The morning of the finals had that nice cool weather we had been appreciating every morning before the oppressive heat descended. Maid drew up in a prime spot to take advantage of it. She ran 3rd in the order but she wasted her time. Her first outrun was an indication about how she was feeling - grumpy. She needed a couple of redirects but she still slammed into the sheep on the lift. She made her fetch panels, and turned back but then slammed into the second set. She did a drive by on the sheep during the fetch but did not get called because the judge didn`t see it. She made sure he saw the second grip on the drive away and was DQ`d
Many of the dogs who didn`t bite their sheep, were having trouble with the turn back. A few crossed just a little bit on the first request but most of them tried to go back to the horse who held the first set, back on the right of the handler. It was hard to redirect them when they went into a dip and didn`t reappear until they were almost to the horse. Most handlers let them get to the horse at that point, so they could see there were no sheep there and then they seemed to be more amiable to go over to the second set on the handler`s left.
I had decided to have fun for the day but when I saw the complication of the first set out horse needing to stay on the field, I worried that Hemp would do what all the others did. By the time he ran, it was too hot to play that game and he would also get mentally tired if I threw too many commands at him. I was afraid I was going to have to retire him. I let him watch the run before me and he seemed ok with the second set being out there. In fact, when I set him up, he wanted to go to that last set that he`d seen and when I sent him, he needed a redirect, which he didn`t really take on the fly. I thought he`d get there anyway, but he ended up tight and kinda crashed them on the lift. He felt crazy for the first few seconds, but then settled down and listened. I thought that felt new and nice and I hope he has decided to make it a habit. He made the fetch panels and I set him up to turn back. He didn`t take my first request and crossed over a little bit. My second request, he took and I gave him the flank as soon as he started to go. He was bending well, but I couldn`t take the chance so I gave him another and then one more just before he dipped out of sight in the dip. Then I just waited with shaking hands. It seemed forever but he was good! He brought those sheep through the fetch panels too and around the post but the drive away was getting to the end of his command quota. The sheep were hot and heavy and I did not get a flow going and he really tried but I could see it was cooking him a little so I just let the panels go. It wasn`t really about how much push he had but about how he was trying to be good and was feeling a little frazzeled. It was a terrible drive but he just needed to get to the shedding ring so he could have a break. Scott was saying the same thing to himself on the sideline. I sent him to the water when I had the sheep quiet in the ring and when I called him back, he was refreshed. We did not get our shed done but I was really happy with our effort. All of Scott`s advice from last summer`s clinic was going through my head. ``Do not get greedy. Slow down. Flank your dog to stop the sheep, don`t call him in.`` I practiced them all. Hemp was trying to stay out of trouble but got confused a couple of times and ended up doing a spin. Not a crazy one, just when he would check on the sheep behind him and then I`d ask him to flank on the ones I had. When he`d come back on the collared sheep he`d turn the wrong way around. It`s something that will go away I think as we get better at this. In the end, we had one chance to get the last 3 out and we just were not experienced enough of a team to make them leave once they decided they`d just rather put their heads down in the circle of collared sheep. I swear there were 15 collared sheep and not just 5 but everyone said I was hallucinating. I was very proud of Hemp this whole weekend and I hope this partnership idea continues.
Now, on to the good run! Donnie ran last. It was hot but he was game. On the first request for his turnback, he crossed a little. Scott did not like that but he went back the second time and got his sheep. He made his fetch panels both times and had a nice drive. When they got into the shedding ring, Scott must have thrown out all his advice to me and just jumped in and started shedding. I had never seen him shed like this. He did loose them out of the ring once too. Later he told me that he had figured that if he let the sheep settle in like I did, he`d never get it finished. He got down to one and had to shed her off himself. The question was: were the collared sheep out of the ring when he pulled that last one off. It seemed that the people that were rooting for him were sure they saw the shed happen before they left and the people who wanted someone else to win saw the sheep leave before the shed. The judge decided the shed happened before they left the ring and Scott and Don won the Championship!
Big congratulations are also in order for Dennis Gellings and the 10 year old Jan who were the Canadian Reserve Champions!
For more results go to http://wcsdt.wordpress.com/sunday-results/
Double lift parade, Jean Gellings, Randy Dye, Scott, Amanda Miliken, Dennis Gellings, Brian Nelson, Bev Lambert, Gail Cochlan, Ian Zoerb, Me, George Stambulic, Lisa Wright and judge Faansie Basson. - photo by Louanne Twa.
Hemp and I in the international shed. Should have let that one go! - photo by Kristi Oikawa
At the pen! - photo by Kristi Oikawa