Cotswold Open 2018
Held on the same ground as the International last year this testing course with an outrun of 1100 yards to the right proved a very challenging one. Todd running second on the day ran out confidently and taking 4 commands on the move, arrived to find a single ewe had separated. He returned her to the flock before a good fetch, with a handler error after negotiating the bridge, as to the correct line. Running on 10 fresh Suffolk crosses all day, the rest of the course was straightforward, with tidy lines good shed and pen. The sheep were consistent all day, though perhaps the heat did make them a little heavier in the afternoon.
Cody, running in the mid-afternoon sun again ran out well, with 5 whistles on the move. The fetch was the worst of our elements with the sheep pulling strongly to their right and Cody not quite flanking enough to straighten them up onto the correct line. The hardest part was returning the sheep to the bridge to continue the fetch. Young Cody, for the first time, was challenging and needed strong persuasion to trust me. Thereafter his performance was, as it has been all summer, sublime negotiating all the hurdles with good lines and finishing well.
Todd finished 3rd and Cody 6th.
The highlight of the day was undoubtedly Tom Huddlestone with Ola who put up a memorable run. This dog is an absolute class above the rest on big courses and was a deserved winner. James Dumbleton with Sid was runner-up with a good run late on. James and Sid showed up very well at Deerplay earlier this month.
Big thanks to Dick Roper for giving us the chance to run on this amazing course after our appetites were wet following the International. It was sad not to see Ricky there, who I believe was celebrating his birthday, but I think many of us were celebrating far more!
1 Tom Huddleston – Ola
2 James Dumbleton – Sid
3 Nij Vyas – Todd
4 Tim Longton – Roy
5 Kelvin Broad – Levi
6 Nij Vyas -Cody
Had a wonderful opportunity to meet students from Myerscough Agricultural College, Lancashire, at Launde today . I give a short demonstration with Todd and the Aberfield sheep that are being piloted here. Having found it very hard to get advice when I first started I made it my goal in life to to be generous with advice, particularly to young people. The sheepdog world and trialling needs youngsters to take up the discipline and give it a much need boost. Hill farm is very progressive and running some two and a half thousand sheep. Each year 600 Aberfield gimmers are brought in to top up the numbers. Approximately 1800 are lambed each year.
Since winning the Four Nations Championship in March, Cody has been rested and occasionally helping with lambing. He has been placed in all but one open this year but to qualify for Deerplay with a mature confident run was a revelation. In the final, Cody negotiated the first gather to the left with help, but the turnback proved difficult. He managed the second gather but it could have been better. Thereafter he negotiated the rest of the course pretty well, although, slipping one at the second gate, but in an attempt to finish in time the shed, pen and single were very substandard. Finishing 10th of the 25 runners was, however, very, credible.
In the first Trial of the season, Jake left my feet to gather at a tremendous pace. Thirty yards or so, into his gather he screamed and both his legs were instantly paralysed. This apparently is quite common. He did not require surgery and most dogs make a 95% recovery but are unlikely to work. After an hour or so he regained the use of one leg and was standing. Three days into his recovery he ran out of his kennels and since then I have trusted him to regulate himself. A week later he was back to the sheep, just driving and following with minor flanks. His gate is already much better and there is a flicker of hope. Sadly Jake will not run in the nationals.