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What's expected in Nursery or Novice Trials?

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I've never participated in a trial before, and I'm looking forward to trying it this year, but I need to know what will be expected of my dog and myself in a nursery or novice trial? Where do I find out what the rules are?

 

Thanks for your help!

 

Rachel & Pete

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Nursery rules can be found here. http://www.usbcha.org/assoc/rules_sheep.html#SECTION 31

 

Nursery trials are typically a shortened Open course without the shed. Not unusual to have a 200 - 300 yard outrun with a somewhat sizeable drive. Folks that set up courses are attempting to challenge the young dogs (3 years and younger) while making the course manageable.

 

 

Novice trials are not sanctioned by the USBCHA nor are they regulated by anyone so you will not find official rules regarding them.

 

Novice courses are typically 100 -125 yards in outrun, back to the handler's post and then to the pen. Some Novice courses will have a short, one legged drive. Often no fetch panels are in place and the courses are set up to allow success for inexperienced dogs and handlers. The Novice course set up is completely at the discretion of the Trial Host, Judge, and Course Director.

 

dave

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Dave said it all. There's a HUGE difference between Novice and Nursery. If you have not trialed, and if your dog is not a young dog fully trained for trialing, then you want to start off in Novice.

As he said, Novice is not sanctioned so there are no rules per se, but all the common sense rules of good stock management and good dog handling apply. If your run is falling apart, leave the post, go help your dog and end your run. Never hesitate to stop your own run if/when things go bad. It's a learning experience and we all start there.

Most of all, if you can, find a couple trials to watch, first, and get a feel for how things go. You'll learn a lot watching and talking to other, more experienced handlers.

Best of luck and enjoy the journey. :)

~ Gloria

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Yes. Gloria came much closer to answering your question than I did. Really, the only thing "expected" of your dog is that it treat the livestock well... "expected" of you is to treat your livestock and your dog well.

 

After that, nobody will be surprised by anything that might happen. Whatever it might be, I can assure you, it has happened before.

 

Figure out what your local courses tend to require and then be sure that the trial isn't the first time you are attempting those requirements.

 

Answers to questions and help for those that need it are most abundant at trials. Don't be afraid to ask.

 

dave

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As others said, if you are trialing for the first time, you would want to start with the Novice classes. Nursery is pretty demanding, and nearly all dogs and handlers running in Nursery will have gotten there after running in Novice.

 

While it's true that Novice classes are not sanctioned by the USBCHA, they are often sanctioned by state or regional border collie or stockdog associations, which may have rules describing what is required in the different Novice classes. Here is an example: Northeast Border Collie Association (NEBCA)

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Thank you all for your help and advice. I am planning on going to watch several trials this Spring, including the Bluegrass. Here in NE Ohio, the only trials we have are AHBA trials, or AKC. I'm really not interested in the AKC trials, but I am considering the AHBA trials, which have taken place at one of the farms where I am training with my dog. But, when I have talked about trialing in USBCHA sanctioned trials, no one seems to know much about them. Plus, any of these trials are a good six to eight hour drive from here. Well, it looks like I am going to have to hit the road and get to the places where these trials are taking place!

 

Thanks again,

 

Rachel & Pete

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Rachel,

Starting your trialing career at AHBA trials isn't necessarily a bad thing, as long as you view it as a first step and not the end goal (that is, train for what you really want to do, USBCHA type trials, but get yourself and your dog used to trialing at AHBA trials if that's what's close by). You'll probably outgrow the AHBA trials fairly quickly, but that doesn't mean you can't get your feet wet there. Just do so with an understanding of the differences between what they are and what your ultimate goal is so that you are always moving toward that final goal.

 

J.

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I went to the link provided by Eileen, that was super informative. I browsed youtube last night to see dogs doing a novice course (I am a definate visual person) and I saw afew that the sheep did not go thru the "panels"..Im assuming driving thru the panels (which were directly in from of the post, so the dog drove the sheep thru the panels as he was fetching the animals to his handler?? am I correct?) is something all trials do? so those videos I saw, perhaps the dog lost points for this part?

 

Do-overs are not allowed, whats done is done type of thing?

 

I also noticed during the penning, the handler walked to the pen, sheep inbetween them and the dog..based on what Im reading, this is considered acceptable, on THIS part of the course only?

 

We are still months off of even entertaining this type of thing..but seeing the videos on youttube made it feel alittle less intimidating and more attainable?

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Generally on all courses the dog picks the sheep up from the set out and fetches them through the fetch panels (which are in a direct line from the set out to the handler's post), so if the dog is fetching correctly directly to the handler, the sheep should go through the panels. The only exception to this would be if the course had a dog-leg fetch, but you generally wouldn't find that in the novice class. Sometimes the fetch is so short that fetch panels aren't practical, and I've set sheep for the novice class where the sheep are held right at or just behind the fetch panels, so obviously the panels don't really play a role in such cases.

 

If the sheep miss the panels on the fetch, you lose points. You aren't allowed to go back and try to get it right (what's done is done). On the drive, it's a matter of perspective, but if the sheep don't break the plane created by the panels, the handler can get the dog to move them back over (if they're off line) and try to make the panels, but in all cases, once the sheep have passed the plane (think of it like a line drawn through the panels and out to each side), then you just lose points and keep on to the next obstacle.

