Alberta Newspaper Group
The instincts and skills of a dog shepherding a flock of sheep through a course will be on display next month.
The Cypress Hills Sheepdog Trial takes place July 19-21 from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., with participants from the U.S. and Canada, said organizer Chris Jobe of Canine Solutions-Working Border Collies.
Many of the handlers that were here for the Canadian Sheepdog Championships last August will be participating in this event, said Jobe.
It is an opportunity to look back to a time when sheepdogs were integral to watching over sheep along with the shepherd. It is still a talent and skill that top shepherding teams enjoy participating in. The competition is based on classic courses of the kind designed in the U.K. and North America.
The dog and handler/shepherd work together to accomplish a range of tasks based on jobs required of working farm dogs, said Jobe. The dogs are often border collies who display speed, intelligence and “apply compassionate pressure” in order to move the sheep through the course.
This event takes place in 160 acres of rolling Cypress Hills at Canine Solutions – Mildred Barry’s farm.
The terrain is wide open to challenge participants, and because it is sloped it provides the ideal location for spectators to observe the dogs and sheep on the course.
Jobe says there is no entrance fee for spectators. Bring your own lawn chair, protection from the sun and refreshments.
The event’s location is: Canine Solutions 10112 RR52 Cypress County, south of Medicine Hat. To get there you go east on the Trans-Canada Highway to Dunmore and turn right at the Co-op gas station onto Eagle Butte Road. About 15 km down the road turn right onto Township Road 102. Take the fist left onto RR52 and watch for signs to the event.
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