Friday, June 25, 2010

Alta-Pete Shedding Clinic - Day One

We had several requests for Scott to do a shedding clinic from our fellow Albertans. I also desperately needed help after my dogs did so well in the Bluegrass but I failed them in the shed. I had been to one of Alasdair MacRae's shedding clinics but that was 9 years ago when Bob was just a young dog and now I need help with Hemp and Lad. We decided to have a clinic here at our farm and today was the first day. It was perfect weather with some sun and some clouds. It never got up to 80F degrees and the breeze kept the mosquitoes away.
We had a great turnout of old and new friends.

Handlers watching the clinic

The range of experience varied from an Open Ranch Kelpie and handler trying their first sheds

Jerry Kurbatoff and his Kelpie, Jed learn how to start a shed

to a couple of National Finals double lift competitors and their border collies.

George Stambulic and Kate shed off a couple of ewes

We learned that no matter how good we thought we were, we all had room for improvement. Scott started out by asking us one by one to go into the ring and shed off however many we wanted out of about 10 sheep.

Louanne Twa and Isla do a practice shed

It didn't go unnoticed that we all had a favorite side to shed off of and we had some difficulties when Scott asked us to switch sides. He used this time to evaluate each of us and see where the literal holes were in our sheds.
Then came the lecture and theory portion of the clinic.

Scott diagrams some basic shedding situations

On a dry erase board, Scott went over the ideas we were going to be working on and what our individual faults were. It was such an easy going and comfortable group that I don't think anyone was self conscious but rather, quite eager to hear his thoughts on the matter.
Then we all went out and Scott helped us with our changes.
On our first day we were just working on the basics of a regular shed. Even the more experienced open handlers had things they needed to work on. The theme of the day seemed to be to make sure the dogs came through the gap far enough.

Lisa Wright and Hope practice coming all the way through the gap

Many of the dogs could get a shed done if the circumstances were right but if they had dog broke sheep that liked to regather behind you, it wasn't going to work. Our sheep didn't try to regather but were helpful enough to allow us to make sure our dogs passed through far enough. For most of the dogs it wasn't about the hold yet. We had two sessions for each of the 10 dogs and you could see the progression from the morning to the afternoon.

Dogs waiting their turn

We have provided the breakfasts, lunches and dinners at this clinic and it has been a wonderful way to gather over our meals and discuss the events of the day. Many people are enjoying the evening, walking their dogs in the sunset and a few of the men have gathered by the television to watch the anniversary dvd for One Man And His Dog. I think we are all looking forward to tomorrow's next step.

Jerry and Jed contemplate their lesson


livin life said...

Nice...sure wish we lived how about a finger whistle clinic? I'm past the begginer stage but need help with the finer points :)

Kristi said...

That looks like SO MUCH FUN! For once, I am slightly jealous that I don't live in AB. :-)

WalkOn Border Collies said...

Ditto what Kristi said; sounds like an awesome clinic! Wish I lived closer.