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Attending my first herding trial...


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I've just found out about the USBCHA's site and the calendar of trials, there's one here next week. So now I'm wondering if there are any rules I'll need to be aware of that aren't common knowledge. I've contacted the lady holding the trial and leashed, quiet dogs are allowed. I'm planning on bringing my pooch.

 

If anyone has any tips/suggestions they'd be greatly appreciated. 2¢ are welcome too!

 

Super excited!

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Great!

 

Dress sensibly, in layers. It can get mighty cold/hot/dry/wet/whatever, sitting and watching. Dress for rain if that's a possibility - a rainsuit is best. Don't forget boots. Comfy footgear is wise, as always. Don't forget a hat/sunglasses/sunscreen (if conditions warrent).

 

Bring a chair. The rule is generally that if a chair is empty, someone can sit in it but when the owner comes back, you move.

 

Bring something to drink and/or eat if there might not be any available. Some trials have good food available and some don't have anything but what you bring.

 

As you have noted, dog on leash (competitors' dogs will be loose often) and the usual rules. ***No barking and/or fussing at dogs or sheep.*** Pick up after your dog (at least around the trial field and seating areas, not necessarily in dog-walking areas). You may note that picking up after dogs is not something some competitors do, so watch where you step.

 

Take pictures if you'd like.

 

Don't speak to people who are going to compete shortly. They are probably concentrating. Give them a chance to take care of their dog after a run. Ask questions and listen!!!

 

Get a running order and note who is runnning dogs that you like and who handles their dogs in a way that you like (for the future, if you are interested in a getting a working-bred dog or pup or lessons).

 

ENJOY! Wishing I could watch with you!

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I have only ever seen entry fees charged for National Finals or for trials associated with a Highland Games or Festival (where you are paying to get into the Festival and not the trial). Oh, and one trial that charged $1 per person (I think to keep out anyone who wasn't really interested in the trial).

 

No, most trials have few if any spectators, and no one's counting on the gate to make any money!

 

If it's cold and there will be wind, don't forget a good windbreaker. A lap robe or blanket can be very nice, something to sit on and keep your butt warm in that folding chair.

 

It is much better to be warm and comfy than to look stylish. Besides, at a trial, farm-type clothes, sturdy boots, warm hats, etc., are stylish. Kind of like the dogs - it's not what your clothes look like, it's how they work for you that counts.

 

Enjoy!

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A number of trials around here do charge a modest entry fee or "suggested donation." It's never more than $5 (I think even the National Finals was $5!).

 

Don't be afraid to ask questions! Even of other spectators. Everyone started off knowing nothing, and most of us are happy to explain things to newbies. Do be aware of "subjective" comments, though- the dog one person doesn't like might be someone else's ideal worker. Like Sue said, avoid asking questions of any handlers near the entry gate to the field. They're up next, or just finished. After a bad run, everyone leaves the handler alone for awhile.

 

If they have lower-level classes (NN or Ranch) watch those, too. It's very interesting to see the difference between a new & experienced handler.

 

If you enjoy yourself, contact the trial sponsor, or your local stockdog assoc and ask about volunteering at trials. It's a great way to meet handlers & other stockdog folks, and most trials, especially bigger ones, are always short on help!

 

Have fun!

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The only other thing I'd add (which may be obvious) is ask permission, if you wish to let your dog greet any of the competing dogs. Some border collies can get a little snappish if they're focused on SHEEP and some strange dog innocently pokes a nose over to say hello. :)

 

Have fun!

Cheers ~

 

Gloria

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I see you're in Utah. There are a lot of nice people in the Utah Stockdog Association. An excellent trial that isn't on the USBCHA site because it is an invitational and hence not sanctioned is Soldier Hollow over Labor Day weekend. You cannot beat that trial for spectating, and there are all kinds of fun ancillary activities. Enjoy! [the bolded words are links]

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Thanks, a fellow BC dogger at my local dog park was telling me about Soldier Hollow. I hadn't looked before but will now definitely plan on going! Only bummer is no spectator dogs allowed - I take Oliver with me everywhere :rolleyes: - but he'll have to sit this one out!

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The trial was this morning and was awesome! Me being a complete newbie, I was surprised to see how the dogs waiting to trial watched the sheep/dog that was out on the field. So intense! I was also shocked to see there were only 20 or so people O.o

My pooch was bored the whole time, but was quiet in his boredness so that's a plus. I think next time I'll leave him home, all he wanted to do was play with the other dogs. Sheep were very uninteresting :lol: I guess that's whatever he's mixed with playing in :rolleyes:

I can't wait to go to another trial and talk to more people. There was a lady there who was telling me about her farm and how she teaches agility and herding, someday we'll get to try - me being 18, jobless, and just out of high school leaves me broke :]

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Skiba, the first trial you go to really is amazing, isn't it? There is so much to see. It seemed like there was something to see everywhere I looked. The dogs watching the goings on so intently is just the coolest thing to see. They put me in mind of judges at a tennis match.

 

I have gotten to go twice so far and look forward to getting to attend another.

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There was a lady there who was telling me about her farm and how she teaches agility and herding, someday we'll get to try - me being 18, jobless, and just out of high school leaves me broke :]

 

That's how I started with sheepdogs. :rolleyes: A part time job paid for lessons. Next thing I knew I was running in trials and hopelessly addicted. (I was the dirt poor college kid camping in a tent, eating cheese and crackers from a cooler.) Don't let being young and of limited means stop you. Trade your time helping around the farm for lessons if you have to.

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Trade your time helping around the farm for lessons if you have to.

 

This. Especially because doing farm work/chores is one of the best ways to learn a very important dog-handling skill: reading sheep (or other stock).

 

I'm still that poor person camping in a tent, dogs in the truck... You make friends pretty quickly with people with fancy trailers. They usually have coffee in the mornings. Baked goods help make friends. A lot :)

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I'm still that poor person camping in a tent, dogs in the truck... You make friends pretty quickly with people with fancy trailers. They usually have coffee in the mornings. Baked goods help make friends. A lot :)

 

LOL, me too. :D Of course I've reached the point where I can't fit all my dogs in my vehicle. I need to make a decision about how to handle that pretty soon.

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This. Especially because doing farm work/chores is one of the best ways to learn a very important dog-handling skill: reading sheep (or other stock).

 

I'm still that poor person camping in a tent, dogs in the truck... You make friends pretty quickly with people with fancy trailers. They usually have coffee in the mornings. Baked goods help make friends. A lot :)

 

All the above! :) I still trade various kinds of work for time on sheep. The stock-work is great for my young dogs to learn practical chores and calm behavior, and the odd jobs keeps the sheep owner happy, too.

 

I also tent camp, but I'm with Julie: a camper would be nice. One of these days I'd love to have one of those little Scamp type rigs, but first I'd need a truck big enough to pull it and yeah, the money to afford it. B)

 

I should practice bringing baked goods, too ... ;)

 

~ Gloria

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