Even though the day is not over, I thought I'd better update you on how things are going. Tonight is the handler's dinner so I may not have time to do another update when the runs are over. First I'll just say briefly that Maid's run yesterday was a little Western. Running sheep and finally she'd had enough and gripped on the crossdrive.
In the underclasses they switched to different sheep. They were now the rerun open sheep. Every year this gives the babies a surprise and this year was no different. Kuro's first experience in the nursery class didn't work out and he ended up with sheep back at the setout and one in a corner. When he ran again in the Open Ranch he got it figured out and ended up in 3rd place.
Scott ran Megan in Open Ranch and even though he didn't finish the course with her, (she sliced a flank on the drive and the sheep ran back to set out) he is really liking her.
I haven't seen any of the younger dogs today and they are still running the Open Ranch right now. The open field is hot as usual. It was a cool enough this morning that I was able to run Hemp without having to wet him down. He's been keeping a cooler head which is his main problem. He overheats himself with excitement before he gets to the post. He had a good outrun and lift and had a decent fetch. At the time of day he ran (and quite a bit all day) the sheep have been taking off to the handler's right and the fetches have been so far off line that many people are getting DQ'ed by the judges for being off course. Hemp never had any problem with that. I was proud of him holding his line. His drive was pretty nice too. We missed the crossdrive panel high and that was about the only thing that wasn't good and considering the wind was blowing in the wrong direction, he was really trying hard to please me. When we got to the shedding ring, the problems started happening. My sheep really wanted to start running. I've been told I didn't make it any better but Scott was running on the other field and didn't see my run so I had to rely on other people's opinion. I had a missed attempt and then after much running and flanking I got the shed. At some point in this run, Hemp got the idea I was mad at him. I thought it was because of all the hard stops I had to blow so he'd hear me on the crossdrive in the wind. A person who's opinion I respect said it was in the shedding ring. Regardless, the run continued to fall apart. Hemp was physically good but mentally spent and wanted to take a break. He kept thinking I was calling him off and tried to recall to me. I finally got him to regather the sheep in the ring and we got to the pen. We almost had it. Those sheep really wanted to pen but Hemp was spent and when I asked for a very important stop, he couldn't give it and we ended up timing out at the pen. I am not upset with the dog. I need to re-evaluate how I'm handling him if he's becoming sensitive to me. He handled the sheep well around the course and got a 74 with no pen. I know that I'm glad that I finally get to participate in one of Scott's shedding clinics this June because I really need it with both Hemp and Lad.
On to the Superstar: Donnie made the double lift! He got an 87 today and had to struggle for every point. It was hot and the sheep weren't happy. He made all his panels and had a nice fetch but it looked like any minute he was going to grip off. Scott said his drive was off line alot but from my angle it just looked a little bit. His shed kinda took Scott and Don by surprise when Scott saw an opportunity and decided to call Don in on it at the last minute. I didn't see his breakdowns but I know they accepted it and they made the pen look easy. I'm so proud of both of them. Don is very green at this (it's his first double lift) so Scott is going to take it easy on him tomorrow, especially if it is in the heat.
Scott's run dropped Hemp and I off the double lift leader board but we couldn't be more happy about the result. There were only 13 dogs left to run so Hemp stayed in there almost until the end.
Don't forget to check the bluegrass website for the younger dog's scores for today.