P-Ville (Porterville) was much better this year. The weather was cool. The sheep were fairly kind. I guess it's the May trial after lambing (and during) that the ewes are pissed off from birthing and out of shape. They aren't happy to have dogs pushing them around a field. Plus, last year they were still wearing their winter wool coats which made them even angrier.
This weekend they probably had just finished having sex and were sporting new fall wool sweaters and on the whole were much kinder to the dogs. Oh yes, some were very tough to lift, some were very hard to drive around the post, and some were cantankerous just because they could be. After all, they are the notorious P-Ville range ewes. :0)
The range ewes
The Scottish judge, Michael Shearer, seemed to be doing an excellent job. Thankfully, the open dogs had shown the range ewes around for two days before the Pro-Novice dogs had to confront them. The judge was lenient with "grips" if the sheep were LEANING on the dog. A grip "just because" was a DQ. He was pretty consistent with his calls.
Yoko says, "Dr. Bob, are you sure these are nicer sheep?"
Yoko made the rounds visiting her friends. She is really turning into a social butterfly. But, honest, don't touch my truck if she is in it. I arrived on Sunday night and I had a bunch of friends that invited me to join them for Mexican food. But, I had just had a Mexican dinner the day before and decided to hang with friends at the trial site for awhile. I ended up having dinner with Dr. Bob and friends. He made some delicious chicken cacciatori. The chicken melted in your mouth. Yum.
Yoko having dinner on the field. Sheep are grazing in the background. After Yoko finished eating we left for our hotel in Lindsay about 15 mi. from the trial site.
Any trial the SJVBCA puts on are FUN. Jim and Sally Oxford and crew are the BEST. Their trials are always low key, eveyone roots for everyone else, and we just have a great time.
See the wash? In the spring it is full of water. This has more meaning for our 2nd run. So, keep that in mind.
Sheep are set down the field towards that square topped middle tree
I was more worried about the lift and fetch than anything. The joke was on me. Nice outrun...a bit flat on the top, perfect lift, and dead on straight fetch. Yo even took her flanks to keep them straight as an arrow. As soon as we started around the post they (All 5) put the big face-on lean on her. I could see her thinking, "What the heck?" Bing Badda Bing she went in for a bite. Everyone was waiting for the judge to say "thank-you" but he didn't. He was pretty lenient IF the sheep leaned heavily on your dog for the exhaust.
Yoko got a little off contact on the first drive. She was a bit nervous from the face off /lean on her at the post. But, I must admit, she didn't look away or try to wear. She held her ground. Sloppily missed the first drive panel and the sheep strung out and only a couple made the cross drive. Got to the pen and Yoko had them pretty riled up. They rang the pen (rather a couple of them) 3 times. I never let them ring the pen more than that. I retired her. Okay, we got around. I met my expectations. :0)
"Yoko says, "Jean I survived. Could I have a swig of your beer?"
This run was a bit shorter lived, but successful in it's own way. I wanted to send Yo left on her outrun, but fearing she would be too wide it might give the ewes a chance to size her up. These gals are quite clever. So, I sent her right. She came in at 1 o'clock right where she should. I didn't say a word. She walked up sizing up the situation just as they were sizing up Yoko. They didn't move. Several stared right at her. Here we were...."Come on little white faced dog...show us what you're made of." I said nothing for at least 30 seconds. The next 30 seconds atop of the Lombardi Tower so I could see her in the grass I gave her a walk-up and then a fast walk-up. No movement from either. I saw Yoko get up on her tippy toes. :0) She was trying to look as tall as she could. I verbally yelled, "Okay YO...Woop Woop." Slam, bam, thank-you Mam! She jumped right into them. She didn't ring them, but she sent the one she bit to the right and the other four at full speed to the "wash." The wash for the sheep was out of bounds. Hey, if the wash had been the spring river, I wonder if they would have gone swimming? I retired and helped her bring the sheep back to the exhaust with the help of 2 other dogs.
So, successful? On the whole, I think so. I'll have to see what another year of experience brings.
It's a lot of "luck of the draw." Some dogs placed in round one and couldn't lift in round two. That's the way it is with the P-Ville range ewes. :0) I had a GREAT time.