What a great weekend I had! All the dogs had a great time- we stayed at a friends acreage so they got a ton of walks and such, and I took them all to the trial site so they all got to roll in sheep poo, and socialise. The weather was pretty good for the most part- only a tiny bit of rain and otherwise sunny or overcast. Perfect really.
The best part was my dog. Brit had a FANTASTIC time. She was keen and excited to work and tried so hard to do what I asked. I have a lot to learn- my timing was off, and I need to think quicker on my feet. Oh, and I need to work on my ability to see and follow an invisible straight line. It is tricky. lol.
But even with our bobbles I am just so impressed with my dog. She is just so amazing. It was an incredible feeling to stand at the post with her. I can't explain it.
Here is a break down of our three runs (as best as I can remember them....)
Saturday- 10pm. No video because it was too dark....
Yes, you read that right. The day ran really late and unfortunately it was nearly impossible to see our dogs. I was the last of the group that chose to run- after my run it was even darker and not safe anymore. I didn't realise that we'd have to lift off a setter on horseback so was a bit concerned about that when I sent her- but she didn't even notice. In fact she didn't even bother to go around him when he was in her way... She was fast, but her outrun had decent shape- we had full points on our outrun and our lift! The fetch was a little offline but not too bad. She had the sheep running so the turn around the post was a little wild, and the drive was pretty awful. We lost a lot of points. lol. And we did not get the pen as the sheep would not settle and my dog wasn't helping by zipping here and there. We scored a 35.
In the daylight!
Brit knew exactly the game this time, and was a little snug on her outrun. I didn't want to take a chance to stop her so let her go. We lost only two points for it though. Her lift and fetch was not bad- we struggled to keep them online- I need to work on that- getting her to push in on them to change the line. It showed up in our other run as well. The exhaust is to the right in the video- where they are pulling to. So the turn around the post and the drive was a bit of a mess. I didn't really know how to set up the drive properly after the split at the post... I was proud of her when she covered the run aways though- she had to really motor to catch them and get control. We played ring around the pen until we timed out. i couldn't seem to get them settled, or in the right spot. The pen is a real weakness for us as Brit struggles with confidence walking into their heads. We need to work on some upclose stuff for a bit I think to get some of that back. We ended up with a 35- same as Saturday.
She cut in on her outrun so I stopped her and redirected to get a better top half. I was pretty impressed that she listened. lol. The outrun was definitely the longest she has done yet... Unfortunately she overflanked at the top and then was too tentative to put enough pressure on the comebye flank to push them back online. She should have been coming up the middle- not off to the side like she is in the video. The exhaust was over there- and the sheep knew exactly where they wanted to go. Brit covered though and did bring them to me. But we lost 7 points on our fetch...
The rest of the run I am pretty pleased with. The sheep were settled for the most part and I was pretty proud of her on the drive. She overflanks a bit- which is why they zigzag a bit- but I think that will come with more experience and a faster down.. Also watching the video I really should have just lied her down instead of flanking her anyway.... And we got the pen! Which was great. Truthfully the sheep pretty much knew the routine by then and had been going in pretty easily for most of the intermediate/novice class. But still- we got a pen!!! Our score was 50! Which is pretty awesome actually because we automatically lost 10 points for me walking on the drive with her- so really only10 points off for the other stuff!
This weekend was a fantastic experience- and a great first time I think! I am very proud of how far Brit and I have come. It's pretty amazing really. We have a lot to learn, and this weekend showed some pretty big gaps in our basic stuff so I've got some ideas of things to work on. I am completely hooked however- more so than before if that is possible. The next trial won't be until July. My goal is to have the drive by then! She is close- we just need to work on quick flanks, and faster stops....
Score Breakdown for those that asked. Each part is out of a total points, and then as you mess up you lose points. The Novice was out of 70. However, I lost 10 right off the bat because I chose to do a walk and drive- which is allowed, but penalized. Here is the score sheet from Monday- the only one I can find. :)