The Tenth Rural Hill Farm
Sheep Dog Trials
November, the first weekend – November 5th, 6th & 7th, 2004
Dean Holcomb, President of
the NC Border Collie Handlers Association, has confirmed that 140 dogs are
registered to compete... the largest field to date. The trials will be
judged by noted English judge, Danny Wilde President of the International
Sheep Dog Association.
Bring your kids and dogs
out to the farm... It just doesn’t get any better than this
Rural Hill Farm Admission -
$5, Students 5-12 - $3, 4 and under - Free
Hayride and tour of the
one-room Davidson Schoolhouse included in price of ticket
Today farmers continue to
find their sheepdogs valued partners in maintaining livestock herds...
profitably and safely. As the American family has moved to an urban rather
than agricultural setting, these farmers have been joined by tens of
thousands of suburbanites who have discovered the frustration and joy of
training their dogs to usher scatter-brained sheep through a series of
tasks that have their origins in the every day activities of farm life.
Using arcane commands and whistles, they too have discovered the special
relationship between human and working dog.
The Sheep Dog Trials -
Friday – 8:30 am, Pro-novice, Novice & Nursery Class
Bring your lawn chair.
These are enthusiastic youngsters, a bit unpredictable but with moments of
greatness. They are great fun to watch.
The Sheep Dog Trials -
Saturday & Sunday - 8:00 am - until ... Open Class
These dogs mean business.
Many farms and livestock businesses could not function without these
thorough professionals. The Trials are sanctioned by the US Border Collie
Handlers Association. Many dogs at these Trials will go on to the
Sport Dog Demos
In addition to sheep
herding, several sports using the energy and physical skills of the herd
dog have evolved. Sanctioning boards, rules and prize money have turned
simple toss and fetch into other heavily supported competitions for
herding dogs. Learn about sports and activities you can participate in
including Agility, Obedience Competition, Therapy Dog Training, Flying
Disc and Flyball. Hosted by the Greater Charlotte Shetland Sheepdog Club.
Border Collie Rescue will
be on field to educate people about Border collies and the services of
Hospital will offer free once-over exams and registration of Huntersville
cats and dogs. Proof of rabies vaccination will be required.
The Antique Tractor Show
will be presented by the Power of the Past Tractor Club. During WWI the US
Army purchased and transported a large percentage of available draft
horses to Europe and US farmers were forced to find another source of
horsepower to work their farms. By the 1930's tractor manufacturers were
building high-quality useful machines that were very durable. Deere,
International Harvester, Case, Allis-Chalmers, Oliver and Minneapolis
Moline revolutionized the life-style of the American family farm. The
members of the Tractor Clubs are working to preserve these classic
beauties as an important part of our rural heritage. Power of the Past
will offer the very popular Kiddie pedal tractor pull.
Windswept Hill Farm will
offer free trolley rides on Sunday and there will be a tractor drawn hay
ride to the 1890's one -room Davidson Schoolhouse on Friday, Saturday &
Sunday. The Davidson family placed great emphasis on education.
Learn more about the Davidsons. Seminars about local history will be
offered each day.
Lucky Punkin Chunkin' -
Saturday & Sunday - 12:00 - 1:00 pm - Bring your Halloween pumpkin and
launch it for luck.
Listen to some great local
folk music on Saturday.
Rare Livestock Breeds Expo
See Llamas, miniature donkeys, miniature horses, pigs, sheep, goats and
the herd of Highland cattle. Learn about the importance of maintaining
diversity in livestock breeds.
The Rural Hill Sheep Dog
Trials are presented by the volunteers of the Catawba Valley Scottish
Society, The Greater Charlotte Shetland Sheep Dog Club and Egypt Bottom
Farm; facilitated in cooperation with Mecklenburg County Park & Recreation
and sanctioned by the US Border Collie Handlers Association.
The Trials are sponsored by individuals and businesses that value the
opportunity to support the community: Lakecross Veterinary Hospital,
Tathwell Printing, Walker Family Chiropractic, Mac Papers, Windswept Hill
Percherons, BB&T, Coca Cola, The Printer Ink, Highland Catering and Family
History of Sheep Dog
Sheep dog trials have been
held in the United Kingdom since 1873 when the first formal trials were
held in Bala, Wales. The trials are a competition in performance not
conformation. The competition is based on daily tasks that the dog is
asked to do on the farm. Points are allotted for each phase of the work
and the team of dog and handler who can do the work with the most
precision and in the time interval allowed will win the most points. The
trials are an Open competition and any breed may enter. However the only
breed represented in previous trials has been the Border Collie.
One of 13 dog breeds that
developed in Scotland, the Border Collie first appeared in the Border
country of Scotland in the 1700’s. They are generally black with white
markings, weighing 30 - 50 pounds standing about 18 inches at the
shoulder. One of their distinguishing features is that their fore legs are
often shorter than their hind legs. It is said that, "without the Border
collie there would be no sheep industry in Scotland".
The tasks incorporated into
the sheep dog trials are the basic skills needed to manage livestock. For
instance, one of the most important things that a farm dog can do is to
gather the livestock from far away hills. In the Trials this is known as
the outrun (going out in a wide circle in order to get behind the
livestock), the lift (approaching the animals in a calm but authoritative
manner so as to get them moving in the right direction) and the fetch
(bringing the livestock to the shepherd).
The next phase of trial
work involves driving the livestock away from the handler toward a
specific obstacle in a straight line. Then the dog is asked to drive the
stock to another obstacle and then finally to a pen and to help to put
them into the pen. Sometimes the dog is also asked to help divide the
livestock into two or more groups in a maneuver called a shed.
The shepherd will use voice
commands such as stand, way to me (go right), come by (go left), lay
down and that'll do to work the dogs but at a distance these commands are
translated into whistles.
Catawba Valley Scottish
Contact: Keets F. Taylor