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Sheepdog News

new 2010 Finals T-Shirts!

Available to ship by December 15 (in time for Christmas) is a great new shirt design by Betsy Drummond:

The shirts are available in four new styles (men's and women's long and short sleeves) and lots of cool colors. Check 'em out!


Comments (2)

more about the posters

From Deb Mickey:

A few days ago Donald McCaig announced the 1999 Bell Grove Plantation National Finals poster/prints by noted western artist Kim Trickey were available for purchase. 

You can now order your 1999 National Sheepdog Finals poster by sending an email to   Please include your full name and house address, including zip code, your phone number, and the number of posters you'd like.

Once we receive your email you will receive an email from PayPal on behalf of National Sheepdog Finals Committee, Inc. with instructions how to submit your payment.  When we received your payment, the poster will be shipped.

Attention all Canadians – please use this method to order your posters.

 US residents – $25, includes shipping

Canadian residents - $30, includes shipping

Get 'em now!

Thanks for your support of the 2010 National Sheepdog Finals!


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1999 National Finals posters available

This just in from Donald McCaig:

Dear Sheepdoggers,
For 8 days in September 1999, at Belle Grove Plantation, you could purchase one of three hundred 22×28 original, numbered National Finals poster/prints by noted western artist Kim Trickey.

The unsold posters vanished after the trial and when rare print dealers phoned me asking to buy the leftovers I told them I didn't know where they were.

Ten years later, the prints have turned up – in mint condition.

The 2010 National Finals committee has decided to let sheepdog people have first crack at them before we offer them to rare print collectors. And we're selling them cheap. $25 each, postpaid, until they're gone or  December Fifth when we'll put them up on EBay.

All proceeds will benefit the 2010 Finals.

Send your $25 check to Deb Mickey, 126 Sheaffer Rd, Carlisle Pa 17013 and she'll send you your poster, in a mailing tube by media mail.


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Amanda: patience is a virtue

Purdy has been straining the patience of her handler.  When I stop her, she checks to see if I am serious, or whether she can blow me off.   Oooooo.   The driving has been going all right but she is inclined to sulkiness, which it such a strain.  Fresh, she accepts driving better,  so I try to keep sessions short and therefore sweet. It mostly works but sometimes I go just a hair too far and then I have to revert to something she will accept.

I concede now that hers is not an overnight traini
ng project.I will stick with Bobby Dalziel's advice for now, but I may have to reconsider in a week.The alcoholic's mantra, "one day at a time." I will keep up her work until the footing gives up.then she can have a break and so can I.

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Amanda: training Purdy

Haste makes waste. Saturday was atrocious weather here with driving rain starting before dawn.  I had so many mandatory outdoor activities planned, potato digging, tilling, leaves, organizing new drive shed and I shelved them all, outside of a brief foray to feed the guard dogs. When the weather broke late in the afternoon, I made a run for young dog work.  I shed off too many and they were awkward, heavy  and difficult, particularly for the job I am tackling, driving with a new one.  I knew I should have taken fewer but I was in hurry.  When I put Purdy on them, she was sulky and reluctant.  I couldn't blame her. She lost them at the same time the rain resumed.  While I do not customarily allow finishing on such a note, I gave up.  One step backwards.

But Sunday brought two steps forward.  The weather was bright and relaxing.  The sheep were cheerier.  I shed a smaller number.  Purdy rejoiced and drove up and down our little hay field almost like a pro.  Good girl!


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Amanda: training Purdy

I have a young bitch to get ready for the Nursery finals. Purdy is a love child: the product of a mismate between Kate Broadbent's Salt and my Roz.  She was born at the end of April, an awkward Nursery time.  This year, I knew I would  not get to training her over the summer, her heat in early May was prime for July pups, so I bred her.  Career sidelined by motherhood, just like Roz.  I left her at home to help with sheep moves, while I went west.  Now that I am back, I have started onto her in earnest, twice a day, if I can fit it in, meaning get home before dark. Over two weeks, she goes left and right freely with a good feel for her sheep.  Her flanks are confused from time to time, but she is new to it and I have patience.  She stops, never down, always on her feet. She cheats a little, taking extra steps after my stop and pirouettes on her own to turn in the other direction, before I ask her to do. Sometimes I think that's clever, but sometimes annoying.  She has no shortage of gas, being quite bossy with everything I show her.

Bobby Dalziel came to town last week.  I took a lesson from him.  One of his suggestions with her, was to stop gathering altogether and just drive.  Drive, just as she starts a training session, while she is fresh.  The reasoning was that she was proficient at gathering, but what needed work was to stop her "twitching".That is how he referred to her, stepping from foot to foot, fussing like a young horse. Twitching. I have taken his advice.  For the last couple of days, I have driven. She has taken it all right, but when I see pressure cracks, I let her do little gathers to please her.  My control of her has improved, although I wonder if it would have, just because I was working her everyday.The Bobby advice was paid advice, so I think I will take it for the time being.Driving on and on with a youngster is pushing the envelope to me.  A little rub against the grain.  However, who am I, to question the word of the great Dalziel.

I was never doing big outruns with her anyway.I like to get things in hand before I stretch them out.I will just forge ahead with the drivinga little more quickly than I would have done, left to my own devices.

While I was getting ready for work, I routinely leave all my dogs loose, until I depart.Purdy was nowhere to be seen when I was putting all the dogs away.I left, alerting a few about my missing dog,even called the dog catcher and the pound, just in case.I have been anxious about her all day.Just a short while ago, Don Whittington called to say he found her where I tied her up this morning.

