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Dual Sanctioning for One Trial (USBCHA and AHBA)


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#1 MagRam

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Posted 14 June 2011 - 01:41 PM

I noticed recently that an upcoming local cattle trial is being advertised as sanctioned by BOTH the USBCHA and AHBA. One run - sanctioned by both organizations. I have not seen this before and wondered if it was more common in cattle trials ? Also, wondered whether people think it is a good idea or not ?

#2 stockdogranch

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Posted 14 June 2011 - 03:20 PM

No. It's not at all common in cattle trials. I've only been to one of those (dual sanctioned--this past year), and it was a JOKE. Notice that this is judged. Out here (western US), we do NOT judge cattle trials (heck, Patrick, you know this first hand)! Our trials are points and time; only at Finals do we have any judging, and that's just outrun and lift (not that I have anything against judging per se, but judging according to USBCHA guidelines would not work, as cattle move SO differently than sheep do).

I am guessing that the trial host is doing it this way so that perhaps her students (or maybe she has a dog herself that she thinks is a cowdog) can get some points at the same time as they earn titles!

If I have nothing better to do, I just may go watch. Meanwhile, the "real" cowdog folks from the west coast (who have more money to trial than I do) will be at a trial up in Reno this weekend. Standard mounted points and time,
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#3 MagRam

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Posted 14 June 2011 - 03:36 PM

No. It's not at all common in cattle trials. I've only been to one of those (dual sanctioned--this past year), and it was a JOKE. Notice that this is judged. Out here (western US), we do NOT judge cattle trials (heck, Patrick, you know this first hand)! Our trials are points and time; only at Finals do we have any judging, and that's just outrun and lift (not that I have anything against judging per se, but judging according to USBCHA guidelines would not work, as cattle move SO differently than sheep do).

I am guessing that the trial host is doing it this way so that perhaps her students (or maybe she has a dog herself that she thinks is a cowdog) can get some points at the same time as they earn titles!

If I have nothing better to do, I just may go watch. Meanwhile, the "real" cowdog folks from the west coast (who have more money to trial than I do) will be at a trial up in Reno this weekend. Standard mounted points and time,
A


Anna I knew I would hear from you and I almost e-mailed you directly to ask the same question and also to ask if you were going. But I thought it would be interesting to see more generalized responses as well.

Yes - I know - as you well know I know - that USBCHA cattle trials are not usually "judged" - that's why I was able to be the judge - or more accurate "counter of heads through obstacles" at the veery first cattle trial I attended (you know this but others reading this likely do not).

Seems to me that the dual sanctioning creates a lot of interesting and possibly problematic scenarios. For example if the AHBA is "judged" and the USBCHA is "time and points" as would be traditional for each - then does the "judge" have to keep two score sheets for each run ?? Is the fast but off line run that hits all the obstacles the winner for USBCHA while the slow on line run that has 1 head miss an obstacle the winner for AHBA ? On the same course and the same run ??

Can a handler choose to run for only one sanctioning body ?? Is there a different strategy for the same run depending on if you want USBCHA points or AHBA titles ? How do the AHBA levels apply to USBCHA - is level 1 - novice, level 2 - PN and Level 3 - Open ??

I just wondered if this was more common than I thought and how it is handled.

#4 stockdogranch

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Posted 14 June 2011 - 04:19 PM

My guess is that this will just be judged as per AHBA (using AHBA score sheets and guidelines), since USBCHA cattle trials *can* be judged (and are, in some parts of the country, but out here we just don't take kindly to it). (The long-standing controversy amongst cattle folk between judging and points/time is as heated as the old cattle vs. sheep controversy of the "old west.") So I would think just one set of score sheets will work. Competitors should be able to run under just AHBA, or USBCHA, or both. I would also guess that Open = Level III, P/N = Level II, etc. It's interesting, though, that it states they will only allow 12 runs total, so, if any of those runs are lower classes (which I would assume there may be), then it makes for a very small Open class, and hence, few points. Which in itself is not awful, but at $65 per run, that's a lot of money to spend to compete against other breeds or whatever (and to be "judged" by someone who is clueless about cattle or the dogs that work them properly) to gain maybe one point.
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#5 jomur

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Posted 14 June 2011 - 10:00 PM

The sheepdog rules require a minimum of 10 dogs to be a sanctioned open trial.I can find no mention of a minimum in the cattledog rules.Is there a minimum?As well the subject of dual/multiple Association sanctioning was the subject of informal discussion last winter between 4 or 5 directors.No firm decisions were made but the consensus was that it shouldn't cause a problem.

