juliepoudrier Posted October 8, 2007 Report Share Posted October 8, 2007 This is copied from an e-mail I sent to a friend who heard (from a little bird, no doubt) that I had gotten a wild hair at the Montpelier trial this past weekend and pulled my open dog so I could run the pups. I figured that since plenty of folks have been posting about their first trial "trials and tribulations," I would share our weekend adventure so you can see that open handlers can be humiliated by our youngsters too! So here goes: I'm meaning to post about Phoebe and Pip's adventures on the BC Boards, but haven’t gotten around to it this morning. After pushing sheep out with Twist (Susan Rhoades's sheep) and realizing how hot it was going to be in the afternoon, and seeing how heavy (at least mostly completely disinclined to run, at least on Saturday morning) they were, I thought it might be more fun to pull Twist (Kat's been intermittently lame, so I wasn't going to run her at all) and try the pups just to give them a chance to work on a different field, with different sheep, under different circumstances. Lark did a very nice job the first day, although she was a bit tight on her outrun, which caused the sheep to lift sideways and miss the fetch panels (they were set pretty close behind the panels, so there was no way to save it after lifting offline). Our drive was a little wobbly, but she took the correct flanks, and penning was a breeze (I think you couldn't have stopped them from going in if you tried, well, except for a few novice runs anyway). We ended up third. Exhaust was in the old spot at the top corner under the trees instead of in the bottom corner, and by Sunday the sheep were pissier, more inclined to run, and knew where the exhaust was. I sent Lark right instead of left (even though logic would have said send left to cover the draw to the exhaust, I figured we're at a learning stage and she needs to be able to run out in both directions and since it was left on Saturday, she was going right on Sunday) and she did a beautiful outrun and lift. The sheep tried to bolt for the exhaust and we held them, but I wouldn't let her come all the way around to their heads and turn them since we had had so many problems with her winging around to the heads not too long ago. So instead I just worked on training, small flanks and stops when asked, so that the sheep got to my feet, but it was more of a banana than a nice straight line. She took one wrong flank on the drive, and although we made the panels and pen, the whole thing was just sloppy enough to put us out of the ribbons. But I was happy and thought I had done the right thing to work on the small flanks rather than letting her do the winging thing. On Saturday the judge asked me how old she was and I joked with Tony that I should have said "6 months" so everyone would have been suitably impressed with her and my talents! I ran Phoebe on Saturday and Pip on Sunday (since we were limited to two dogs). Phoebe was tight on her outrun (I sent her left because that's her preferred side, even though I knew the hill on that side would draw her in, since I figured she'd fight me if I tried to send her right.) The sheep were held just to the other side of the fetch panels. When she got just in front of the fetch panels, she kicked out and came in very nicely behind them without disturbing them. Then the amazing thing happened. I gave her nothing but whistle commands, and she took every stop and every flank and had a *beautiful* straight fetch down the field. And that was the end of the good stuff. Well, no, we had a good tight turn around the post too. After that it fell apart. The sheep were heavy to their right (toward the pen) and I couldn't get Phoebe to take that off balance flank to fix it. So I left the post and tried to call her to me to fix the line, but she was having none of that--she was driving them by golly and it didn't matter which direction. She then went to their heads and brought them back to me and I tried starting her off again, but again she was so intent on the sheep that she wasn't hearing anything I said, so I took them to the pen and put them in. And that was the end of the run. Well, Dan King, who was exhausting the sheep (and this was the end of the class, so we weren't holding things up) asked if I wanted to try and drive them to the exhaust (since they weren't running up there on Saturday), but Phoebe was too wound up to listen so I pretty quickly gave up on that idea. I was really happy with a lot of what she did, and couldn't be upset over the drive (or lack thereof) since off balance flanks aren't exactly her forte yet and it was a tougher situation than anything she's done at home. She was quite proud of herself! And I wasn't embarrassed (at least not yet). So Sunday was Pip's turn. He was definitely not a star. The sheep were more difficult, but I thought he'd manage to get out there and get them to me at least. Since sending right was less likely to cause a tight outrun, that's the way I sent him. He started out very nicely, and then crossed about halfway up the field. I actually stopped him before he crossed, but there was no way he was going to kick back out at that point. So he crossed but then was going plenty wide enough not to disturb the sheep. Then he got between 10 and 11 o'clock, and suddenly threw his head up and slammed on the brakes, having apparently just noticed Tom and Pete there. He looked down the field at me like "WTF?" I flanked him and he went on around (took two flanks), but the sheep had their heads buried in the feed pan and he didn't know what to do about that. I could see tension building, and Tom took the feed pan away, at which point Pip lifted the sheep at mach speed (I saw the dive and attempted grip coming and yelled a correction, which made him check up and the sheep came back together and started down the field at 90 miles an hour). He wasn't taking any lie downs, so I ran up the field to meet him. About halfway there, he decided that I was serious about wanting him to lie down. Once he did, the sheep settled and we did a very nice wear back to the post. He did a pretty little turn (hey, they hadn't pulled hooked me off the field yet!) but then the sheep bolted for the exhaust and it was clear there wasn't going to be anything but a big chase, so I called him off. And that was Phoebe and Pip's great trialing adventure. Sorry I don't have any pictures to share. I'm still smiling over how well Phoebe took her whistles a the top and on her fetch. And now I know where we'll need to do more work too.... J. Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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