I LOVED the Shaded Heart trial even though my dogs didn't get sheep past the first drive panel. But, they performed to the best of their skill sets with non dog broke lambs. At least they brought them to my feet both days.
The first day, Yoko ran out and hesitated at the 3/4 mark. Set out didn't think she saw her sheep set at 400 yds. Oh yes she did, she just wasn't sure she wanted to pick them up was my take on it. She hesitated, I'm sure thinking to herself, "Geez....5 people, and 3 dogs, at the set out, and lambs my Mom won't want me to bite." I didn't say anything to her and she started a slow lope to the top. She was pretty slow about coming into the sheep. I did a few soft walk-up whistles and then saw one of the set out dogs walk right into the lambs. I was thinking, WTH? Turns out Yoko piddled at the top and the set out dog was trying to pee on her pee. Lordy. But, she brought them. The judge could have called her on the fetch (I saw a couple of heel bites) but he didn't. When they stood her off around the post, she let them have it. DQ Day two she did a nice outrun, came in deep and soft at the top. The lambs lifted nicely for her. As she did a nice turn at the post, they turned on her as they did with all of the dogs. She was quite patient. I was impressed. Then like lightning she went in for a grip and I yelled "No" and she came to a sliding stop. It was all that was needed to get the sheep turned and on their way to the first drive panel. Right in the middle of the first drive panel, the lambs turned on her again. Before I could even think, Yoko took care of business DQ. Oh well.
Champ wouldn't stop on the fetch both days because he didn't feel in control of the situation. And, he probably wasn't LOL Thankfully, he has nice balance. When the lambs turned on him, I just let him think about it. He was nose to nose with them. He made himself real tall like his mother and walked them backwards quite a few steps until one gave him a nod. He popped her one. The judge let it go. It was a decent grip. But, they kept trying to go over the top of him to get to the exhaust. By the third grip, he got called DQ Day two, just about the same thing, except now he was a little more pissed off than day one. When they turned on him, I thought I could see steam starting to exit his ears. He went in and gripped and then gripped again and not a very nice grip. He has a HUGE bite. DQ
Anyway, great trial...loved every minute of it.
I had a glorious trip sight seeing on the road. I stopped at Leavenworth and Grand Coulee Dam on the way up and Dry falls, Soap Lake, and Mount Rainier on the way back.
My favorite part of the trip was stopping at Carolynn Bernard-Harwell and Brenda and Jim McBrides farms. I spent the night at the McBrides.
Just getting over a chest cold, I decided to brave the weather and drive 6 hours to Oregon for the Marcola and Scio trials. I really wanted to support Todd and Scott. The Marcola field is a good 400 yards and the sheep were difficult last year, but maybe, not as difficult as this year. hahaha Just weaned lambs that were huge were difficult to set to say the least and even more difficult to keep on line. Plus, they truly didn't want to go through any panels. Quite a few re-runs were handed out because of the sets. Everyone was trying at the top, but it was, what it was.
Yoko got a rerun because set-out dogs were running everywhere trying to catch the lambs. Her second time out I didn't have to say anything to her until she was well on her fetch. Gotta love that! She got scolded at home a few days prior for randomly biting a sheep. I let her know I was unhappy with her and tied her up while I worked Champ. She understood. So I was really pleased that she didn't bust them on her lift. Intact, she didn't even attempt to grip and she had plenty of chances. LOL I let her bring the lambs a a pretty good pace and I knew I wouldn't have time to play around at the panels so I just tried to keep her on line as best as I could. She had a bit of a sloppy shed on the back two. Plus, when she had to regather in the ring before the pen, two bolted to the handler's gate. Yoko very carefully peeled them off without any inclination of gripping. I was so proud of her!
Her pen was a thing of beauty. And, her pen was the only pen accomplished all day. Not many got to try because I think there were only 3 or 4 sheds all day.
Champ was over his head. I can't see 400 yards and neither could the judge. I guess they had to rely on radios. This might be a good time for binoculars. Anyway, i gave a few flanks and the judge said, "Call him in." The course director said his sheep ran back tot he trees. Oh well. I let him run PN non-comp and he was difficult to stop. he ran the lambs down the field which didn't make them happy campers. They put up a fight around the judge's truck which ended in a DQ grip to a nose of a lamb that was trying to run over the top of him. Oh well.
Next trial was Scio with the Shetland flock. "Meet the Flockers"....NOT. They don't flock well and if you try to speed them up they split and go opposite directions. Truly maddening. I tried no verbals with Champ and just whistles. Hey, I am trying almost anything at this point with him. He usually over runs his outrun and flips back which i hate, so I was ready. But, he fooled me, He stopped short. I don't think he could believe his eyes at the tiny size of the Shetlands. He worked them too quickly and over flanked, but completed the course with a lowly 55 or something like that.
Yoko hates this field. I'm not sure why. She came up short. I whistled to her, but she was already over thinking the shetlands on the hay. When they didn't move as she gave them her all business look, she took manners into her own paws. Some judges would have DQ'ed her right then and there, but the judge let it go. That made the shetlands mad and they squirted off to the left of the field. I thought Yo would lose them to the woods, but I whistled for all I was worth and finally, she rounded them up and put them back on line to make the fetch panels. But the judge had already hit her for 17 on the fetch. So I guess it didn't matter that the 5 went through and traveled the rest of the way straight. LOL Yoko had gained their respect and it was smooth sailing and nice lines other than me going low on the cross drive panels. I had liked to kick myself for that. Yoko had a nice shed, pen, and single. LOVE penning with this dog. She is just like her father :0) She can drop a shoulder, or move her head to get exactly the moves she needs from the sheep. Truly fun to watch. I was so proud of her! She ended up with a score of 77, enough to make her the High Combined open winner of the two trials.
And with Champ's sis, Jojo winning the High Combined pro-novice it made for a delightful weekend for me and Carol Wiggins. Especially nice since I was camping out at her house. We went out to dinner Fri/Sat. and Sun. What fun was that? It doesn't get much better than that :)
Onward and upward...trying to get out to as many different places as I can with different sheep for my dogs to work. Going to be difficult with Winter coming on. The temp is dropping into the 30's/40's now. I'll give it my best shot.