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Anyone trialing over Thanksgiving?

Debbie Meier

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Does anyone have any trial plans for the Thanksgiving weekend?


We plan on going out to Platte, SD, for the Yellow Rose Trial fingers crossed that the weather holds and that Wayne does not have to work.


He is coming home early today, his propane transport has not arrived and the tanks are dry, the guys running the corn dryers are not going to be happy.


I always worry this time of year with the weather, a light snow can turn to white out conditions in a hurry. Last January a friend of mine (Sharon) and I made the trip to John Holman's Winter Warm Up Trial in Nebraska, 30 mph all the way from Des Moines to Omaha....crazy things we do to get to a dog trial :rolleyes:



BTW, anyone have any advice/tricks as to how to run the BHSS course? I guess it will be the course for the sheep trial at Platte.




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We've got a trial here in Northern California's Shasta Valley on Thanksgiving Sunday, a new location for one of our State of Jefferson winter trials and it should be a good one! It's always nice to do something physical after the big Thursday meal!


What is a BHSS course?



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Black Hills Stock Show - figure 8


Oh. If that's the course formerly known as the Rapid City course, it's probably the same or similar as at the National Western Stock Show in Denver. Sheep are kicked out at the far end of the arena and you have to fetch through two barrels then turn your sheep back on either flank to put the sheep around one barrel, then back through the middle, then back around the other barrel and again through the middle. In a "timed" course you must put all head through the correct way before moving on. You can leave the post after the barrels. After the barrels is a Y-chute which in Denver was offset to the handler's right. After the chute, a free-standing pen on the left side of the arena. Pen the sheep, close the gate and you're done!


In my opinion, to score well you need a free-flanking dog with great biddability because the figure-eight is often not trained by many handlers...in other words, once a dog is sent to gather, many of them are of the opinion that the sheep must be brought to the handler's feet because that is how they are trained, and getting that hard flank up-arena to turn the sheep back is critical to a good time on the course. In addition, the dog must work under control despite noise, lights, etc. and not overwork or overpush the sheep, but must be strong enough to move them off the setout area, or off the fences. The handler must understand arena work and its inherent pressures. A lot will depend on the temperament of the sheep and how accustomed they are to the whole scene as well.


Pay close attention to the rules as sometimes there are esoteric things that are not common to USBCHA-style open field trialing; be sure you understand everything that is said in the handlers' meeting.


Good luck and have fun!



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  • 2 weeks later...

We had a ton of fun at Tim's trial over at Platte, SD. I ran Jake in open sheep and survived the figure 8, we met our demise at the Y-chute, but I was in good company, out of over 20 entries only 3 or 4 were able to get their sheep through the Y-chute to even get a chance at the pen, the pen proved about impossible for the few that made it that far. It was a time trial, we had to complete each obstacle before moving on to the next. In most cases the dogs could get the sheep to the openning of the chute and then the sheep would turn and face the dog, when the dog would get them turned they would just break. For the most part it was a waiting game, get them into the openning and wait for them to decide to turn and go through.


The cattle course was point/time with difficulty options. Wayne ran Jake on cattle, the cattle were pretty nice to work, nicely dog broke but still at the ready to test the dogs, if your dog showed any weakness or lack of confidence they were going to have their way with it. The open handlers had to navigate a pretty difficult maltise cross, Wayne is still kicking himself for staying so long at it trying to get maximum points. Laura Hicks drew up first and proceeded to ace the course, as we approached the end of the running order there was more planning as to how many points you would need to just make the top 10 as opposed to trying to catch Laura. We did not stay for the finals but I heard that Juan Reyes ended up 1st and 2nd after the finals.


Pete Carmichael and Juan Reyes were available to help young dogs and new handlers on Friday evening in a little clinic. We had taken Toby one of our 7 month old pups with just to get him out, Wayne decided to take him out for a spin on the roping steers that were available, it was his first time on cattle. As far as Toby was concerned there were just big sheep and took them in stride, Toby's littermate Meg was also there with Val, Meg did a nice job too.


Along with the trial was the Cowboy Christmas craft show, talk about great shopping. Lots of awesome sights and smells. We will be back next year!!!

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