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How are USBCHA trials sanctioned?


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I am trying to understand how USBCHA trails are sanctioned and how the judges are picked? I pretty much know how AHBA and - choke - AKC work, but I have no clue on how USBCHA work their sanctions?

 

The reason this came up was because someone ask me how trials are set up and I did not know B)

 

 

Thanks for explaining :)

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The Rules for sanctioning, along with recommendations for livestock handling, etc., are found here on the USBCHA website.

 

If the question is more along the lines of "Are there standards or regulations for sanctioning trials?" (like minimums, maximums, requirements) I don't think there is anything outside of the basic components - outrun, lift, fetch, drive, shed or single, pen (or maltese cross or other similar component) - for an Open trial (same for Nursery except minus the shed/single).

 

All I found with regards to selecting judges is here, also from the website.

 

I think most trial hosts/committees select someone whom they feel is experienced, capable, and honest - or at least I'd like to think that. I think the best trial hosts choose different judges and don't just stick with the same judges for the same trials all the time, like some tend to do.

 

I hope someone will chime in with "real" information rather than my assumed information.

 

PS - Unlike the "titling" organizations, USBCHA seems to place trust and responsibility on the trial hosts rather than laying out a plethora of rules and regulations, and nitpicking minutae.

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Thanks Sue :D

 

That answers a lot of questions. I wonder about the judges so, do they need to be approved by ABCHA or are they on a judges list? Do they need to be on the premium? What would the starting point be for a beginner? Sorry for all the questions, I am trying to understand this so I can explain the differences between the "title" venues and the ABCHA venue to a couple of people :)

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Thanks Sue :D

 

That answers a lot of questions. I wonder about the judges so, do they need to be approved by ABCHA or are they on a judges list? Do they need to be on the premium? What would the starting point be for a beginner? Sorry for all the questions, I am trying to understand this so I can explain the differences between the "title" venues and the ABCHA venue to a couple of people :)

 

 

I don't know that USBCHA trials put out a premium, per se. Usually it's just an entry form, and at the top it will give the judges' names, along with the dates, levels run and location.

 

The starting point I don't know, will let others address. :)

 

~ Gloria

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Unlike the other venues there are multiple sanctioning bodies in USBCHA style herding. The USBCHA only sanctions Open and Handlers' Nursery; local clubs sanction the other classes offered across the country (like novice-novice, pro-novice, and ranch) and each club has its own set of classes (levels) and definition of these classes.

 

In our region judges are not pre-ordained by these organizations and there are no courses to take to become a judge. It's up to the trial hosts to select people they feel are qualified to judge. There are no hard and fast rules on how to judge (only guidelines). Judges are often listed on the entries/announcement, but not always.

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The lowest level is typically a class with a gather (outrun, lift fetch), wear (handler walking with sheep being held to you by the dog), pen. The size and design of this course is set by the trial host within whatever constraints placed upon them by the local club. In the Northeast this is typically 100yd outrun and a 50-75yd wear. The local clubs will likely have restrictions on who is eligible to run in N-N.

 

All a dog needs to go to the post at one of these trials is a paid entry and a handler. There are things that can get you and your dog excused quickly. If you leave the post to help your dog during the gather you may be excused. If you or your dog are abusing livestock (in the judge's opinion) you may be excused.

 

 

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You can leave the post and I have been known to leave the post to help a dog with an issue (or re-enforce correct behavior) but be aware that once you leave the post you have chosen to retire.

 

That means I would make sure my inexperienced dog is capable (at home) of at least the expected outrun distance for the trial I am entering. But I also understand that my inexperienced dog may not perform at a new field and during a trial as well as it does at home and my require me to leave the post to help.

 

 

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Claudia,

Any experienced open handler should be capable of judging a trial. Some are willing to do so, and some are not (it's sort of a thankless job and most handlers won't accept the job if they don't feel qualified to do it well). Whether a judge is perceived to be fair and knowledgeable will determine where s/he gets asked to judge on a regular basis. Often the less experienced judges will start judging the lower classes before moving up to open (although IME it's actually more difficult to judge the lower classes from the POV of shorter runs and more mistakes by the handler/dog teams). Not everyone has the mindset/concentration/understanding to be a good judge, and good judges are worth their weight in gold. But there is no list of judges and no judge has to take courses in order to become a judge (time and experience--and success--walking to the post on the open trial field are deemed experience enough).

