Dear Fellow Sheepdoggers,
There are more reasons to not host a sheepdog trial than host one. Not enough sheep, no suitable trial field, no parking, too much preparation, too much out of pocket expense.
Fortunately, hosting does lessen the soul's time in purgatory and/or insures that on the next cycle of the cosmic wheel one won't reincarnate as a wool maggot or hedge fund manager.
But the very success of sheepdog trialing leads to almost universal overbooking. (viz:Bluegrass, Dave Fetterman's trial etc, etc.).
The host has several available strategies to accept more handlers: he/she may shorten the course, cut the time or extend the number of days (viz: Kingston, Bluegrass).
There are disadvantages to each of the strategies and none of them are sustainable if the number of competitors continues to rise faster than available trials.
The only present solutions to overbooking are (a) run to a standard or ( the draw. Both have their problems. Some handlers will travel hours to a trial with a dog that may slice his outrun, push them off the top and circle the drive but, the dog is a brilliant shedder and that shed is the handler's main reason for entering. Many handlers plan to travel together with their dogs but what if one gets in and the other doesn't? Often the draw is held so late the excluded handler can't enter his second choice trials on the desired weekend.
I am seeing new trials but we need more of them and we need to encourage more people to become hosts. The HA could reward trial hosts and encourage new hosts with a guideline that those who've hosted HA trials in the previous 12 months would jump the queue if there's a draw.