Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Been There, Done That; Got the T-Shirt: McCormack Days Two-Three

Day Two of the McCormack Ranch trial was not nearly so windy; it was a beautiful sunny day with only light winds. In the afternoon it got pretty hot. I know some of our dogs (and people) are not acclimated to the heat yet, this spring. Spot and I had another run and we tried to make the best of it after the first day's failure to even get out to the sheep.

The Saturday course was the same: left hand drive, shed-pen-single, with the time reduced from 15 to 14 minutes. This was still ample time to complete the course if the work was efficient and moved the sheep properly. Some folks finished with one to four minutes to spare, even!

I sent Spot to the right this time, as I had initially wanted to do the first day but then got swayed by watching others and switched my plan. Today I stuck to my original plan. I had to re-direct Spot out four or five times, but he got out there, thank goodness, and lifted the sheep. The fetch was not all that pretty, nor was the drive, but we got around. I think we missed all of the possible gates but we were not far off the mark. We did our shed, moved on to the pen, where time was called, and we got 54 points. So no pen or single points, for us.

McCormack Ranch trial field
 What a beautiful trial field and setting! The sheep were fantastic. What a nice thing to be able to have time to do the full course of shed-pen-single. No one had to feel super-rushed through the work if they kept their sheep at a nice pace and their dog worked them properly.

Saturday scores
I'm so glad that Spot and I got to run at McCormack. I don't have any regrets about moving him up in class even though we now can't go back to PN. I am only looking forward.

Friday's scoreboard
I was thrilled to get a score even though Spot and I did not complete the course. It was a decent, respectable run for our first time in Open. :-) I figured out something I am doing that I will need to fix; I am stopping and flanking him too much and I need to let things flow more. I wanted to try to handle more this way on Sunday.

Sunday's running order had us listed as dog six; not much time to get ready or get nervous.  The judge and the course director had changed the course around. They switched it to a right-hand drive, and put in a marked shed and pen instead of the traditional shed, pen, and single. Each dog and handler team got six sheep and two of them were marked. You were supposed to sort off the two marked sheep as well as one other plain one (the wild card), and then pen those three. I was really looking forward to trying this sort/shed as this is the type of work that Spot and I really enjoy doing. We have practiced this type of thing multiple times. But it was not meant to be. He again needed a lot of help on the outrun but he got out there after 4-5 whistles. Then he lifted the sheep and just barely started them towards us. I don't know what happened next but all of a sudden he appeared to be running back towards me, down the fetch line. At this point there was nothing to do but retire. It was somewhat dissappointing but I am not discouraged. This was our first open trial and I chose the biggest open trial in our area to move Spot up. Even the person who has been urging me to move Spot to open ASAP was a little taken aback by this move of mine; I am not regretful. I learned so much about the dog, and my handling and what I need to work towards just by running in this trial.

Oh and I did get the t-shirt :-)

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