It has been a very rough week. Emotional and professional turmoil at the office, clients making me nutty or depressed. Extra hours and extra shifts covering vacations and emergencies as well as illnesses and turns out I'm a little off kilter after all that.
However, those are all just excuses, and they never get anyone anywhere. I need to pull myself up by my boot straps, get my head in the game and get to work handling my dog and my life. The last couple of times we have gone to the post I have failed to get my act together.
Last weekend was tough. The sheep were not easy, and Lucy got really engrossed in holding the pressure for the multiple draws on the field. In a way that was very unlike her, she was upsetting her sheep. Even if I had her way off and completely stopped, the sheep would run like heck. She was listening pretty well (twice she failed to do what I asked but that's pretty much it) -- but I could not help her to be successful. It was a disaster. Out of 4 panels we missed 3 and our lines were ragged. No shed, no pen. I came off the field laughing. If I'm going to go down, it might as well be in flames.
Sunday last we ended up missing the trial because I had a tire EXPLODE on the van on the way to the trial. Have you ever tried to buy tires at 6am on a Sunday? I have. It did not turn out well ;) So a call to AAA and a multi-hour trip to Costco resulted in 4 new tires and no run at the trial.
Today was a different day. I was actually really happy with our run and the crowd seemed to like it too. We had one bobble right when she left my feet, the exhaust sheep re-appeared and so I had to redirect her during the first 2 strides or so of the outrun. Our lines were very good, flow was good. Running on light hair sheep I do like to see calm quiet sheep and Lucy treated her sheep very well. Unlike last weekend, she had the sheep very happy and cooperative, and the difference in how smooth the run felt was enormous.
My favorite part today was our drive. There were 3 drive panels (4 legs on the drive) and I think I blew maybe 7 flanks the entire drive. We completed the maltese cross as well, with correct entries both directions but one sheep squirting out the side each direction as well unfortunately. I came off the field smiling. Though I was very happy with the dog work I was a little disappointed in our score. We are 2 in a row near the bottom of the class for scores. I need to quit caring about scores. My dog sure as heck doesn't care about them!
I am a competitive person by nature. It can be a handicap in my mental game. I'm learning lessons every time I go to the post. Some top hands can adjust how they run based on what they know a judge is looking for. I'm NOT a top hand and not that adept. I need to stay true to how I like to run my dog and hope for the best. If I pick things apart or try to change my strategy each time I go to the post, it is not fair to myself or my dog. If I remember the importance of consistency I will see good dog work regardless of the scores.
This journey is made up of good days and bad days, and some days that are a bit of both. On the plus side, this trial is becoming a favorite of mine if for no reason other than the **awesome** potluck. Everyone brings terrific food and the trial hosts provide fresh from the sea clams and oysters as well as pork ribs and beef brisket on the barbeque. There is also a huge raffle and everyone has a terrific time in the evening. I really enjoyed my evening in spite of my disappointment in myself earlier in the day.
So tomorrow is a new day. I'm going to pick myself up by my boot straps, forget the last two trips to the post and live in the moment. My dog deserves it.