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#6 stockdogranch

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Posted 14 June 2011 - 10:16 PM

The minimum number of dogs for an Open cattle class was changed from 10 to 5 a year (maybe 2?) ago. The only problems with dual sanctioning is that in some cases (such as this), the dual sanctioning "waters down" the course, the competition, the work,
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#7 Sue R

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Posted 15 June 2011 - 06:52 AM

I'd really question the motivation (someone wants USBCHA points or bragging rights and titles?) and, as Anna says, what effect it would have on the course as a test of the dogs. It sounds like taking a shortcut, especially if there are not very many entries and the time would be there (hopefully, the livestock also) to run two separate trials, each a true reflection of what they should be for their respective organizations.

I would think that if the course was truly a USBCHA course and still met any guidelines for AHBA, it wouldn't be an issue. Of course, we are all familiar with trials and courses (and livestock) that are sanctioned but really don't demonstrate any sort of "qualification" for national finals, cattle or sheep. I guess that's where people have to make a decision with their entries and their support, or not.
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#8 Liz P

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Posted 15 June 2011 - 10:37 AM

I have definitely been to AHBA trials that were on larger, more challenging fields than some USBCHA trials (those run in arenas at state fairs). The only difference is that the lower levels of organizations like AHBA, ASCA and AKC don't require much in the way of an outrun. If I am remembering the rules correctly, only level 3 comes anywhere close to being similar to USBCHA trials in terms of outrun lengths. If you ran the trial in an arena or smaller field, you cold easily combine Open and level 3. The novice classes are not sanctioned, so I guess they could choose to make them easy enough to satisfy AHBA's rules (outruns measured in feet). In that case, only the novice classes would be purposefully "dumbed down."

What would stop me from entering is the $65 fee. :blink: What do Open runs at cattle trials generally cost?

I don't understand the objection to cattle trials being judged. I would think that if a competent judge is available, that would be preferable since the best quality work would win over sloppy but fast work.

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#9 Mark Billadeau

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Posted 15 June 2011 - 11:28 AM

but judging according to USBCHA guidelines would not work, as cattle move SO differently than sheep do

In what way(s) do cows move differently than sheep especially undogged range ewes?

Mark (0 experience with working cows)

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#10 Sue R

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Posted 15 June 2011 - 11:29 AM

What would stop me from entering is the $65 fee. :blink: What do Open runs at cattle trials generally cost?


They are pricier than Open runs at sheep trials generally, and that makes sense to me when you compare cattle to sheep, their value, and so on. I think, simply said, it costs more to put on a cattledog trial - cost and value of stock, equipment needed, etc.

I don't understand the objection to cattle trials being judged. I would think that if a competent judge is available, that would be preferable since the best quality work would win over sloppy but fast work.

Anna made the point that cattle don't work "just like sheep" (in general, for both species). I have limited experience with both types of trials but I have never seen "sloppy but fast" work win a cattledog trial. Sloppy work produces sloppy results, and sloppy results don't win cattledog trials in general.

The only cattledog trials I've been to (except for one) were arena trials, although I have watched some video of field trials. The dogs that won, and that placed high in the class, were always doing calm, tidy work - and handled by quiet, capable handlers. Sloppy work *could* win anywhere with the right kind of luck, but that should be the exception and not the rule.

But, that's just my very limited experience and what happens elsewhere may differ.
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#11 stockdogranch

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Posted 15 June 2011 - 01:05 PM

if a competent judge is available

Ah, there's the rub. There are not all that many people competent enough to judge a cattle trial, and those that are, are running dogs.

best quality work would win

Yes, "best quality work" indeed, but there are not that many who understand what that phrase really means when working cattle. I think a fair amount of the resistance to judging is the fear that they will be judged according to sheep protocol--those nice straight lines and the precision that we require in sheep trials.