 

Mark is right that leaving the post is automatically deemed a retirement. That said, at least at VBCA club trials, novice handlers (in N/N and P/N) who leave the post and are able to get things under control are usually allowed to finish out their time on course to make it a positive training experience for both dog and hander. It's always best to ask during the handler's meeting if that will be allowed. Even as an open handler, I have asked that question when taking an inexperienced youngster to the post in P/N (east coast P/N, which is a step up from N/N).

 

I don't know how AHBA/ASCA/AKC work, but I think at least in some of them, you have to progress up through the ranks and can't skip levels. In USBCHA type trials, there's nothing to stop you from skipping levels if you so choose and you and your dog are capable of the work required at the higher level. So for example, I could run my young dog in P/N a few times and then move her up to open, skipping the class in between (open ranch here in the east). Likewise (I assume this is still true), your dog can run in, say, P/N on sheep and open on cattle (mainly because at least around here cattle trials generally offer only the open class). Once a dog has run in open, generally it can't be run in a lower class by the same handler (here NEBCA differs from some other local clubs because it does allow handlers to cross enter in open ranch and open until the dog places in open, at which point it can no longer run in the ranch class with that handler). There may be local governing body (local club) rules that require competitors to move up at a certain point, but aside from open handlers (or novice handlers with open trained dogs) not being allowed to run dogs in N/N there are no rules about where you must start.

 

Trial courses are fairly standardized, but there are no rules stating that extra elements can't be added or substituted (for example, a trial host might choose to include a Maltese cross instead of or in addition to a pen, may substitute a trailer for a freestanding pen, may choose to have handlers complete a marked shed, etc.).

 

I think the easiest way to describe the differences is to note that for USBCHA trials there are basic historical standards that generally are met by the trial host but that aren't prescribed by the sanctioning body, except for the national finals, for which the course is delineated in the USBCHA rules.

 

Re: Starting point for a beginner. That somewhat depends on the local club rules. Anyone can enter the open class if they think they and their dog are capable of completing the course. Local clubs will offer "lower" classes as starting places for handlers and dogs to gain experience before moving to open. Most clubs have at least one class that is restricted to novice handlers and novice dogs so that those handler/dog teams aren't overwhelmed by the competition. In this area there are rules about who can enter certain of the novice classes. Open handlers are not allowed in novice-novice. Novice handlers with fully trained open dogs are also not allowed in novice-novice. The starting point for open handlers with inexperienced dogs and novice handlers with open dogs is pro-novice. These sorts of classes vary around the country and are called different things.

 

I agree with Mark that as a beginner before you enter, say, N/N your dog should be doing at least that work at home (should be able to do a 100-yard outrun and lift and fetch properly, wear sheep to you, and pen). You should expect that your dog will regress when it is faced with new fields and new sheep. You should always be ready and willing to leave the post and go help your dog, even if it means that you won't be allowed to use up your time and try to complete your run. Standing rooted at the post and allowing the dog to make mistakes repeatedly is just helping those mistakes to become ingrained. It's always better to leave sooner rather than later to make sure that your dog understand that the rules that apply at home also apply elsewhere.

 

J.

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Regardless of an NQ

Just a point of clarification for folks not familiar with USBCHA trials. There are two ways to be "removed" from the course: disqualification (DQ) and retirement (RT or Ret).

 

In the former, the judge excuses you for some infraction deemed worthy of disqualification, such as the dog inappropriately gripping the sheep, the sheep going off course, or perhaps use of foul language or other unsportsmanlike behavior of the handler (rare). In the latter, the handler chooses to leave the post and end the run, perhaps because the dog is being disobedient, the run isn't going well enough to be a placing run, a dog that is excessively hot, etc.

 

J.

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I would say just watch and if you have questions, ask! Don't be afraid to appear unknowledgeable. We all started out that way. Most open handlers are very willing to answer questions. Just don't ask those who are clearly getting ready to run (they'll want to concentrate on their upcoming run) or who have just finished a run (they'll want to decompress a bit), but everyone else is fair game! If someone isn't very communicative, just try someone else.

 

Also make sure that you have someplace to put your dogs if they end up not being well-behaved (i.e., barking or acting out while sheep are on the course) and bring chairs to sit in. If it's a farm trial, you will probably need to provide your own food and drink.

