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Albion Urdank

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About Albion Urdank

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  1. I said we can agree to disagree, but you wouldn't let it go, would you? So now please try to let it go. Albion
  2. I was glad, Amy, but would have been happier still if she hadn't released the pressure on them prematurely, very prematurely indeed. Corey's were the only lot that that had happened to, oddly enough . You need to read the subtext more carefully. The sheep were held by the dog and the horse, no hay.
  3. I don't want to belabor the issue, but I recall my runs in details, and I know the sheep in them, at least, were NOT set on hay. In Asa's run, which I mentioned in an earlier post, the sheep had their heads high and were facing the handler; when he walked up, they turned half-way to face him. He then lifted and the fetch then began. You were holding the sheep with two dogs and a horse . You had had great difficulty getting them spotted and in holding them, taking a good deal of time in the earlier runs, as I recall, much to the judge's and host's frustration. Eventually, you got that sorted, b
  4. That's fine. We can agree to disagree. A
  5. Let me clarify. I was making a general point about not setting range lambs on hay, on allowing them to stand freely, and it was Amelia who raised the issue of this particular trial. But since she has, let me say further that I've been to this trial a few times, not last year, but the year before that and the year before that too, and on both those occasions, the same type of lambs were used from the same supplier, and on each occasion, they were set freely. The spotter had some difficulty initially, with her two dogs and horse, because of the draw, as Amelia describes it, but that got sorted
  6. Were we talking about that trial? Asa is 11.5 yrs and has slowed down lots; he really needs to be retired. That was the first time in his career he failed to lift. He approached the sheep carefully, with good pace, but relied too much on his eye and not enough on his usual physiucal presence. He was the first up that morning, and the sheep were eating like they had never been fed. Charlie Torrie ran after me, and when he came off the course he commented to me that he was glad his sheep weren't as hungry as mine. But I told him that Asa was aging and that this was probably the reason. Still, it
  7. Sheep are held free standing when they are range ewes at trials like Meeker or Soldier Hollow, and the holds aren't hard and fast, because often the sheep will drift a bit anyway. The key thing is to have a set out person who is a seasoned handler and a dog or dogs strong enough to do the job. At Meeker they use horses, which actually allows more slack in terms of holding the sheep, and at both of these trials there is also a strong draw , at one back to the holding pen and at the other toward the exhaust along the fetch line. The most natural thing is for the sheep to remain free standing, a
  8. I'd agree that it would be better for the dog to avoid gripping if possible, and you're right that the dog who approaches the sheep with confidence has a better chance of lifting cleanly, but dogs with eye will draw sheep to them, through no fault of their own, and it can take a little bit more umph for them to make that lift without gripping, so that generally they have to show more power than a loose eyed dog to accomplish the same end. But when a sheep stands off the dog, through no fault of its own, (and this can happen even when the dog moves confidently on it), a clean grip, either on th
  9. I think there's a misconception widely held about the relationship of "eye" and power. Many think that a strong eyed dog is a weaker dog, but actually the two elements of eye and power are independent. A dog that has natural power, expressed by physical presence, keeness when approaching the sheep and a bit of push, even while moving forward, and neverthless while pacing, may also have "eye", and this "eye" would tend to enhance this sort of dog's power, even serving as its instrument. A dog who may not be powerful in the senses described above, might also have "eye" but in this case the "eye"
  10. Every whistle has its own peculiar physical texture, even ones of the same design, and I've found it useful , whenver I've started a new whistle, to locate the most comfortable position it can occupy in the mouth, and then let it sit there so that it begins to feel most natural, especially where the upper lip caresses lightly the groovers at the top of the whistle. And the whistle should be held lightly in the mouth while whistling. When you find your comfort zone in this respect, I think that you'll find it easier to get consistency of tones. It also helps to practice whistling while walking,
  11. Hi Suzanne, It doesn't actually sound like you have a problem with depth at the top, and square flanks are really only appropriate on lighter sheep in order to release pressure so that they don't turn to the right or left instead of continuing straight on. On heavy sheep half-flanks or what we might call "sliced" flanks are preferable, because as Amelia suggests, they keep the dog in contact with the stock. I was once at a trial back east where the sheep were unusually heavy for that area, and one dog caught my attention because every time it flanked, the sheep stopped and grazed, the reason
  12. cast I don't slow my dogs down when they'r casting. The faster the better in my view, because on the outrun it's best for them to get to sheep as quickly as possible in a trial setting, where time is always a factor. I simply make sure that they widen out as they cast. If they haven't yet learned to take an elongated flank whistle on the fly, I stop them with a "stand" (no lie downs), let them think and settle for a brief moment, then give an elongated flank command on whistle or a "keep out" voice command. I might do this again as they approach the top if I think they're not deep enough. B
  13. This afternoon, about 4:30 CA time, I heard a report on National Public Radio of a sheepdog trial taking place in Vermont. Warren Mick was featured (he ran his dog, Glenn), and was interviewed. Nice publicity for the sport, I thought. Albion,
  14. It's complicated. The trial establishes an ideal test, a standard that may be higher than one may find in a work-a-day situation. But at the same time, it's supposed to measure good stockmanship. The true aim of the trial is supposed to be to find the dog who will make the best worker. So if the ideal standard is clearly at variance with the common sense, practical approach, such that it undermines the point of the work, then it is up to the judge to make the right determination. Sounds to me that Kelpiegirl and Liz P each did the right thing in that situation, and the judge should have comme
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