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Amanda: report on Butternut Creek SDT 2009

The dog swim pools have been put away.The water wagons are empty.The garbage is out and the rest of it is burned.The judge and his pal are back across the Atlantic ocean.The runners are home with the exception of Don Whittington (not Dick) who always seems to conjure up a reason to stay in Kingston, either before or after trials.This time, it is something about his trailer axel.   He must like it.I put him to work.

Bev Lambert and Mirk won over all, so Bev got the good haflinger sheep slippers.Anne Wheatley broke her finger riding my young black cob, Sambo.(Lucky she is not American– lawsuits).The sheep were almost too good with very few questions asked of dogs, and mostly problem free penning.The drive was difficult for those who had to keep an eye on their dogs, for while the sheep were visible, the dogs were not in plain view.More than one hand stepped down during the cross drive.Bobby Dalziel insisted upon sheds held for light years, and he loved half points, where nothing was not enough and one too much.I beat Bev by a point and half one day.It is usually the other way around, even after I wear her out in personal slavery all week precedent.Dang!

The weather discussed rain all the time but never really produced except on Friday night while we were not trialling.   

The food was Ok.  Heather drove to Kingston each morning for fresh Pan Chancho croissants, pain au chocolate, scones and muffins.Mish made squash leek soup on Friday.I made Friday night supper–pork loin stuffed with apple raisin dressing, blue Hubbard squash, Desiree potatoes roasted, and steamed kale–garden fest.  Susan Dell made Saturday's Chili.  I made Sunday's.A troupe went to the George Jones concert in Kingston on Saturday but some pooped out, with no stamina for hanging in.   George Jones is, well, George Jones."He stopped loving her today."


The Ontario Border Collie Club conspired with their diverse talent to form the management of the trial.Viki Kidd led the charge.We have a great home gang which one imagines is the envy of the visiting sheep dog world.  Everybody (well, almost everybody) helped, with the adage "many hands making light work", never truer.  OBCC rules.

Comments (2)

Amanda: slave reprieve

You would have to be some kinda crack pot not to be able to get by with all the personal slaves I have had in tow. Yesterday Bev and Sue drove to Carleton Place and picked me up two new North Country Cheviot rams, which are replacing the two taken out by wolves a year ago.  They had a little trouble settling in with my Border Cheviot ram, but I am certain that the gentleman's club will prevail.

Bev's new haircut

Sue Schoen and Bev had a spa day today and are now sporting fabulous new hairdos.  They don't look like slaves.  Mich Ferraro had a handler improvement lesson with Bobby Dalziel.  Then we all met at Kingston's fabulous Chez Piggy for lunch.


The weather looks uncooperative and maybe Bobby will back out of his late lesson with me. Trial starts tomorrow.  Let the games begin.

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Amanda: a personal slave prepares for the Butternut Creek trial

I feel the benevolent hand of justice.

Bev Lambert has become my personal slave for a week.Everyone likes that idea.And why not?She has been setting out hay, shifting electronet, replenishing mineral, organizing water for the trial, setting the course (she likes this in case there is an advantage for her), feeding guard dogs and of course, working her dogs a little bit in between.She is terribly worn out at the end of the day.Needs a shower and then I feed her high test food so that I can keep her going tomorrow.You will all be surprised to learn what a wonderful worker she is.

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Amanda: the long ride home

I am back in Kingston after four hard days on the road.Four days to reflect upon what went wrong.Sorry, but getting on line was problematic.I never really left the trial site. Once I went to Merrill, about five miles away.I will have to catch up to Bev and have some sort of Iphone or blackberry or something.I have been a poor blogger.The finals were charged with ups and downs for me and several unforgettable moments.    Ethel’s semi-finals run was thrilling, with concise turns, sheep at a swift clip.She’s a pro.
I had a disappointing run in the finals on Sunday.However it went, Ethel did not let me down in any way.Her first gather was confused.I now think it was the irrigation apparatus being move on the adjacent field during her gather.It was loud and squeaky—not for us, but her.Her first gather of sheep went to the exhaust while she did her second.Her second gather went very smoothly, but  she had to dig the sheep from the exhaust which wasted precious time.Her drive went very smoothly.She was a good old girl.These turns of events sadden me, since she will not get another crack at it.She is ten years old.

Allen Mills and Sis in the Semi-Finals

My good Nursery dogs, on the other hand.Jeesh.Roz betrayed every trust I ever bestowed upon her.Monty was pretty good.

In further retrospect, the time on the road, five weeks leading up to the finals, was hard on all the dogs.In future,I might do more like Bev and make work stops more frequently, just for their mental well being, as much as anything.


What a great job the trial committee did, of making a memorable National  Finals for all the USBCHA hands.The owner of the trial ranch, proudly turned on his natural hot spring irrigation pipe into a big stock tanks which became the “Cowboy hot tub”.We jumped in most evenings to a waterfall of water that comes out of the pipe at a hundred and three degrees.That was joy.You can see the picture.The charming idea of having hot water flow out of the ground—that is something.

My camper could be the road vehicle for The Grapes of Wrath.  The dust that settled into it assumed a new life with the rattling around over 6000 kilometers of some not so smooth road.There is no unscathed surface.I have a Miele vacuum, aptly named“Cat and Dog”. I will test its merits tomorrow.

Bev and I yakked on the phone now and again.The ride was hard for her too.

I will go to work and get back in the swing of things.Pauline Bolay has done a great job manning the works in my absence.I will see my garden in the light and start training a couple of young dogs.

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