Nancy asked me to do the blog on the trial so here goes. Sorry for the delay but the days just fly by and wifi connections are few and far between.
The trial was very well run and weather was great. Cool with sunny periods and no rain other than a short sprinkle a couple of days. Shuttles ran between fields but they were all close together. Field one and two were lovely open green fields with no markers at all to help with the cross drive lines. Field three was the killer with long stubble and slight undulations. As the mornings wore on the hearing became an obvious factor. The scores reflected the challenges of the hearing.
Nan ran on the first day on field three. We drew up right at one when it was warm and the wind had totally died. She couldn’t hear me on the fetch and she totally lost touch with me on the cross drive. Very heart breaking to have the run ended by hearing as she has been running so well over here. She finally just kept bringing the sheep to me. I couldn’t get to the cross drive panel and retired. I guess the next day one handler from Sweden I think actually laid down and whistled and the dog heard. Wished I would have known that!!
Gus ran near the end of the day on field two. The scores were very high on that field with at least six scores over 200 out of 220. Outrun was about 450 with a drive of about same distance, as was the case on all the fields. Hearing good on this field, sheep nice but a strong draw on the cross drive to a gate. The gate was behind a house that jutted out into the field. Gus lost nothing on his outrun and lift. He lost 14 on the fetch. The sheep were kept inside the gates but jerky as I was holding Gus back to try and keep the sheep settled. The stopping allowed the sheep to wobble. In hindsight I wished I would have run him a bitter differently, allowing him to get hold of the sheep more. Turn was a bit tough as sheep reluctant to go towards the grandstand. First leg of drive good and turn good. Had sheep nicely settled through first part of a long cross drive and then they started to run for the gate which lay past the cross drive panels. They strung out as well. I was keeping Gus high as many handlers had missed the gates high. Aled Owen’s sheep had strung out and ran half way as well but of course he managed to line them right through the gate! Me not so clever. Realized I was low so gave Gus inside flank but too late as I had him on the high side. Then had to flank him way back around to try make the turn but the sheep had already disappeared behind the house. Judges hit me 40 points for that mess. Gus brought them back nicely into the shedding ring. Marked shed took me time but lost no points. Gus penned them very well as the sheep were tricky to pen. No points off the pen. I let him do the work and he didn’t need me! Back to the shedding ring for the marked single with under a minute to go. Aled Owen had made it look so easy so no problem right!! LOL. Thought I had it but two held back as I was about to call Gus instead of one, ran out of time – so 20 points off there. Score of 146. Not near high enough to get to the semi finals as they took 7 from each field each day, but Gus ran well so I went away with knowing he ran well and sure wishing we had another shot at it!!
I had certainly hoped to do better in representing Canada but you do what you can and I sure learned so much from the experience and from watching the great handlers that make it all look so easy. Competing with so many excellent handlers and talented dogs will be an experience in a lifetime for me.