Yesterday at during the trial at McDonalds Ewesful Acres we had a totally kick ass time.
I am very proud of both Beth and Brynn.
As it turns out I ran Beth instead of John. Due to the economy and precarious nature of John's work he cannot miss any work during the summer. When most of the union is sitting in the hall waiting for a job John is eternally grateful for any and all opportunities for work. That said he is going to be unable to take time off the rest of the summer to trial Beth. Unfortunately most of the upcoming trials are three days which means he will need to take off at least one day during the work week to run her. Since I am still unemployed...that means I get to run her.
I have to tell you...I am broken hearted. (not!)
On Sunday before the novice portion of the trial we went over to Cindy's to help with tagging, worming and weaning (separating the lambs from the ewes). After we were done we worked dogs in the ensuing cacophony of screaming lambs and ewes. It was the first time I really worked Beth for a while. Brynn left me wondering why the heck I was even considering taking her out on the trial field.
I kept thinking about everything Patrick and Dianne said at the Novice Handlers clinic, specifically "don't be in a hurry to trial your dog". Truthfully, Brynn was not really ready. But this was not going to be a damaging situation for her. She was going to be running on a familiar field at Sue's on familiar sheep. I was prepared to step away from the post at any moment to help her. This was an experience for us both and a chance for her to get acquainted with the atmosphere at a trial. The key was to set a few simple and achievable goals for myself and my dogs.
1. Have fun & keep positive
2. Maintain control and project calm to my dog - leave all emotion at the gate
3. Help my dog work correctly & leave the post at the first sign of trouble
For the dogs:
1. Brynn works with me and acknowledges me in the field
2. Have a positive run with Beth.
3. Get one pen
I am happy to say while our scores were dismal at best, I achieved all our goals.
First up was Beth's run. Her outrun was very nice, albeit a bit slow. She overshot the top which caused her to bring the sheep down the fetch off line and miss the panels. The fetch was too fast because I didn't slow her down (my bad). She did lie down when I pulled my head out of the clouds. Then I headed to the pen. I made the mistake of turning my back on her and she popped up and brought the sheep flying past me ...and the pen. Oops. Then we started the circle routine. We managed to get the sheep into the pen - but I turned my back on her again and she shot around the back and popped them out. I am happy to say that I didnt yell at her and we continued to calmly work on getting our pen but we timed out. We finished with a 3-3-9-10 which gave us a 35 out of 60. Now I know I need to work on the fetch, pace and pen.
Brynn was up next. I learned a very valuable lesson. Always send your dog in the direction your gut tells you too first. I wanted to send Brynn Come-By. Instead for some reason I chose Away. She wanted to go Come-By. (why didn't I listen?) I set her up on on right side - gave her the signal and poof...she jumped up, went 10 feet and then suddenly turned around - ran BEHIND me and went on the come-by. It was not a cross over from what I understand - but still hurt us. Someone told me that move is called a "sling-shot"? Brynn was sticky (her eye sucked her in) on her outrun and stopped twice but she took each "get back" from me and continued on and kicked out. She lifted the sheep very nicely - but a tad bit slow and hesitant. Her pace on the fetch was too fast because I didn't slow her down (I need to work on that) but she made the fetch panels. I got her slowed down and the sheep settled. I opened the pen and after a tad bit of trouble WE MADE THE PEN! We ended with a 15-3-7-4 which gave us 31out of 60. I need to work on Brynn's outrun and lifting sheep off people & dogs. Slowing her down on the fetch - training my eye to see when she is getting too close to the sheep.
Beth placed 6th and Brynn placed 7th out of a field of 10. I was happy. Very happy.
Now for the best part of the day. It is amazing how small this world is we live in....
When I was coming off the field with Beth the judge Ray Crabtree asked me where we got Beth. I briefly explained she came from rescue & we had no idea really. To make a long story short Ray told me the mystery was solved.
He told me "I raised a dog named Beth and it is her. There is no doubt in my mind that she is the same dog."
Ray owned her mother and father. He named her Beth as a puppy - a name she came into rescue with. He raised her and started her on stock. He ended up placing her into a pet home when she was just over a year old because he felt she was one of those dogs that could live without sheep. The man he placed her with just wanted a little buddy. He lost track of Beth and the young man later and had always wondered about her. he had no idea she ended up in rescue. He was overjoyed to find her. He is going to send me her puppy pictures and try to locate her papers.
Beth's mother was Ivy. Her father was Zip. Beth's grandfather was Robin Nuffer's Nap who won the 2001 National Cattle Dog Nursery Finals.
Beth seemed to remember him. Beth is never this relaxed next to a person she does not know.
Very small world indeed.
Ray told me that Beth broke her front leg as a puppy. Her mother went grey at about Beth's age now - which explains the grey on her muzzle. Beth is about 5 years old. She gets the tri color brindle on her back legs from her mother too. Two of Beth's littermates are working stock dogs in Canada and have done quite well in trials.
Ray Crabtree...I think you are terrific. Thank you so much for remembering Beth. Without you and the accidental breeding that resulted in Beth - we never would have found our way into border collie rescue. Beth brought us into the world of herding. A new hobby, way of life and so many wonderful people, friends and experiences. This little dog changed our lives.
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