So this past weekend, i decided at the last minute to see if i could get the dogs in to the Breezy Hill trial for one day, since it's only a 90 minute drive up there. Calling at 9:00 on friday night to see if you can run the sunday of a saturday/sunday trial is pretty last minute! If it had been me putting on the trial, i'd probably have spit into the phone, knowing how crazy the evening before a trial can be. But Debbie Johnson was very gracious and we did end up driving up for the sunday classes.
It was a little misty to start the day, a big improvement over the downpours they'd endured on saturday. We got there in time to watch the Pro Novice class. It's held in an arena sized area and a real challenge for the dogs, but i got to see some good work. Some was a bit rough but there were some nice dogs running and handlers that are working hard. It's been a few years since i'd been to this trial and i'd say the quality of the PN class has improved since then. Ranch was held on the Open field and there were only 3 dogs running. It was a tough job for the dogs, with the sheep being very wily about getting back to the setout pen.
After a nice hotdog and hamburger cookout lunch (and some yummy cake, mmmmm....), the Open began. It was a small class, 15 dogs i believe. Zeke was first up and very kindly didn't make the sheep work very hard. I wanted to practice some right hand outruns with the dogs, so had decided all 3 would go right. There's a ditch on that side of the field that runs down to the setout spot, and the dogs need to go over it to be right. Zeke decided to trail along it, and i was a little late stopping and redirecting him (redirect which he didn't take, grrr), so he blew right into the sheep from the side, they split and two ran back to the setout pen. Ooops. Sheep 1, Shoofly team 0. I ran Zac next and he managed to cross the ditch but was still tighter than i liked. The sheep fought him pretty good about coming off the top, trying to fake him out and split, but he kept them all together and coming the right way. We hit all the gates and penned, but i couldn't for the life of me figure out how to split the 4 sheep for the shed. They wanted to be behind me so much that i had a hard time even getting them to settle between me and Zac. So i'll call that one a draw. Sheep 2, Shoofly team 1. Bill ran last and i finally wised up to the fact that the sheep were much happier about dogs coming in from the left, so i let him go that way instead of sticking to my training plan of going right. He handled them nicely enough around the course, though i blinked at the fetch gate and let them slip around. I figured we'd have another terrible time with the shed since Bill isn't the most enthusiastic shedder on doggy sheep, and we had at least one of the same sheep i'd had with Zac. But somehow we got them split pretty nicely, yay! One for the team. So for the day, i score it Sheep 2, Shoofly team 2. Bill ended up in 3rd place, Zac in 6th, Zeke in the dog house.
All in all, it was a really nice day of trialing, with some super folks to hang out and visit with. The atmosphere was great, very supportive of all the new folks. I heard zero bitching about anything! Yeah, the sheep were doggy and wily, but they were the same for everyone and you know they'll be that way going in. It was a relaxing day and i enjoyed it immensely. And i didn't know it at the time, but apparently this was the 20th year of Roy and Debbie hosting trials at their place. That's quite the accomplishment and i for one appreciate it, even if i don't make it up there that often. Thanks, y'all!