Home At Last

IMG_4209.jpgI’ve been meaning to post for a few weeks but to be honest my mind has been so full of thoughts that I don’t know how I couple possibly have lined them all out. So be warned; this post could quite possibly be all over the damned place.
I got back to Washington right after the World Trialbut was exhausted! Then I started packing to move back to Idaho. So I took a break and Nell and I went on a little bike ride and it wiped me out! Seriously I don’t know how I’ll ever be a world traveler if I can’t get over jet lag faster! So I just went to bed. Besides, my thoughts are still so consumed with the Wolrd Trial that I doubt I’ll make much sense for quite a few days.
It was a dream I had years ago but never really thought seriously about going for until last fall when Joe Haynes pushed me to apply for the team. I’m glad he did. Now I can’t imagine missing one. I learned so much over there and had so much fun! Seriously half of the pictures taken between my friends and I will end up being some form of blackmail. Over here, I’m one of the youngest people in the sport which can get kind of lonely. There’s just a handful of us that are around my age and I rarely see them. When I was in Holland, the crowd I got to hang around with the most was all right around my age which a first for me. Not to mention, they are some of the most accomplished handlers in the U.K. with some of the best dogs that I’ve ever seen. Nothing against anyone else thats older than me (I was trying to find a different word than older but I haven’t had enough coffee yet so deal with it. Some people are older, some people are younger).
The level of handling and competition that I got to see was unreal! Handlers and dogs that I’ve only heard of or read about were in front of me. I’m not gonna lie, I was a bit of a fan girl when I saw Ricky Hutchinson run his famous Sweep. A dog that was later called “The best dog in the world” by another respected handler and shepherd. I was particularly interested because he’s the father of one of my young dogs and was curious about him on many levels. If it weren’t for an unlucky moment at the cross drive gate, he’d have made it through to the semifinal and I’m sure would have been dangerous. (Side note: Ricky and Sweep just won the English National for the second time and, partnered with his son, Jock, was English Brace Champion!)
At most trials you can look down the running order and have a good idea of who’s going to be dangerous. At this trial, IT WAS EVERYONE! Just because you didn’t know the handler or dog didn’t mean that they weren’t someone to be concerned about. I mean, HELLO!!! THEY MADE IT TO THE FREAKING WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS! That was a new sensation. My friend Tierney who moved to Ireland told me that its ridiculous because at ever trial she’s competing agains several international champions, national champions and people that at any time could become an international or national champion! As much as I respect my fellow competitors here, we don’t get that very often over here. Not that we don’t have good handlers! But its different when you’re running against people who have been competing at the best level in the world for decades. I’m still processing that part.
I’m having a hard time not dwelling on this trial. I wish every trial was like this one, with the camaraderie and the encouragement. I haven’t laughed this hard in years! (The beer tent had nothing to do with this) But I have to stay focused on my next trialling endeavor which is Soldier Hollow, The Meeker Classic and then the Nationals in Virginia. So I’m trying to switch gears and get my dogs and I ready for different sheep, higher elevations and the best competitors on the Continent.
Anyway, I have several posts in mind about my experiences there. But this one is more just to say thank you. Thank you to everyone who’s helped me get here. I hope you realize how much I appreciate you and I could never have done this without your help and encouragement. And thanks to my North American (Both U.S. and Canadian) members for always trying to see each other when possible and for being there after the running to say “good job”! It really made the experience extra special for me. I’ll be posting again soon! Much love to you all

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