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Our first trial


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Not sure if I would call myself a handler yet, but... Lucy and I ran in our first trial this past weekend. Had to leave the house around 3:30 am. Got there and it was still dark, but the sun was rising. First thing I noticed were the low scores on the boards from the earlier open trials. Hmmm. Okay, so I walk Lucy, and moved my car- it was near the exhaust pens, and that just was not a good idea. We were third in.

Big open field. Nice judge. LIGHT (can I bold this?) sheep. Two ewes and a lamb.


Walk up to the post, downed her, and sent her. Boy, at training field, 100 yards just doesn't seem like much, but here? Um, it's a LOT, and made immeasurably bigger by the LIGHT sheep. But, I digress. I sent Lucy away, as that is what I thought her favorite side was, but about 5 feet in front of me, she crossed over. I believe it is because she was reading the pressure to the come by side- which was the holding pens. Anyway, she was a bit tight, but did get straight behind, and lift them right to me. The lift was quick. Lucy is used to heavier sheep.... that is a very very important sentence. Anyway, we get the lift- even through the panels no less, and then it was light sheep, pushy dog- they tried to get away, she covered, the circled, and by then, I got her to stop that, and then they hauled butt for the exhaust. At one point, one split, and she ran with it, never gripping, but enough that we heard a Thank you from the judge. He walked up to me with the leash, and told me some good things, and he was very nice. Lucy was very keen to work, even after.


Our next run, I decided to bag any chance of a score, and leave her at the post, while I walked closer to MY sheep, Lucy, did you hear that? MY sheep. So, I downed her and left her, and she stayed stock still (that is a pretty ironic term for this trial!) Anyway, I sent her away, and off she went, tight, but a bit better, and still came up right behind. The set out person was doing a phenomenal job and the sheep were staying with him. Lucy had to wear them off him. She reminded me so much of how she has to work the sheep off my trainer. She wears them, focusing on all, and just one, and then gets in behind when they move off. Again, they came through the panels. This time I was closer, and I was able to down her without so much real estate between us, and we were moving toward the post, and then they busted off to the exhaust. They got a long the exhaust pen fence, and to her credit, she took my away, and was trying to move them off that fence. I think she did get them off, and then held them there :rolleyes: So, that was all. I was happy with her. These sheep seemed to bring out the worst in lots of dogs. Some would hold it together for almost the whole run, and then boom- bust in. They were just frenetic, it was hard to work them, unless your dog was almost out of contact. Some even ran through the fence- THROUGH the fence. To her credit, Lucy did not grip, no sheep were hurt, and in the end, all's well that ends well.


I learned that we need to grow more, which we will over the next several months, and that we need to experience light sheep. OH YEAH.


I really enjoyed myself, and there were some very funny moments. Here is one. A dog was moving the sheep. The sheep came next to the wooden platform the judge is on. The dog sees them go there, and goes to cover- the problem was, that was the entrance, which had hay bales set up to make sort of a blind entry into the field. The dog goes and lies down on one side of the bails of hay- he can't see a blessed thing, and the sheep are on the other side. Eventually, he got moved, and the sheep (one at least) hopped up on the platform.



It was a great time, and I have even more appreciation all that goes into molding a great sheep dog!



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Congratulations on your maiden voyage! Sounds like you guys did just fine. Light sheep can be tricky ... as can heavy sheep ... or silly lambs ... or stubborn ewes ... ah well, it's all part of the learning curve.


Good for you and Lucy (and GAH! for having to leave at 3:30 in the morning - that's dedication!).

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It sounds like you made the best of the situation with some difficult sheep and still managed to have a positive experience for Lucy. Now that you're over the "first trial" hurdle, the next one will be easier and you'll both be better prepared, since you discovered a few things to work on. Good for you!



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