Tuesday, November 22, 2011
Stand and Deliver
We spent the past weekend at the Dunnigan Hills sheepdog trial near Zamora, CA. Coal was entered both Saturday and Sunday in the Open, judged by Elgar Hughes of Wales. After last weekend at Hopland, I was pretty discouraged about trialling but landed early Saturday morning at the field (after getting up at 3:30 in the morning to make the drive over) with a positive attitude. Coal ran dog #4 in the early morning-my best time of day. It was cold but seemed like perfect dog and sheep weather. We had a very fluid run, hit all the gates, and penned smoothly. I felt sort of like I was in a blur...it was really fun. Anyway then later we went to look at the scores and I was surprised to see that Coal had earned 86 points out of 90! Whoa! Running dog 4 out of more than 50 dogs meant that we had to wait all day long to see where things ended up. Never before had we placed in an open trial. I was surprised by how calm I felt. Everyone congratulated us on our fine run. I probably had the deer in the headlights look but sat back to enjoy and watch the rest of the runs. By day's end we were still in second place, with Anne Mock and Ben earning 87 points in a stellar run to win the trial. What a thrill this was for me: our first-ever open placement, and our first-ever USBCHA points. What a good boy, Coal. Now our trainer says we have to stand and deliver.