This weekend we went to Kearney Creek Sheep Dog Trial. This trial is held at Becki Maloney's farm in Onalaka, WA. we ran Judy Norris' flock of hair sheep and they are fast and wise players of this game.
First off I had a really good conversation with a friend I rarely get to see about the mental aspects of the game. It was really interesting. We talked about strategy, about being effective competitors and about making yourself better by understanding how your competition wins not how they lose. When you understand what truly makes the great handler great and not what makes him weak you will be able to beat him. Another really important thing that was brought up is "first tell me what you liked about your run". Pick out the good stuff, the stuff that went right focus on that and then think out the stuff you need to go home and work on. Thanks Lora, you need to come around more often.
Second Z rock my socks. There were somethings that happened that I wasn't expecting, but in all pleased. We were fourth in the Pro. Nov. class with a 71! We won the Nursery class with a 73! That means we are qualified to go to the USBCHA National Finals!!!
No down to the bare bones of it. I'll go through the Pro Nov run first. Nice out run and lift , just a point or two off each. Sent Z left, which is his way hard side and typically cuts in at the top and seems to have a hard time feeling the sheep. We've been working this side hard at short distances trying to get him to feel the right place to be. He kind of floated around a bit but finally with help kicked out enough to get them turned. Then the surprise. The dog that 2 weeks ago I had to nag to walk up was well very speedy oh and had very little stop. I got pretty yelly(sorry Lani I've really been working on this). Our turn around the post was beautiful. The set up for the left hand drive away line bobbled a bit, but he moved right up on those sheep and they went quickly down the line. Made those panels, still trying to yank on the reins some and got him stopped and flanked him around left and made a nice turn. Cross drive was tricky the line went through a ditch with standing water. Three quarters of the line was on but the bump across the ditch he jumped with them and stop was not on his mind. We just skimmed the inside wing of the inside panel, with a miss. The line from panel to pen was great and I finally got a stop at the pen and the sheep were happy to go with little encouragement from the dog. Looking back at it he was pretty amped up as we waited our turn to go. He was quivering some and his body was pretty ridged. I was kind of nervous too.
The Nursery run was second. No point off the outrun or lift, yeah! This was the area I have been working the most to improve. Better fetch line, he was willing to release the pressure and flank to fix the line. Now was this because he was deeper and more correct on the way out there? And was he more correct on this path out there because he was more relaxed, because I was more relaxed? When does the run really start? The turn around the post was not as nice as the first one, but good enough to get the job done. Virtually the same drive, but the crossdrive was cleaner. Got the drive away panel but the crossdrive panel alluded me again. We were low and I tried to fix it and suddenly we were high. A steady wasn't enough to get a clean flank to make the fix work. Line to the pen was ok. Pen I almost lost the sheep because I was trying to take a moment to get everything quieted down. In the end nothing off the pen. I yelled way less on this run too.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=paMh-d4uItE Our Nursery run.
Ok more whistle less talk. This has totally become my way of training, now to change my competition brain too. Think we might need some practice with down again, but I will take it easy on him. When he is relaxed I almost never have to stop him and he takes his steady really well and generally keeps himself back. Which is what I was seeing more in the second run. He was much more on the bit and softer to work.
As for Molly's run, it went great. the stuff we have been working on in training really came through for us. Although not perfect, it is getting somewhere. She's still really wound up when waiting her turn so her out run was speedy and hard. Her lift was ok contact, but not strait. Once she got a hold of them she was willing to stop nicely and trust me. She came down the fetch at 100mph, but was willing to stop intermittently as I asked. Our post turn was nice she tried to flank twice incorrectly, but I finally got her to go the way I wanted. The start of the drive away was a bit rocky, she really wanted to just bring them back. They were pulling so hard to the draws, but finally I won again and we had a speedy near miss to the inside of the panel. Managed a good turn into the cross drive, again been working this in training. Made a little more than half the cross drive line and it collapsed in with a skim on the low side of the panel. The sheep obliged us with an easy pen. I didn't yell at all in this run which was a big bonus for me, I usually end up yelling at this dog quite a lot. I promised her I wouldn't yell and that I'd leave the post instead while we were waiting. Which struck as ironic because I was naughty and yelled at the dog(Z) I never seem to have a reason to yell at.
Then Tanya ran Mick and she did a super job. She worked really hard and he listen pretty well for her. She retired at the pen, it was just getting a little hectic. Hopefully she decided to try again, these guys have the potential to make a good team.
I feel A LOT more relaxed about going to the Bluegrass now with that second score under my belt. We should have some nice runs. Hope I can find a tiny hint of stop in the next 2 weeks, but blog readers as my witnesses I will not grind on him for the next two weeks. Hopefully Jorgen will have some video of us to put here soon.
Ruminating on Letting Go
1 week ago