In what way(s) do cows move differently than sheep especially undogged range ewes?

They don't "flock"; yes, they generally will hang together, but in any random group of three (the number we run at trials, as they are expensive), you are WAY more apt to get three independent thinkers (going in three different directions) than you would ever get with sheep. It really is a whole lot more about the luck of the draw than with sheep, even range ewes; I find even range ewes to be remarkably consistent and even across the flock. And, yes, while range ewes can and do have a bit more "attitude" than the home flock, and can be more resistant to moving for some little black and white dog (stare the dog down, stomp, even put their heads down and come at the dog), cattle are, generally, WAY moreso. They are very quick to figure out if a dog is weak and to take advantage of the weak dog, and will put their heads down and just run over a dog if they think they can get away with it. They will string way out when the dog is moving them, either in a single file kind of line, or sideways. The dog needs to do a lot more lateral movement behind them to keep them together. Even if your calves are mostly behaving (staying more or less together), say, on a drive leg, you will do way more tucking in--one will always be trying to get out ahead of the others, or one will kind of keep trying to mosey toward the exhaust or the setout, so rather than the dog moving a "packet" of sheep that more or less move as a unit, the dog is working to keep three individuals together while negotiating them around the course. The dog needs to come farther forward onto the shoulder to effect movement. The dog absolutely must have both a head and heel bite, and must be ready to use them, but may not actually ever need to use them (in theory). The stock must understand, however, that the dog has those tools in his/her toolbag, and is quite prepared to use them. Generally, the dog needs to be quite a bit closer in to the stock than with sheep--sheep's bubble is usually much larger. Cattle also kick. Often they need a heel bite to encourage them to move, and they are looking to kick that little dog that nips their heels. The dog needs to know how to hit a heel without getting hurt. And if the dog does get kicked, it needs to just keep working.

So, rather than just moving a group of stock around the course, the dog is moving three individuals, working to keep them together first, and negotiating the course as well.

Cattle are also more about the "flow" of your course--if you have too many changes of direction--first north, then south, then north again, etc., they reach a point where they just don't want to play anymore. They will either just run off, and nothing--not dog, horse, person, etc. can stop them, or they will just refuse to move altogether, and sometimes no amount of gripping can change that.

Cattle are also way less inclined to come toward the handler, so we don't stand at a post and bring them round us. We often have a post from which to send the dog, but then we can move anywhere behind an imaginary line that runs across the field through that post (called the fetch line). We might need to bring the stock around the post, but we don't have to stand there, as in most cases, the stock would not come that close to the person. So we are usually way off to the side, or way off in the back.

Yes, nice calm, quiet work will always win the day, and there is no such thing as fast and sloppy that will win. But in general the dog needs to be quite a bit more aggressive with the stock overall.

Cattle trials out here have been running $100-$125 per dog, per run for YEARS. Those are USBCHA well attended trials, with good, tough competition. We do a series in Wyoming every summer, where we can get 7 or more trials in 2 weeks; those trials are not as expensive--this year Open is $65 or $70.

Ok, that's all my brain can think of for now. I need to get to work,
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#12 Sue R

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Posted 15 June 2011 - 01:28 PM

I tried to cover most of the points you mention, Anna, but you sure did it much more clearly and understandably than I did. That's why I'm glad I never posted my reply!
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#13 Liz P

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Posted 15 June 2011 - 01:28 PM

Two runs with sheep. For ease of argument I am only including the first part of the run.

Dog A: Lovely outrun and lift, the sheep trot down the course but are not panicked. They made the fetch gates and arrive at the handler's feet relaxed but respecting the dog.

Dog B: Outrun is tight, the top is sliced. As a result, the sheep bolt at full speed down the field. All the sheep go through the fetch gates, but when they reach the handler's feet they are panting hard and clearly stressed.

