I have never made it into the Mendocino finals. Most years I have never even tried to enter this nearly-mythical race. This year I thought I should try as Coal is doing pretty well in the RESDA world, middle of the pack most times and would do better if I could clean up my perpetual handler errors. But on Saturday we had one of those magic runs that you dream about. Hardly a hoof or paw out of place.
Coal ran dog #9 out of 24 dogs so I had to wait all day to see his score and if his run would hold up. I was fairly certain it was good but I wasn't certain about how judge and longtime handler/rancher Nancy Todd would see it from up in her perch in the judge's stand.
When the trial was over, Coal was the eliminations trial winner. He got 57 points out of a possible 60! I was shocked and delighted. I about wore out my "thank you" responding to everyone's congratulations. It was just a great run and it was all the dog...and I didn't do anything stupid. I am really thankful for such a wonderful dog who clicked in at the right time on the wily Johnson ranch woolies. We were definitely in that elite eight for the first time. Wow! Photos by Teri Tucker - thank you!
|Coal's lift - straight down the arena center towards me|
|Coal on the fetch on the Boonville Green|
|We have turned the post (pen) and completed our fetch, and started to the first panel|
|And the second panel is neatly completed.|
|Coal bringing them steadily toward the chute|
|Thru the chute they go...like buttah!|
|At the pen, breathing...|
|And in! Yes!|