On a very hot (41 degrees) and windy Friday afternoon we loaded the dogs into the car and headed South, our destination Eroua in Victoria to run our first dog handling school. Jamie was approached last year by James Ryan to run a school at his farm as a fundrasing event for STAI, for those who do not know what STAI stands for it is Sheepdog Trials Australia International. STAI is a relatively new organisation that has started to run fields trials in Australia, similar to the ones held in most counties around the world, such as the UK, US and Europe.
A great group of people and dogs
Saturday morning started off much much cooler then the previous day with us all looking for jumpers,the dogs on the other hand were super keen to get going. The morning started with Jamie giving a little demo with his young pup Cap, then it was onto getting started with the dogs and there owners. At this stage Jamie was looking to see where the dogs and handlers were up too. There was big range in dogs and ability of handlers, we even had a blue cattle x kelpie dog having a go.
As the morning rolled on a little surprise package entered the yard, it was in the form of a little red & tan Kelpie bitch called Nina. If you haven't guessed by now we are all for the Border Collie and have been for many many years but this little kelpie was by far the best kelpie we have ever seen. She was cool and calm on her sheep and for such a young dog she handled the whole weekend like a dog much older then her age.
After a well earned cuppa and little break for the dogs it was into the bigger yard, the aim for this yard was to get the dogs thinking distance and they didn't need to be right up on there stock bustling them. This was picked up very quickly by most of dogs, with only a few needing a little more work on this.
With everyone coming along in leaps and bounds it time to venture out into the paddock for the start of driving work and a demo from Sweep on how to drive as well a near prefect single shed. Most of the attendees at the school had never seen driving or shedding and it was great to hear there positive response to how Sweep did.
Sweep with sheep under full control
Jamie and Sweep showing a single shed
With the demo finished it was time to go on with the dogs and handlers in the paddock on the start of driving, it was great to sit back and watch this to see the progress both dog and handler made.
Jess may have been an old girl but she showed us old dogs can learn new tricks
Jaz, Jamie and Spy talking driving
Nina showing her style in the paddock
Jasper showing us he could slow down
Another old girl Rita at the start of a drive.
While all of this training was happening it left a few dogs to sit and watch there fellow canine friends learning new things, this let to some rather funny shots and one little guy who couldn't stay off my chair.
Spy loved crawling through fences
Gooch thought he could see more from here
Spy knew he could see more if he stood up
And Gooch thought if he looked cute I wouldn't remove him from my chair.
All in all we felt the weekend was a huge success on all fronts, with a good amount of money being raised for STAI which has set it up for another year and all attendees going home happy and with some new ideas to work on.