In a point and time trial, dog B would win. I've seen and heard of similar scenarios at cattle trials.

I was shown a video of several runs at a cattle trial. The winning run was the fastest, but not the cleanest. I would gladly take the lower placing dog over the winner. The winning dog was running circles around the cattle, they went way off course several times and the dog seemed to have no feel at all for the stock. Several lower placing dogs completed the course more slowly, but the cattle looked relaxed, moved at a nice pace along straight lines and the dogs clearly knew how to read their stock. The dog who won was under control, but I would have called that work sloppy compared to some of the other dogs. (As opposed to work that is so sloppy that it is ineffective.)

Would a cattle producer choose the quick dog who ran the cattle or the slower but still effective dog that kept the cattle calm?

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#14 juliepoudrier

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Posted 15 June 2011 - 01:37 PM

Mark,
I've always likened working cattle to moving barges or tankers compared to the skiffs or john boats (maybe even speed boats, lol!) that are a group of sheep. Anna's point about sheep sticking together vs. cattle not doing so is the other big difference. So you have three calves generally trying to go in three different directions (each individual taking full advantage of the situation when the dog turns off one to go gather back another) and they don't respond as quickly when the dog is in position to, say, turn them. So whereas you can keep a group of sheep on a pretty tight line, moving cattle along that same line is going to look a lot sloppier (from a sheep trialer's POV) because of the nature of the cattle themselves. I'm not saying that they're slow, but rather that they're slower to react so the dog not only works closer, but the flanks, etc., appear more exaggerated before the cattle actually respond. Honestly, I think it would be rather difficult to judge lines if you're running cattle on a typical sheep course.

That said, I think one can judge the outrun and lift and that cattle dogs could be held to a judged standard there. I haven't observed any cattle finals, so I don't know how the judging actually goes for that part of the run. If the judging ends up being full points as long as the dog gets behind the stock without crossing over, then I supposed it would be just as easy to not judge the outruns in the way they're judged at sheepdog trials, but that would be up to the folks who run in cattle trials and organize the finals I suppose. I know at one cattle trial I ran in, there were posts most of the way down the field and if your dog ran to the outside of the posts you got full points, and if it ran to the inside (which would have been a tight outrun by any standard) you automatically lost 5 points. The placing of the posts is rather arbitrary, I suppose, but could alleviate the judging issue if folks don't like having outruns judged at cattle trials.

My biggest concern about this whole thing is how USBCHA finds out if a trial is dual-sanctioned. Wasn't there a sheepdog trial (Grey's Summit maybe?) that tried to do that (with AKC)? Realistically speaking, any trial held in an arena could probably meet AKC/AHBA/ASCA standards, so the question becomes whether USBCHA wants to sanction trials that could be dual-sanctioned with organizations whose goals are antithetical to our own. But then, maybe it's not really an issue for trials that are typically held in arenas anyway. I don't know.

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#15 juliepoudrier

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Posted 15 June 2011 - 01:42 PM

Liz,
I think there will always be instances where the animals are raced through the course and the handler/dog team still win, for whatever reason. But I also wonder if the teams who treat the stock with more respect wouldn't also win more consistently over time. I really don't know the answer, but in your example at least (with sheep), it's entirely possible that the B sheep would be so rattled by their treatment on the lift and fetch that they would make the team pay later at the shed and pen (I've seen that happen often enough).

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#16 Mark Billadeau

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Posted 15 June 2011 - 02:01 PM

Anna,

Thanks for explaining the differences between cows and sheep.

Why can't the movement of cows through a course be judged as opposed to just making or missing panels? Sheep judges have varying widths of alleys they expect the groups to stay within before points are deducted and as long as the judging is consistent won't the better team win? Isn't it less stressful for the cows to move calmly in a straight path as opposed to a zig-zag one; shouldn't that type of workmanship be rewarded (and bred)?

Mark


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#17 Liz P

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Posted 15 June 2011 - 03:29 PM

Why can't the movement of cows through a course be judged as opposed to just making or missing panels?


Yet again someone else manages to say what I wanted to, but with much fewer words.

I would like to see the answer to this question from cattle people.

