This morning we headed to Hollywood. Big white letters up on the side of the hill. But wait, there's sheep grazing around the letters. No, this wasn't Hollywood, California, but rather Hollywood, Ireland. There is an amazing little local fair held in Hollywood every year, where many locals dress in period costumes of the early to mid-1900s. There are antique cars, steam tractors, horse-drawn buggies, old time Irish music and it feels as if you've gone back in time. True to form, there is also a sheepdog trial.
Mary Lou and I were some of the earlier ones to arrive (around noon, very laid back around here). We had to jump a barb wire fence after throwing our dogs over it to get to the path that took us to the field. Through a cemetery, over a stone bridge crossing a small stream, walk through another small stream, you get the idea. The field was small, but the sheep were set out of sight behind a [berm]. You couldn't see the sheep and the dog had to get directed out through a gap in...
Still slightly bleary eyed from an overnight plane trip into Manchester, a drive to Wales on the wrong side of the road, and a less than average B&B, we took the fast ferry to Dun Laoghaire (pronounced Dun Lharry, don't ask me how), and went to pick up dog food at a cute little pet shop five minutes from the ferry terminal.
We had reluctantly switched the dogs onto kibble for the trip, and since we were able to find Orijen, which is Canadian, we figured it was at least patriotic. The dogs were able to accompany us at a local bistro for lunch (love the dog-friendly atmosphere over here), and then we started another drive on the wrong side of even narrower roads, and it started to rain. Mary Lou informed me that I had been driving like a church mouse up until that point, but now that the hedges were getting close to the passenger side mirror and the road was wet, she felt my speed was excessive. Whether I was getting more comfortable or her nerves were starting to fray has yet to...
80 Acres (continued)
On Monday, the 80 Acres Trial hosted the Novice classes. Two more of Mary Lou's students joined the action. In fact, they set a very high standard for the quality of work with good outruns and their dogs under good control, sweeping the top three positions. Neto finished first and third with his two dogs, and Tricia finished an impressive second in her first ever trial with a daughter of Mary Lou's Dyna, Boywood Kix. Mary Lou was very proud of them both.
From there, we moved on to the Grass Creek site. The trial field is very picturesque with the St.Lawrence River in the background and the Wapoos Island sheep are always a (fun?) challenge. These sheep live on an island for a good portion of the year and don't see many dogs or predators, or even humans for that matter. They are quick to test a dog's courage and Wiley enough to escape the dogs that are willing to stand up to them. There is a line of trees on the left side of the field that tempt the sheep...
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...
Hi everyone and welcome to the new Boywood Border Collie Blog! We will be keeping you posted on our adventures throughout the world and at home on Boywood Farm as we travel on the amazing journey of the working sheepdog. We look forward to sharing the trials (excuse the pun) and tribulations, the highs and lows, the incredible people and characters, and the many lessons and hilarious stories that mark the daily interactions of life with sheepdogs and livestock.
- Kathy & Mary Lou
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