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Amanda: the National Finals semi-finals

The semifinals was a long day with 41 runners (ties were included), fifteen minutes per dog and many of them used all their time, and begged for more. The sheep were mostly uniformly difficult, but they showed that they had been through handling facilities and worked once or twice by being easier at the pen. Or maybe everyone had to try for it it with the single at stake, if you failed. The spectating was engrossing. Seeing the reaction of sheep to various dogs, their exclusive styles and the outcomes. High entertainment for serious dog runners, indeed.

Monty took the course like a pro. His gather was handy and his turn at the post good, where many had trouble. Sheep began to be willful in the drive away and they were testing right through the first panel. They moved off keenly in the crossdrive but resented being made to go through the crossdrive, the in-the-face flank. The short ride from the crossdrive to the ring was marked with peril which Monty negotiated successfully. Patient in the extreme. One collared, one not, tried him repeatedly. If he did pop them (and I don’t know that he did, he isn’t the type), it was on the up side, and into the ring they came. His penning was the most noteworthy of his run, very sure and cool. That seems to be a repeat story about him these days. A good one.

Monty runs ninth tomorrow. Patrick Shannahan eighth. Barbara Ray runs third, a coveted draw. Joni Tietjen runs 14th. We are all honoured to run in the final, from such strong company and many good dogs and hands.

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