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2015 Vashon Island Trial

Donald McCaig

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This was an exhilarating trial. The long rumpled course was, as Bill Berhow said: "technical" - interestingly complex. On the drive line sheep and dog were out of sight for twenty seconds or so and elsewhere offline might be invisible.

Spotting was uniform and impeccable. The judge, Luca Fini from Italy, got the placings right and didn't get flustered when runs went south.

Novice classes were Thursday, Open FriSatSun. The five suffolk crosses, behaved better than I would have expected Friday but by Saturday, they were unforgiving and if your dog bumped them on top:Wowzer! Jake had an awful run but got numbers rather than letters.

A twenty minutes ferry ride from Seattle, the island is a tight knit community and the trial benefits several children's programs and involved - it seemed to me - half the island population. They had efficient bus service from the ferry and they’d take your credit card at the gate. Vendors offered locally made sausages and the best tamales north of the Pecos. Local craft beer and vodka? made Jake's run seem better than it was.

There was a fiber festival, dna tests, CPR for dogs, pet massage- and spectators by the thousands. (They expected 6000 Sunday)

This trial is one of the best. Thanks to Maggie McClure and her large, formidable and well organized crew for two days of great sheepdogging.

Donald McCaig


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It was an awesome trial indeed. Bill's description of the course as "technical" is exactly right. You had to have your sheep on a well-established line before they dipped out of sight. If not, well you could be surprised and things could be chaotic.


Here I am with my dog Star at the pen. On our first run we retired. On our second run we got around, despite a truly horrendous drive. Note how the pen gate has been yarn-bombed!




Here's my friend Kathleen getting the shed with her good Kelpie Josh:




The field was beautiful and very green, due to some late summer rain. This is Misty Isle Farm, where even the pastures are landscaped. The stately rows of poplars conceal the exhaust pen.




Another view of the pen. Noelle is very good at this.




The pipers were an all-girl group.





My dog Star watching from the sidelines:




Vashon Island is definitely in my plans for future summers!

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