We followed up Edgeworth with a Tuesday-Wednesday trial in Grottoes, VA, at the Quiet Acres SDT. This first trial hosted by Dan and Sylvia King at their lovely farm was really great. The setting was gorgeous with the leaves starting to change in the Blue Ridge mountains (photo by Christine Koval). The rolling field made for a tricky outrun, the course was plenty challenging, the sheep fit and happy. The trial was a benefit for the Bluegrass and Belle Grove SDTs and drew a nice crowd. The atmosphere was relaxed and friendly and i had a great time. And the handler's dinner prepared by Jim Winecoff was wonderful.
I decided to drive up to the trial on Tuesday morning rather than trying to take the camper or stay over in a hotel, trying to preserve my dwindling vacation time. I really wanted to support Dan and Sylvia with their first trial, they're such great people and have been very supportive of our Whistle for a Cure trials. I rolled in about 2 runs before my first run with Bill. A few quick questions to figure out the course and off we went to the post. We had a fairly decent run up to the split (it was split-pen after the drive). I couldn't seem to get any sort of gap at all with the 4 hair sheep. No fault of Bill's this time around, it just didn't happen, and we ran out of time staring at one solid wall of 4 sheep. Zac was up second to last and he really had it down cold with the sheep, hardly putting a foot wrong. I love it when he runs like that! In the end, he'd scored a 92 and won the class for his first ever Open win. Hard to believe that it's taken this long but it's true. I think he's probably had 8 or 10 second places but never taken home a blue ribbon. Yay for Zac! I ran Zeke non-compete at the end of the day and was very happy with him. His outrun was very nice, fetch good. He was putting too much pressure on the sheep on the drive and making them turn around to look at him, which he didn't like. Things would stall out a little and he'd poke into the sheep to get them going. Not pretty but effective. Just young dog stuff as he figures out how to work the different types of sheep we run into.
It started pouring rain overnight Tuesday night. Sylvia had very graciously offered to let me crash in her RV for the night. Unfortunately, a small leak overhead turned into a bigger leak overnight, and it was kind of a drippy night in bed! I snuggled around a pot in the bed catching drips for a few hours but eventually it ran me off into the house and onto the couch. Pretty funny and now i have a good story to rib Dan and Sylvia with.
Wednesday morning was nasty and rainy and icky. I was up first so chose to run Zeke for the experience. He ran quite well again and i was happy to see he'd sorted out in his mind about moving the sheep, and things smoothed right out. He had a very nice shed but we timed out on the pen. I was feeling tired and creaky with the chilly rain so decided to sit the rest of the day out, and jumped in my warm, dry truck for the trip home. I hated to miss running Zac and Bill but it sure was nice with the heat cranked up, and we would be on our way to the next trial in only a couple of days.
It was a great inaugural trial at Quiet Acres, and i definitely plan to be back next year!