Lad and I on the left in the parade. Lad is looking for the sheep behind me up the field. A good sign.That little distraction didn't last long and since we had drawn up 9th, it was soon time to go to the post. The first outrun was to the left. The sheep had been moved closer to the left hand fence but it was the same direction I had sent Lad in the first two rounds so I was pretty sure he could get out clean that way.
So close but so far away. He can't see them because they are on a hill and I can't see him because he's behind the tree.As he came back, I could see he had crossed and I could see he had it in his head to go back to where he found the first set. I guess he figured it worked before so maybe it would work again. I decided to go along with it. He had already lost all his outrun points so there was no reason for me to be stingy with whistles and voice. I couldn't lose anymore than I already had so when he got to the left fence I told him to keep going. He went all the way back to the set out pens and I kept telling him to go comebye. He kept moving and trusting so I kept talking. All the way across the pens and as he passed them, he saw the sheep. I gave him several more comebye flanks to get him to the right side of the sheep so they would lift at an angle to the fetch panels. He lifted good and had a good line to the panels and made them.
By this time, Lad was done. The day was cool but his little mind was failing. My plan with the drive had been to keep the pace up to keep the flock together and not let them spread out. There were alot of dogs that were not strong enough to do this but I knew Lad had a nice driving trot and I thought we'd get that going but he had had enough. We struggled just as much as many of the other dogs. Lad wasn't pushing and the sheep kept spreading out so I had to flank him over to put them back together. We lost a few back through the drive gates and I think we had some that didn't get through the crossdrive gates. (I can't remember much except that I was blowing a TON of whistles)
Meanwhile, in the spectator tent, people told me later that Scott was a mess. I guess he said he was more nervous while I was running (for good reason!) than when he runs. They said he was pacing and switching chairs and just couldn't sit still.
I have learned so much from this experience, mainly that I need more experience. I think it will light a fire under me that will next time leave me more prepared. Now, if I could just get into the double lift at the finals, I promise I'll be more ready!