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Little Hats - Big Hats?


Maja
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Well, my children :rolleyes:, back in the beginning, here in the US, the handlers who were the best at training and trialing tended to be ranchers and other outdoorsy livestock producers. They wore big hats (think cowboy hats). They came to be referred to as Big Hats because of this (and probably because stars tend to get thought of as Big Something -- Big Dogs, Big Deals, Big Names -- and maybe even, a little bit, because it takes a big head to fill a big hat. It was an offhand term, but not a disrespectful one. And then it was natural to derive from that the term Little Hats, to designate those who had not achieved Big Hat status.

 

That's how I remember it, anyway.

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I first read the term in "Nop's Trials" or maybe "Eminent Dogs." Anyway, I thought Donald McCaig made it up based on hat observation. In a couple of weeks he'll probably be checking in and maybe he'll tell us.

 

I recall an expression I heard in Montana when someone did well at a horse event or anything competitive and referred to a case of the big head. "I reckon he's gonna have to change his hat size."

 

Penny

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The way I see it, I'll always be a "little hat", due to the fact the more I learn and grow the more they (the big hats) do too and therefore their hat will still be bigger :rolleyes:

 

After all these years my hat is still so small some people would call it a finger cot....

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^^LOL!

 

I think it's pretty tough to obtain the Big Hat label. I know a lot of quite successful open handlers who just aren't referred to as Big Hats, which makes me think that it's possible that the term itself was limited to a place and time (a particular generation of handlers?). But at any rate, to be a big hat, you'd have to be capable of (and actually doing it) winning the big trials, east and west, including the finals, consistently.

 

J.

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In my measly opinion, the term "big hat" -- in addition to success on the trial field -- has to do with how the person treats their dogs and other people on and off the field. There are several successful handlers that I would call a big something-or-other, but "hat" wouldn't be the word that followed.

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The best definition I've heard is when people use only your first name and people automatically know who you mean no matter where in the US you are = big hat.

 

Examples: Bev, Amanda, Scott, Alasdair, Tommy, etc.

 

There are some exceptions, for example Bill Berhow is simply called "Berhow" due to Bill being a very common name.

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Are there people who started sheepdogging in their forties and managed to become a hat? (even a wee one?)

Maja

I started a couple of months after my 40th birthday (with attending a clinic october last year, after that there was no turning back).

I´m probably a long way from becoming a "hat", I do own a pretty cool one though :rolleyes:

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Thank you all, I feel much better now :rolleyes: . And I hope I won't let my dog down :D .

 

Smalahundur,

I not only have a hat but also a vest :D . When I was in the US, I desperately searched for something that could be a genuine American souvenir, but an Indian statue "Made in China" doesn't really do the trick, does it? It took me a couple of trips to Florida to finally find something - a vest and a pair of jeans made in Texas. The jeans wore out as they are wont to on the farm, but the vest doing great, and I almost always wear it for herding (at home and other places). Which also raises and interesting issue about my evolution of what I wear on the farm, but it would be off topic already too much.

 

Maja

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Humans need maturity to deserve a good dog.

Nice!

A

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