Poor Laddie. He is saddled with an incompetent owner. He doesn't seem to mind but it is his lot in life. In my defence, it was 98 degrees when we ran today. Laddie was fine. I had hosed him down several times leading up to his run and he ate 4 handfuls of ice cubes right before we went on which must have gone a long way to lowering his core body temp. Anyway, when he left the post, he was not panting. My mind is the one thing that wasn't working. There were a few DQs around my run and we were talking about it and I have to think that the main mistake I made was probably because I just didn't have my mind fully on the run. When it's that hot, you get worried about the dog and don't pay as close attention to details as you should. It's something you can't afford when you are competing against this deep of talent with these kind of tricky sheep. Well, I think that was my problem anyway.
I sent Lad to the left and he did his customary pull up short. It was a little too short but I stopped him and since the pull to the left was so hard, the sheep came back on line. We held the line for a little while but then got off just enough to miss the fetch panels and then got them back on line with a nice turn around the post. We had a great drive line going and there was no way we were going to miss the panels except for my misjudgement. I don't know why I thought I would make the only tight turn at those panels when better runs had failed. I figured I'd hang on to a few points and dazzle them all while I was at it. The only problem was that I wasn't through the panels when I made the turn. This caused us to have to catch the sheep again and do some bobbling to try and at least pass the plane. Lad and the sheep got confused and when they split, Lad thought about it and figured the best way to put them back together was to circle the last one and put them back. I didn't have time to react to this before he made that decision but alot of points were gone there. We settled it down and made the panel and even made a halfway decent turn and got past the first 1/4 of the crossdrive where most dogs have problems. It was a wobbly crossdrive but not far off the line. As we went into the ditch the sheep started leaning on Lad (probably because we had lost our athority with them with the crazy drive turn) and pushing him farther down the field. There is a hill there and I couldn't see what he was doing but he was no longer anywhere near the crossdrive panels and had yet to pass the plane. I could tell it wasn't getting any better or the sheep would be back in my line of sight. At this point we had lost too many points to get to the semis and there was no reason to make Lad continue to work this hard in that hot of weather. I called him off and told him to go get in the water. He was doing fine and could have finished the course but there was no point with that many points gone.
The sheep go in varying degrees of difficulty. Our time was about the worst but in the late afternoon there were some really good runs as the sheep became more agreeable. Ron Enzeroth had a spectacular run and Debbie Bailey and Huck would have surged to a huge lead but Huck was thinking about eating his single so Debbie had some trouble calling him in and keeping him from gripping. She ended up not finishing, but the run was so good, she'll still be in there for Sat.
Tomorrow, Scott runs Maid at about the same time I ran today and it's supposed to be very hot again. I'm hoping they will do better than I did. As for Laddie and I, we will relax and enjoy ourselves and try to stay cool. Fortunately, it is supposed to start cooling down on Saturday and I will keep my fingers crossed for Donnie's run!