- Author: Robert J Keiffer
The United States Border Collie Handler's Association annual sheep dog trials that are held at the UC Hopland Research & Extension Center in Mendocino County are once again wrapping up a successful event. Over 40 dog handlers entered the trials, and public viewing was good over the clear-skied weekend. The novice dogs are competing today.
Unusual was the fact that the fields were dry this year due to a lack of fall rains. That fact sometimes made it difficult for the competing dogs to visually "see" the four sheep that were set out for them 500 yards away ... as they tended to blend into the yellow-brown hillside. So the dogs faced a few challenges on the course ... but it is those challenges that separate the experienced dogs and handlers from the less-experienced.
Here you see a handler getting ready to "shed" the sheep which is a point where the dog handler and dog must work together to split the group of sheep into groups of "two and two". I will follow up over the next few days with more photos of the recent trials.