We set up a makeshift course at Dianne's field today and Phyllis, Ann and I practiced running it.  Prior to this, I was getting pretty confident about where Pat and I were in relation to the December trial. Once again, however, reality screamed when it viewed itself in the mirror.  

Only one time did I actually make a "panel".  The other times:

1) Pat felt the pressure and wouldn't take a flank that I should have seen as a potential problem and set him up differently to avoid in the first place.  I yelled and whistled "AWAY! AWWWWAAAY! AAAAAAAAWAYYY!! {transition to high pitched ululating}… {SOB} Pat?" 

…and Pat held his ground as the sheep drifted through on the wrong side.  

2) My depth perception failed me.  I thought the sheep were through our makeshift panels (buckets) but that was not the case.  As the sheep milled around and doubled back, clearly 'this' side of the 'panels' I realized that yeah, I really can't see shit.  I will have a problem with this at the trial.  I always do in watching other people run.  I am considering wearing binocular strength contact lenses.  I'll use my stock stick as a cane to guide me to the post and hope for the best with the recognizing shapes and colors, something I pride myself on. It's how I tell whether something is edible or likes nascar.

I can leverage my other senses to help me adapt over time… hearing and smell for hazards and approaching sheep…whether I'm at the 'pen' or a 'porta potty'….

It's usually the far away stuff that interests me anyway, on or off the field. 

On the plus side, penning is getting easier.   

I have just a few practice/bonding with Pat days left before I leave for work and won't be back until the Thursday before the trial.    I hope to at least suck differently this time. 

We'll see.