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#18 juliepoudrier

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Posted 15 June 2011 - 03:38 PM

Anna did answer that question, here:

They don't "flock"; yes, they generally will hang together, but in any random group of three (the number we run at trials, as they are expensive), you are WAY more apt to get three independent thinkers (going in three different directions)


and here:

--one will always be trying to get out ahead of the others, or one will kind of keep trying to mosey toward the exhaust or the setout, so rather than the dog moving a "packet" of sheep that more or less move as a unit, the dog is working to keep three individuals together while negotiating them around the course.


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#19 Sue R

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Posted 15 June 2011 - 03:48 PM

Thank you, Julie, for putting Anna's explanations together.

I was just thinking that a "typical" flock of sheep moves rather like a flock of birds or a school of fish, almost like an organic unit. Cattle? No. They'd just as soon string out side-to-side or indian-style (I know, not PC, but what we called it when we were kids). They may act as a group but a much less cohesive group, with any animal willing to make its own path at any time. And while they may be comfortable close to people (some are, some aren't), if they are not your cattle, they don't tend to even consider the handler as a safe zone - even if they are your cattle, they may very well not want to be within a reasonable distance from you (as pointed out earlier by Anna). The dogs often have to work in closer than with sheep, and the handler further away (depending on the cattle and sheep in question).

I personally am in favor of judging outrun, lift, and fetch just to maintain the core of what the Border Collie does very well - but ranchers and farmers need to be able to get the job done efficiently and with reduced stress, and picture-perfect, straight lines and tight turns may not be the best way to accomplish that in a real-life situation.

JMO, and a very interesting discussion. Thanks, all!
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#20 Debbie Meier

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Posted 15 June 2011 - 03:56 PM

It's easy to have cows decide to amble in a straight line just past the drive or fetch panels, much harder to get them to change course and make the panels. I don't often see cows bend around the course like sheep do, line them up and they tend to go so long as the dog does not stop them or the panel does not divert them. I will take the dog that can hold them into the space of the panels over the one that lets them just walk on by.

Dog A: Lovely outrun and lift, the sheep trot down the course but are not panicked. They made the fetch gates and arrive at the handler's feet relaxed but respecting the dog.

Dog B: Outrun is tight, the top is sliced. As a result, the sheep bolt at full speed down the field. All the sheep go through the fetch gates, but when they reach the handler's feet they are panting hard and clearly stressed.

In a point and time trial, dog B would win. I've seen and heard of similar scenarios at cattle trials.



We talk about this scenario all the time, don't forget that there is more to the course, more often then not that person who got lucky and won the first part of the course has a wreck when the dog needs to carefully position and control the stock. Saw it this year at Finals, the dog that allowed the cows to stay calm and gave them a chance to think about going into the obstacles was faster then the dog that was leaning on them. A slice at the top and pushiness typically equals to a slice and pushiness on every flank and at each obstacle. Cows get milling and wanting out, that same dog will slice when the cow goes to escape causing the cow to run harder vs. the dog that breaks out a bit wide and gives the cow the opportunity to stop.

Some also has to do with how the cows are broke. We prefer the type of cattle that we had at Finals, they were exposed to a trailer and a few obstacles and were expected to yield easily to a correct dog. Dogs that were aggressive, pushy and impatient were on their own, some taken for runs to the far end of the field.

We spoke to the set out crew many times over the weekend, they could predict which cows were going to give dogs problems based on how they moved off the horses and said that they soon realized that dogs that handled the cattle carefully and were big on control did not have problems with those cows, the dogs where as the incorrect working dogs that had not natural feel for control often times wrecked..


I have no problem with judged cattledog trials so long as the are judged properly, this past spring we went to one in Missouri, the handlers that we are trialing with are known for running point/time trials, once upon a time they could not compete at judged trials. That is no longer the case, many have improved the handling and how their dogs work finding that it pays off at many of the point/time trials. Many of us that are at the top of the point/time placings were at the top of the judged trial placings also, much to the disappointment of those that were there that are known for talking down about point/time trials and the quality of work.
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