The warm-up to the World Trial (part 1)

kingston sheepdogs trials Aug 11, 2011

80 Acres and Kingston

With only two weeks left before leaving for the UK, Team Boywood headed for Kingston, Ontario to participate in the formidable Kingston Sheepdog Trials at Grass Creek Park, and the warm-up 80 Acres Sheepdog Trial.

These trials have challenging sheep and fields and both Mary Lou and I were hoping to get a sense of how the dogs were running. The heat and humidity this summer has made it difficult to do much work with the dogs. Our good friends and students of Mary Lou's, Alistair Simpson and Linda Comeau were also attending the trials.

The 80 Acres Trial can be a bit hard on the faint of heart, because the field is very long. Did I mention VERY LONG? And flat. Enough undulations to keep the dog popping in and out of sight, but flat enough to mess with your depth-perception. With 90+ dogs running this year, the outrun distance wasn't overly long which helped move things along, but without a nearby backdrop of trees there was still the optical illusion that the sheep were miles away.

The sheep seemed happy enough to cooperate, and there wasn't much room for error as top scores were in the 90s both days.

I had no idea what to expect from Craig, with so little work through the summer, but he ran great, placing both days and handling his sheep really well. The second day in particular he had a stellar run, very tidy all the way around. His first back to back scores in the 90s!! Maybe I should give him time off more often!

Dyna and Mary Lou also looked very good, but it just seemed like some small thing would go wrong each time.

Herding can drive you mad if you let it, so we have a rule that whoever has the best score at the end of the day makes everyone else a refreshment. The person with the best score is happy to do so, and the others can enjoy being served a much needed drink!

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