Orion Passes His HCT
January 2004

Just wanted to let you all know, Orion passed the second leg of his HCT yesterday! For those new to this, HCT stands for Herding Capability Test, and it's the first title we need to earn on our way to be recognized by the American Herding Breed Association.

We arrived at Keepstone Farm at 7:30 am, as I had not pre registered him. I wasn't sure if he was going to be ready. Even Susan, our instructor, said that it would be a gamble. Well, the gamble paid off! His trial didn't start until 3 pm, so we were in for a long wait. The club's secretary asked me if I would be a Scribe for them. The Scribe walks with the judge during each run, and writes down the scores for each dog. The judge I was working with judged the HRD or Herding Ranch Dog, which may be what our 3 Shilohs, who already passed the JHD, may be going to next. I say may, because it's a very difficult run. The handler and dog have 5 sheep and they have to take them out of the pen, put them through a shoot, through a bridge, take them to graze and walk away, then come back and pick the sheep up, go around a cone, put them through two gates, back through the bridge again, into a pen where the handler has to remove a ribbon that's attached to one of the sheep, and finally, repen the sheep. Whew! That was a lot of work for them! And they only get 15 minutes to complete the run. So, I don't know if our dogs will be going into that training or something a little simpler. But, after walking that field with the judge numerous times, I was exhausted!

I took breaks between Scribing, and took Orion for long walks. Still, he was pretty wired when we first entered the pen. Orion ran straight into the middle of our 3 sheep and split them, which is a no no. We had made a few passes when one of the sheep fell down. Orion had not touched it, but this poor sheep just went down and wasn't getting up, no matter what. So, our judge had me put Orion into a sit. Orion got stubborn on me and didn't want to sit. The judge, Mary Alice, said "cookie" to Orion, held her hands in front of his nose, and raised them above his head, and down went Orion's rear, right into the sit. Then, she called Orion to her, and he went right into her arms. It was amazing! Then, Mary Alice took Orion's collar, walked him over to the sheep, who was still laying down, and had him smell her. Orion actually licked her face as Mary Alice was stroking her! I was amazed! His expression was so funny! Like, "get up, what are you doing laying down? I'm supposed to be chasing you!" Mary Alice said she went ahead and passed Orion, because we showed we were doing it right towards the end. Plus, I had Orion under control as when we first went into the pen I put Orion in the middle of the pen into a Sit, Wait, and he held it until I released him! Boy, was I surprised he did! I've been working very hard on that one! But, the important thing is we passed!

So, now we have to wait until the end of March, when we're going to be resuming our training. The farm is one hour away from my house, over a mountain and into the valley. The roads get pretty treacherous in bad weather. I don't want to risk it for Orion and I. So, in the meantime, we're going to take some obedience classes and really practice our "LIE DOWN's! (That's what the handlers are constantly yelling at their dogs as they herd the sheep)



Please contact the webmaster with questions about this site.
Design Copyright © Creative Office Solutions. All rights reserved.
Web hosting provided by Madden Software Service.

updated: 1/28/10