The Lexington SDT this weekend was very nice. The field was gorgeous, large and laid out nicely. The sheep were relatively decent, though cranky about shedding and sometimes about penning. Set out was done extremely well, i thought. There were a couple of things that could have been done better (printed running orders, letting people know about changes to the class schedule before they actually arrived at the trial) but they weren't a huge deal and are part of the growing pains of a new trial. I'm sure things will run more smoothly as the hosts gain more experience. Speaking of the hosts, David Clark and Cheryl Branibar were lovely hosts, gracious and welcoming, and they worked tirelessly. Hats off to both of them. Bob Washer won the 1st round, after a run off with Mike Hanley. Mark Billadeau won the 2nd round, with Christine Henry finishing second.
I was happy with how my dogs ran this weekend. They were sharp and crisp, but unfortunately i wasn't quite as sharp. Three weekends in a row on the road caught up with me a bit, i believe. In the first round, i ran Spottie second in the class and Jet had the last run of the day. Neither of those draws tend to be good ones for me, plus it was the first cold day of the season out there. Spottie ran quite well, clean all the way around, and even got a shed, which was hard to come by in the early going. I was a little disappointed when her score was posted but decided that i needed to sharpen up my drive lines. Jet decided the sheep had been set well to the right of where they actually were, so ran very straight up the field and needed two stops and finally a turnback whistle to get going to the right spot. That pretty much took us out of contention right off the bat. I also ran Gael in the middle of the day. She ran out beautifully but the sheep were slow to lift, obviously having never heard that Gael will punish sheep that take too long to lift for her. About 25 yards into the fetch, she ran through them. But we got it back together and she was pretty decent around the course, for the tense little monster she is. I didn't run her in the second round and probably won't run her at trials any more. I love working her around the farm but trials are just too much for her nerves. And mine.
Jet and Spottie ran very late in the second round, Jet at #49 and Spottie last at #57. I thought Jet had a very good run and was quite shocked at her score but i guess that's the way it goes sometimes. She was very clean on her gather with a gorgeous, straight fetch. Apparently the judge and i had differing ideas on the drive lines as we lost 12 points there. The finish was clean. Spottie was her usual spectacular self on the outrun and lift, completely nailing it and receiving a 20-10, as well as compliments from the setout person. I couldn't quite get her far enough to the right to cover the draw and we missed the fetch gates. The drive and pen were decent and after a missed attempt on the shed, i retired since she was looking tired and we were far from placing.
All in all, it was a nice trial in a beautiful setting, with changing leaves and autumn colors in the mountain backdrop.
There's not much to report on the Zac rehab front right now. I'm continuing his hikes every day and the sprints as we can find the space. He does still skip very occasionally, even with his good side made somewhat less comfortable by the boot with pebbles in it. I have a call in to Dr Sherman and hope to talk to him today to get the plan for the coming week. I'd like to be able to start working him soon and possibly run him in the Rural Hill SDT in November.