Well, I WAS very happy with my run with Hemp. Ecstatic in fact until I came off the field happily to wait with other handlers in the stands to hear my score. Bad idea, because the handlers piped up about what was wrong with it and then the score didn't reflect the run and now I'm embarrassed that I even went to the post.
My plan was to school Hemp because I knew he wasn't broke or polished enough for this but I had a feeling he could really handle these sheep. The runs have been more difficult today than any of the other days so I figured we'd just see what he could do. The highest score has been a 71 set by Bev Lambert and the second highest was a 61 set by Anne Mock.
I sent him to the left and he did the outrun almost perfect - he had just a little run over the top but corrected himself and lifted nicely. He kept control of those sheep and never let them run off to the right like so many others. He also prevented them from running down the field. We just missed our fetch panels and it was a fight to keep things under control but he flanked like he should and stopped when he should and never chased or harassed the sheep (there is a alot of that going on today) the post was tough with the spectators right there in the stands but we did ok and had a nice line to the panel when the sheep tore up the field. They got past the fetch panels and I knew the score would be no good now but I figured we were practicing right? So he got them stopped and brought them back on line and back to the panel where we turned them just short of the panel and missed them. I couldn't make another try because the sheep pulled so hard up the field that if I sent him on an away, he would be in the wrong place to make the turn without losing them up the field. His crossdrive wasn't bad and I think he was enjoying leaning on the sheep a little and not hearing a constant "TIME" yelled from me to slow him down. We missed the crossdrive panels by just a hair and went to the shedding ring. We had 2 minutes but the sheep were jumpy and Hemp isn't smooth enough on the shed so I took a shed that started out right but ended up on the butts of the sheep and went to the pen where we ran out of time.
Hemp handled the sheep so well that I was over the moon with him. I figured he wouldn't get a high enough score to advance but figured we'd just miss it and he looked good doing it.
However, when I went to the stands and said to my husband that I was proud of the dog, he immediately asked my why I blew the whistle wrong at the drive away panel that made the sheep run up the field. I don't remember blowing any whistle wrong. He said it made the dog take a wrong flank and I don't think the dog ever took a wrong flank but another handler chimed in that I got too excited in front of the crossdrive panels and that's why I missed those. I thought I'd had enough helpful criticism that I was not yet in the mood for (plummeting mood) so I went to check the score and found out that the judge quit judging when I was just short of the drive away panel and all Hemp got was a 37 for all his work. So this run will take a little recovery time for me and I thought things had actually gone so well. Sorry Hemp. I'll try to rise to your level next time.