Sunday, June 5, 2011

Slash J Day 1

Another amazing venue for a trial, and very wily sheep added to the mix here. 500 yards out and up a gentle rise, to 3 undogged yearlings. Fetches were very "creative" to say the least, with almost none even close to online. The hearing on the fetch was very bad. We tried to blame it on the wind but then it got still the second day of running and still the dogs were not taking whistles. I think a few whistles and shouts were getting out to them, but for the most part, another silent gather.

Bill ran the first evening of the trial, in terrible wind. Outrun and lift were very nice but the fetch was terrible. I got dizzy i was whistling so hard, as my dog and sheep ended up 100 yards offline. Finally one of my flank whistles got through, and all that did was cause Bill to actually circle his sheep, something he's never, ever done. Upon deciding that all of our fetch points were gone, i just shut up and let Bill fetch them straight to me while i caught my breath and prepared for the drive. Our drive was pretty good considering the wind. Most dogs were not hearing well at the driveaway panel but it seemed Bill heard most of what i was giving. Shed was neat, and we finally managed our first pen in the Dakotas! Score was 70, which seemed pretty good with the conditions but i thought surely it wouldn't hold up. There were a couple of other nice runs in the evening, especially Jean Gellings with her Star (what a nice dog!) scoring a 69. When we woke up to a still morning, i thought the hearing would improve and scores skyrocket, but it didn't happen, and only Vergil Holland and Scott managed to knock us down with a similar "lousy fetch, good other parts" run. It was just plain tough out there. Zac had a pretty decent run as well, with a better fetch (relatively speaking - probably still lost most of our fetch points). It had gotten hot though and i was out of dog by the time we got to the shed. We did manage the shed and had time for the pen but i elected to not push it with such a hot dog, and possibly lose our sheep off course as so many had done already. Zac's score was a 58, which kept him in the top 20% for the third trial. I think he's probably sitting in pretty good shape for qualifying for the big double lift at the end of these trials. Each dog's top 3 scores out of the 4 are added together, and either 10 or 12 will run back on the final day. That should be big fun on these sheep and this field! Tomorrow is the last day of running the Open, so we'll know then. Bill still needs another decent run since he had a DQ and just has 2 scores right now. Very exciting here!

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