 

And have fun. :) (Warning: good runs will seem rather boring, but that's as it should be if the course is being run well and the sheep are being handled well by the dog.)

 

J.

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Watch the sheep, not the dog. That's my big tip for new handlers. You can't train/handle a sheep dog unless you understand why the sheep are acting the way they are.

Hi Liz :lol:

 

Hopefully I can watch the sheep since I don't have to watch Elsie and watch myself

 

Oh, the pitfalls of a beginner B):PB)

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Okay, I thought everything over last night :rolleyes:

 

As far as I understand:

 

Their are NO titles only points earned at a trial. With enough points earned you get an invite to the Finales. This applies to Open and Nursery but not to Novice?

Nursery the dog have to be a certain age.

 

A person like myself with no experience and a young dog would start in NN. If I were an open handler with a young dog I would start in PN. I can run in NN until my dog runs in Open. I can run in PN until my dog runs in Open. Where do I go if I feel my dog is done with Novice - Nursery? Open?

Once my dog has 1 open run under "his Belt" he/she can not go back to Novice?

 

Can a non BC run in the trials (Say a Kelpie or a GSD)Can a non BC get an invite to the finales or is that reserved for BC's only. Now I understand that 99% of non BC can probably not do the huge outruns, but I would figure they could probably do a Novice course?

 

Sorry for all the questions B)

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Claudia,

The rules for the novice levels are governed solely by the local sanctioning body. Out your way, the classes are named differently than here on the east coast (for example, east coast P/N is west coast ranch and vice versa, though I think TX maybe uses the same nomenclature we do in the east), so you'd really need to familiarize yourself with the local club's rules for local trials.

 

What I've described in this thread is how it works in VA (although I think states like GA and FL are prtty much the same, though the Bluegrass in KY uses slightly different nomenclature in order to be more clear to peopple from all parts of the US). I've also mentioned NEBCA, for whose guidelines Mark has posted a link. NEBCA and VA "share" a lot of handlers, so those handlers have to be aware of how the various clubs' rules will apply when entering a trial. For example, if the trial is sanctioned by VBCA, handlers may not cross enter dogs between the open ranch and open classes. In NEBCA they can, up to the point where they place in open, when they can no longer run that dog in ranch. In VA, people running in N/N will do a wear (handler walking, followed by sheep, with sheep held to handler by dog). In NEBCA rules, the handler may either wear or do an assisted drive (handler walking along with the dog as the dog drives the sheep). So you really need to find the rules for the local clubs whose trials you might attend. I know I have seen class designations in Texas or someplace similar that were "beginner" and similar. So even the class names can be completely different.

 

In general the lowest level(s) of novice classes will be limited to novices only--no open handlers and no fully trained (having trialed in open) dogs. But I can't say that this is a fact for all local sanctioning bodies. And that's why you need to contact the local clubs and find out what their rules are.

 

Many local/regional clubs offer year end awards at their various trial levels. Some, like NEBCA, have a novice finals. But other than being labeled champion at a particular trial, there really are no titles.

 

For open and nursery, you don't really get invited to the finals. You either have enough points (open) or (qualifying runs) nursery to be able to enter or you don't. (By definition and invitational trial is NOT an open trial and so can't count for points toward the National Finals.) For open, the national finals takes the top 150 dogs. How many points you'll need to make the cut depends on how many people with more points than you enter the finals. Obviously not all of the top 150 (numerically speaking) dogs will enter the finals, so dogs who are lower than 150 in the points standings can still enter and run in the finals. For example, say a team has 25 points and numerically they're sitting at 200 on the points list. Perhaps the team sitting at 150 has 30 points. The cut off could still end up at, say 23 points, in which case the dog sitting in the 200 spot in the points standings could still run as one of the 150 dogs in the finals.

 

For nursery, you need a top 20% placing in two nursery trials or two open trials. Points don't matter. You just need to finish in the top 20%. The minimum trial size is 5 dogs, and at such a trial just the winning dog would earn a qualification. I think 60 or 65 nursery dogs can be entered in the finals. I'm not sure how the USBCHA would limit the nursery finals if, say, 100 nursery dogs qualified and all of them entered.

 

A nursery age dog is generally allowed to run in both nursery and one other class.

 

As for where to go with your dog if you feel you have graduated from novice, that would depend on the classes offered by the local club(s). In VA, for example, you can pretty much start at any level you want and skip levels if you choose. If you chose to trial in every level, then you'd go N/N, P/N, ranch, then open. You'd run in nursery only if your dog were the right age and could do a drive away and cross drive and at least a ranch-level outrun.

