On Labor Day John went to the post for the first time when he ran Beth in Novice/Novice at the Rocky Ewe Trial in Yelm, WA.
The trial was small enough that each class was able to run twice through the day.
The outrun was nice, Beth's lift was nice.
The fetch was straight and through the panels.
Beth backed off at the appropriate time, John was able to settle the sheep and walk to the pen.
Beth is a pattern trained dog. She has penned so many times now you just need to open the door and she will push them right in. I learned this the hard way when I kept trying to interfere and tell her what to do - then we would go around and around the pen. The secret to penning with Beth is to keep quiet and let her do it.
This was John's first trial and I think nerves got to him.
The poor guy forgot his flanks and the only thing that made it out of his mouth was "get back".
Which Beth did, but you could see her trying to figure out what he wanted. She would flank, he would say "get back" she would turn and go the other direction, he would say "no" and tell her to "get back". A couple of times she stopped and just stared at him.
Around and around they went. Then John got the rope tangled up in the wrong hands. I could feel his anxiety and remembered when I did the same thing.
And they timed out without getting the pen. Not too shabby they placed 4th.
Their second run started beautifully. Nice outrun, great lift, through the panels again, nice settle then the sheep were walking right into the pen....
When someone let all the sheep out of the exhaust and they ran up onto the field.
When they were cleaning up their mess, the judge, Joe Haynes took the time to give John a few pointers.
Once the sheep were all put back, John started again.
First, a little kiss on Beth's nose.
This run was judged from where the previous one ended. Once Beth got the sheep to the pen, John's trouble started again.
He is confused about what hand the rope goes in, out of nervousness he was waving his stick in the air which confused Beth and scared the sheep.
He got his hands tangled in the rope, and knew there was something, not quite right...
He got his flanks confused again. The poor guy, I could feel his pain.
Slowly, it came together.
Of course I didnt get a shot of it, but they got the sheep into the pen before they timed out and they placed second in the class!
John was very happy with Beth. They both did a great job. This was his first trial and I hope he is going to be hooked.
A relaxing end to a fun, albeit stressful day.