Thursday, November 14, 2013

Nothing to Write Home About but Still Grateful

Our runs at Hopland this year were nothing to write home about. I wasn't sure I was even going to write anything about it in the blog. The first run was not too great, and the second run ended almost as soon as it started. I love the Hopland trial and the venue, the sheep, the crew, the landscape, the hospitality -- just everything about it; but a nice respectable run there, has eluded us once again.

One habit I am trying to learn is to find at least one good thing about every run, even if it is a poor run. In our first run I was happy to find that Coal responded to a verbal lie down on the fetch, which we have been practicing. A slow down or stop on the fetch has been really hard for me to get from him, and it has burdened us in the past at trials when I couldn't make it happen. A verbal is less preferable than a whistle, but I'll happily use the verbal if that is what works. So despite a poor outrun, not so great drive and timing out in the shed ring, we did have a stop on the fetch. We just missed the fetch gates I think but overall the fetch was not bad.

On our second run the outrun was even worse. In the run before ours, in which the dog ran way wide, the sheep had broken away from the spotter and ran back towards their corrals, which they repeated again on Coal's and my run. Since Coal's outrun was tight at first and then bordered on way too wide, we were not given a rerun; I didn't think we should have a rerun either, but I was pretty disappointed that Coal's poor outrun had again reappeared. We've been practicing a lot, at many different places over the past few months, and his outruns have been good. I was surprised. The next day, a friend prompted me to find something positive to say about this run...I had a hard time coming up with something. She suggested --with some humor --  that I could conclude that no one died! Well yes, no one died during our run! So there is a positive note that puts things in perspective. :-)

It's hard to believe that I've had Coal seven years this month. But seven years ago my aspirations were a lot different. This dog and I have come so far, that despite my disappointments about recent trials, I have to look back and smile and be proud at how far we have come. I didn't dream that I would ever run in Open and Coal is the dog who took me there. I'm super grateful for that! He tries hard and gives his all. We have one more trial before year's end. I'm just going to try to be grateful that we get to run no matter what else happens. Every time I go to the post I carry a crook that a friend gave me; and even though it's not a really pretty fancy crook, I feel that friend is with me, which is a good thing. And then we have the winter to try to get Spot going...

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