Got away to Longbranch Wa. to a fun little one day trial. A big thank you to George and Sue MacDonald for hosting the trial and to Ron Fisher for taking the time to judge. The stock was set by Sue and George, along with Ashley and Heidi. It was nice to get away to this trial and see old and new friends.
I ran Chuck in Pro/Nov. He was a little on the muscle and got pulled in by his eye on the outrun. His lift was quiet and he brought the sheep nicely though we just missed our fetch panels. On our first drive line he got caught up about half way up trying to bring the sheep back but with a little effort we got through that. Second drive, he held the sheep on a good line, dropping a little low at the last moment so skimmed the panels on the inside. Rather then a pen they had a chute. The line to the chute was good, just missing it but turned them back and right through. Overall it was a middle of the road run. As a young dog I felt good about what he did. He held his sheep well, took most of his commands leaving me feeling pretty confident about working him (unfortunately that means I get to take just as much blame for our mistakes… timing, timing, timing).
Vaider was in open. The course was his type of course with a dog leg fetch and a double panel drive away on the first leg of the drive. Vaider is always a steady dog to run. He had no real problem with the course other then a hesitation on his flank allowed the sheep to step around the second set of panels on the first leg of the drive. I was very happy with the last leg of the drive into the chute; it was clean and smooth the whole way putting the sheep into and through the chute. In the shedding ring I thought I might be in trouble as the sheep balled up and did not seem to want to line out. It did not take Vaider long to get the head of the last sheep and we had our single. In the end it was good enough for a second place finish behind Norm Close with Craig. https://youtu.be/Z4ePaK1HKUU
It is always nice to feel confident in the dogs you have to run. The interesting thing about that for me is; the more confident I am in my dogs ability the more pressure I feel at the post.
It was great to see so many people I know go to the post to do something that can be so challenging, yet, win lose or draw, so rewarding. The relationship that develops between handler and dog is both thrilling and interesting. I think stockdog work is a never ending learning experience. If you are not learning about livestock you are learning about your dog; and if not either of those you are learning about yourself. For me, one of the big thing is to not get so wrapped up in it that I miss out on the fun.