Soldier Hollow Sheep Dog Trials
The past couple of weeks have been a little hectic, and a bit odd. We went to Utah for my sons wedding the middle of August, and ended up staying there rather than go north again. We had planned on going to Round Top Texas to take some big furniture pieces for a show there. Then Harvey happened. So we went to plan B, part of which was to do the art show portion of the Soldier Hollow Classic sheep dog trials in Utah. I have always wanted to see the sheep dog trials, and despite the fact I lived within an hour, I never went. The chance to go there was too much to pass up, and the added bonus of selling some photos was good too.
These dogs are amazing!!! So smart, and so agile.
The sheep had just been brought in off the range, so they were essentially wild and not use to dogs, or being herded around. So it was challenging for the dogs, but also more “real life” herding.
If the dogs nipped at the sheep, they got a no score on that run.
Each dog and handler was racing the clock, and had specific tasks the dog needed to accomplish with the sheep. The handler uses a variety of different whistles, and also verbal commands to tell the dog what to do. It was like steering the dogs, through this variety of whistles. They had to bring them down off the hill, through a gate, then around a post, back up the hill and through two more gates. They also had to separate two sheep, then bring them back together and try to get all 5 into a small pen. The sheep did not want to go in the pen so that was probably the hardest.
Both of these teams were able to get the sheep in the pen. Such an impressive thing to see.
The finals took place on Monday, and was even harder. More sheep, more gates, more expectations.
It was really hot the whole 4 days, in the 90’s. There was a pool that the dogs could jump in as soon as they were done with the run.
This border collie was sitting with his person in the stands watching. Really watching too. I had to wonder what he was thinking, he was that focused on the dogs on the field.
It’s obvious they love what they do though.
There was also a splash dog competition. We were set up next to this, so that was fun to see everyday.
This dog rocked it. He caught the toy, and flew high.
I had a great time watching all the dogs. Wasn’t much for sales at the show, but everything else was great. This is a video I put together of the closing ceremonies.
We packed up the show and left Monday night. Drove most of the way to Jackson Hole, spent the night beside the road, and got to Jackson Tuesday morning. Al dropped me and the trailer off, and went back to Utah. He is picking up his cargo trailer full of furniture and driving back Wednesday morning. When Texas seemed a bad idea after Harvey hit, he called the woman that runs the Western Design conference to see if she had last minute space. She had just the evening before had someone cancel and was wondering how on earth she would fill the space. Apparently we were meant to be in Jackson Hole, and not Texas. Obviously this all suits us perfectly. It’s a crazy driving schedule, and Al is pretty tired. But hopefully the show this weekend will be amazing, and well worth all the effort.
The good news is, I hope to have lots of wildlife shots to share with you guys again. It’s really smoky from the fires, but that actually makes a pretty nice light for photography.
Life is strange, and mostly we just have to go with it.