 

Open trials are called open trials because they are open to everyone. Open has taken on a secondary meaning of being the top level of USBCHA type trialing, because at one time there were only nursery and open at trials, but now there are novice classes as well, so in addition to the original meaning of open (open to all) it now also means "top level." Although non-border collie people tend to label the trials as border collie trials, by tradition other breeds are not actively excluded. Realistically, you don't see many other breeds (kelpies mainly in open, and I have seen ACDs and Belgian Tervurens in the novice classes, and once a Polish Lowland sheepdog), but there's no rule against other breeds.

 

If a dog of another breed racks up enough points in sanctioned open trials then it could also attend the finals.

 

I think I got all your questions....

 

J.

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Thanks a million :D

I am making a list of questions to take with me tomorrow. I will ask the trial chair a bunch of questions. Hopefully a bunch of "big Hats" will be there, so I can "pick" their brains (I will make sure I don't disturb them so before or right after their run ;) )

 

I am sooo looking forward to this

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Dear Wouldbe Sheepdoggers,

 

Dog Fancy emigres are sometimes discomfitted by how strong sheepdog traditions are and how few its rules. (Judges consult "Guidelines" not "Rules")

 

A couple for instances:

 

1. There are no rules about dogs barking but most sheepdoggers find barking annoying. One Californian cursed with barking dogs was told by trial host after trial host that he must park far, far away from everybody else.

 

2.Novice/novice trials explicitly forbid dogs that have competed in Open. But I've often seen kids competing with their parent's open dog and never heard a complaint from other handlers.

 

Even the core belief - the trial must be the same for everyone - I've seen modified, without demur, for severely disabled or ancient handlers.

 

Donald McCaig

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Dear Wouldbe Sheepdoggers,

 

Dog Fancy emigres are sometimes discomfitted by how strong sheepdog traditions are and how few its rules. (Judges consult "Guidelines" not "Rules")

 

A couple for instances:

 

1. There are no rules about dogs barking but most sheepdoggers find barking annoying. One Californian cursed with barking dogs was told by trial host after trial host that he must park far, far away from everybody else.

 

2.Novice/novice trials explicitly forbid dogs that have competed in Open. But I've often seen kids competing with their parent's open dog and never heard a complaint from other handlers.

 

Even the core belief - the trial must be the same for everyone - I've seen modified, without demur, for severely disabled or ancient handlers.

 

Donald McCaig

 

 

Dear Mr. McCaig

 

My Dog and I definatly fall under instance 1 and 3 :rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes:

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New Mexico goes by TSDA's rules. In your area, Claudia, Ranch is a lower level than Open Ranch. There is no Pro-Novice, and Open handlers run young dogs in the Open Ranch class. Novice-Novice is a small course and I believe it's usually just an outrun, lift, fetch, and pen. (Actually, I'm not sure about whether there is a wear or drive in Novice-Novice. In Colorado there is typically no wear or drive in the Novice-Novice class, but I think it is because the few trials that offer Novice-Novice in Colorado run the class on range sheep, so the prevailing thought is that just the OLF and pen are challenging enough.) At the Free to Be trial, Ranch is just a small step above Novice-Novice. It includes a drive and sometimes a cross drive, but the course is small. Open Ranch is a big jump from Ranch. It has a much longer outrun, and the driving distances are much longer as well. At Free to Be, the Novice-Novice and Ranch classes are run on the farm flock, while the Open Ranch and Open classes are run on range ewes, so the sheep make the higher classes much more challenging as well.

 

Also, at whatever class you're competing in, you typically can't go back with the same dog. For example, once you've competed with your dog "Lad" in Open Ranch, say, you can't then compete with Lad in the Ranch class at another trial (unless you do it noncompete, which usually means your run will be scored but won't "count" toward placings or points). If you're competing with Lad in Open Ranch and have another dog who is less experienced, you can run that second dog in Ranch (and, even if you've never competed in an Open class, I don't believe you can compete with that second dog in Novice-Novice, as generally the thought is that you can't go down two classes). I am not sure about all of Texas's rules, but you can read more about them here. Or perhaps Betty or another person more familiar with all of Texas's rules can correct me if I'm wrong about anything.

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