plastic pumpkins - of which marked the shedding ring from open. (Note to self: NEVER wear that white vest again).
Oops, false start.
I am still not sure what I am doing out there.
I find myself freezing and have thoughts enter my head like "How do you know when you need to send your dog?"
I thought the sheep were settled, eating their grain. Right after I sent Beth "away" they took off to the left. Our score sheet said "Sheep left before dog got there - not caused by dog".
Beth had a very nice outrun. She only lost one point. She slowed a bit and looked like she was going to come in, I gave her a nice gentle "away" and she bent out - but her sheep were running away.
Beth had to hustle to get around the sheep at the top (since they were running) she struggled a bit with the lift (was there even a lift if the were running already?) Anyway, they split up a bit, I am guessing from too much pressure? Two points were lost on the lift.
The fetch wobbled and the pace was a bit to fast...from what my hazy brain remembers. We lost 12 points on the fetch.
This next photo shows me trying to get to the pen, while turning around and saying "LIE DOWN and STAY".
Whoops, when I got to the pen, turned my back to pick up the rope and open the gate the sheep came flying past me and headed to the exhaust. Beth got ahead of them and brought them back.
We timed out at the pen on...what I believe was the 40 bazillionth time circling it.
The notes on the score sheet for the pen said "Handler Errors - asking for lie down at wrong times"
I need more penning help. Seriously, I don't get it.
Kinda like threading a needle underwater the way I see it.
I kept saying to myself "DONT YOU DARE QUIT". Even when I wanted to shout "HELP ME!"
Whoops, there they go to the exhaust. Beth brought them back to the pen again.
I understand the objective - get the sheep in the pen.
When we get to the pen, suddenly my world view is limited to tunnel vision.
I am struck with an attack of the WTF's and find myself unable to see anything other than Beth darting around like a fart in a mitten.
I do shout lie down at the wrong time, heck I don't know when the RIGHT time is? Beth lies down, then the minute the sheep move or I wag my stick at the sheep she pops up. She goes one way, the sheep go another and we cannot seem to get them settled enough to figure it out.
I don't think Beth gets it either. I don't think she understands what I am asking of her.
We obviously didn't get the pen which left us with a score of 35 out of a possible 60 & 5th place in the class.
You know what? I AM SO HAPPY!
The really cool thing? 4th, 5th and 6th were all rescues! My friend Vicki placed 4th with a dog she was running for the first time (Twig) and Vicki placed 6th with Gryff who hasn't been on sheep for 6 weeks due to an injury. GOOD JOB VICKI!
I need to be easy on ourselves here. We have had one 15 minute penning lesson with Chris. Penning basics with my friend Cindy and then two attempts at penning at the last trial. This was penning attempt number five...ever.
Guess I know what we are going to work on with Scott this week. Penning.
I am very proud of Beth.
She is such an honest dog.
If I were her, I would bite me. Instead she wags her tail, licks my face and forgives me each and every time.
To wrap up this post I had to share this picture of Vicki with Twig. To me, this says it all.