Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Border Collie Trials - 2012

so our hoomans try every year to go to the Land of Lincoln Border Collie Trials hosted here in town.  they have been going on for some time, but ma & paw started checking it out 3 years ago.  they typically go watch the Open Class  and Nursery on Sundays.  this past Sunday they did the same.  mom didn't take her real camera with her, so all her photos came from her phone which explains the limited zoom.
if you have never been, it's really interesting to see such obedient & smart dogs at work.  their enthusiasm is amazing.  the gist of it is, the handler signals the dog to take off & they have 9 minutes to complete the course.  the course is a series of gates that the Collie has to herd 3 sheep through, keeping the sheep together in a group.
they also have to herd the sheep into a pin, wait, then herd them back out into the middle of a circle outlined by flags.  lastly, they have to separate out 1 sheep from the group - called the Draw.  all of this have to be done in the 9 minute time frame & in a relaxed manner.  if the sheep run too fast, then they lose points because the idea is to calmly herd them.  so the dogs are constantly being told to "lie down" literally.  the rest of the time their handler communicates by a series of whistles: long, short, long+short, certain tones, etc.  i don't know how you even train them for that.
this year they watched a Border Collie who was missing a back leg.  mom said it was amazing.  if she had not seen this dog walk past her before entering the field, she never would have guessed it only had 3 legs!  incredibly fast & it made every gate & only missed pulling out the sheep at the end.
mom was also impressed with the dedication of their handlers.  we saw this woman scooting around on her Segway & thought she was there just to watch, but no way1  she was there to compete!
dedication all the way around & what beautiful kids!  mom thinks we'll enter Baxter as a sheep next year!

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