 

As for the pen, here in this part of the country, the novice-novice class usually includes a wear, which is when the handler walks along with the sheep following and the dog keeping the sheep to the handler (in the northeast, an assisted drive is allowed, in which the handler would walk with or behind the dog while the dog drives the sheep). In that case, the handler would "lead" the sheep to the pen. In the upper classes, the handler must stay at the post until all phases of work up to the pen are completed. So the sheep have to make or miss the last drive panel before the handler can leave the post and head to the pen. In the case in the open class where the shed occurs before the pen, then the handler generally has to stay at the post until the sheep enter the shedding ring. After shedding the handler has the dog regather the sheep in the shedding ring and then bring them to the pen. That would be the only other scenario where the handler would be walking ahead of the sheep to the pen.

 

Again, much depends on what part of the country you're in as to what to expect on the novice-novice course. I've seen courses where the handler sends the dog from the pen, the dog fetches to the handler at the pen, and then the sheep are penned, but I think in most cases the class would include some sort of short wear/drive after the fetch and before going to the pen.

 

J.

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Julie, thank you so much..that explained alot. I am in Texas and browsed the TX Sheep and Cattle Dog site abit last night..but that explanation you just wrote out helped me visualize alot better. Sounds like I may need to go and watch afew in my area to see how a novice novice class is run in my area.

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Thank you, Julie, for this detailed explanation! I was wondering if I would be able to "lead" the sheep to the pen, with the dog following, driving from behind.

 

I believe that I am going to be entering Pete and myself in a couple of AHBA trials locally, and also getting a membership in the NEBCA. I will be going to watch trials in PA & NY this summer, and, depending how thing go, possibly entering in the "Novice/Novice" trials. I am really looking forward to this. Should be fun!

 

Thank you so much!

 

Rachel & Pete

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Rachel, We will be having a novice trial (USBCHA style) second weekend in July north of Toronto. About 3 hours from Buffalo; Check out www.ontariobordercollieclub.com Spectators are welcome; Shepherds Crook in Lorneville

 

In AHBA, the HTD course is the most similar, with the outrun in HTDIII and the wear of the HTDI; In novice trials you are generally allowed to go through the panels, but not in AHBA; AHBA is a good starting ground, Welcome aboard!

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Rachel, because the finals are on the east coast this year the trials are filling up to overflowing. Even people who send in their entries on opening day are being wait listed. If you are interested in running in a trial you will have to enter on or before opening day and plan on possibly not getting in. Some people, myself included, are entering multiple trials on the same weekend. That way, if you get wait listed at one trial but into another, you can drop your entry for the wait listed trial and go to the one you got into.

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Yes, even the novice classes, and in some cases they are limiting or even eliminating novice classes altogether to make more time for Open. They are also asking us to choose either Nursery or a novice class instead of running both at some trials. So far, every single trial I've entered has wait listed people who entered on opening day.

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Yes, there is talk about how to put on more trials so that everyone gets a shot.

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Rachel, where in NE Ohio are you?

 

I'm a Cleveland native, and will be moving to Cincinnati this fall, with my two stockdogs, to return to school. I'm certainly not a trainer, and I'm not even a very good trial handler, but I've been to & entered a lot of them (glutton for punishment, I guess). My boys are used to working sheep nearly every day, and I hope to continue in some respect in OH (obviously not with my own flock- moving 100 sheep across the country isn't practical). If we're ever at the same trial, I'd be happy to explain things to you, if you still have questions. The stockdog community is really friendly, so don't be afraid to ask your fellow spectators.

 

Don't worry about being perfect at your first trial, either. In my first nov/nov run, I ran the sheep over the judge. Literally. I still managed to make it to Open with that dog!

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More small trials won't get you a shot at an east coast finals (small trials don't offer enough points); you'll need to get into and do well at the large trials.

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But for those of us who have no interest in qualifying this year, it would allow us to still participate in the sport.

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Welcome to our sport when the finals are on this coast. The number of trials needed to not have a wait list far exceeds what is possible. Your best bet is to push for more trials that are not running open.

 

We are not doing our novice weekend this year; the decision had nothing to do with the finals it was all about needing time this spring to get projects done around the farm.

 

The finals this year will be 1hr from our home and we're not going; we're too busy with the farm to trial enough to get enough points.

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I agree with Mark. This is the way it is when finals are in the east. For people not interested in qualifying the options are to travel farther afield to find trials not oversubscribed or as Mark notes, encourage more novice trials to take the pressure off the trials that offer all classes. This is once every three years, so things are likely to ease up some next season. But in the meantime, if new hosts have gotten their feet wet holding novice trials, perhaps they'd be willing to add an open trial the next time around, even if just a small open trial.

 

You're right, though, Liz, that if some small trials were offered, maybe with all classes but a small open class (20-25 open runs max), handlers seeking points aren't likely to fill them because there won't be enough points available to make a difference.

 

Are you running in open now?

 

J.

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Wait lists are standard at just about every trial in Colorado every year, due largely to people from out east coming west to provide their dogs the opportunity to trial on range sheep.

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