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Highland Game border collie trial adventure

After arriving at the park at about 8:30AM I had no trouble getting in, parking or finding the area for the trial. Everything was close together and easily accessible. I was about an hour early and did what I could and tried to figure out what was expected of me. I fastened Beag nearby and went to work. Sherry, the clerk from yesterday was there and quite helpful, but I am sure I didn’t get as nearly out of it as I should have since she made it feel like a crime to ask to work with the judge and have her do the tabulation.
I was starting to get pissed off trying to get as much out of it as she was. She had been there the day before and felt, I guess that she deserved to be in charge. I’m not used to be treated this way by someone I would consider an equal at this point. Things went pretty well in the ranch class (beginners) except I didn’t get to do much with the judge. I finally got the chance when the novices started. We got a couple in when Terry’s puppy, Brenna barked and lunged at the sheep as they came close on the fetch. So we had to move Brenna, Scottie and Beag back away from line-of-sight of the sheep as they came around.
This is where my fun started. Beag does not do well if she knows I am nearby and cannot see me. See barks and whines and is generally damned annoying. So I put her in her flex-crate, but that turned out to be useless because it would not stay in one place, She could walk it around by stepping on the ‘walls’ and it would roll like being in a ball. This was particularly troublesome because I was trying to take the scores from the judge at the same time. It was very distracting especially with my co-worker making comments about leaving her dogs at home, etc. Finally I just gave up and chained Beag in front of us, but behind a turned over table so the sheep wouldn’t see her and she was just fine.
But in the process I had to give up scoring and resort to tabulation, so I didn’t get as much from the trial as I would have otherwise. If I clerk again, I will either have better accommodation for Beag or I will leave her at home. Not fair for her or me in that situation. When I actually start doing trials I will need a better crate for her. I also need to get her to not panic when I am not visible.
With all the negative above I still learned SO MUCH. A lot from the judge who I could ask questions and hear most of the time with Sherry. I had experience seeing the courses as they were run by the ranch and novice classes. I suspect Beag and I could have done OK in the ranch class. But the open class was something else entirely. WOW!
There is no way I can do it justice with words. And I must say before Beag and I started learning to herd I probably would not got as much out of the performances as I did.
After it was over I had several spectators come over and ask a lot of questions and that was one thing I told them when they commented on the difficulty. It looks tough when you have no idea of the skill involved and outrageous when you do. Overall very much worth the trip.

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  1. The Urban Herder » My first trial | June 1, 2010 at 7:24 pm | Permalink

    […] Last year I watched and learned about herding by helping the judge. This year I competed for the first time and worked the pens helping to set up the sheep for the other competitors. […]

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