The Real Time Canine II

After spending 2 years writing the Real Time Canine, the adventure continues with The Real Time Canine II. Read along as I look for just the right puppy to continue the experience. After false starts with Tim and Jed, I am currently training young Tam, and Spot, which are both off to a strong start. Please visit the RTC II to read about training sessions as they occur.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Soldier Hollow, 2007

We had the most international field so far this year at SoHo and that made it even more fun than usual. We had handlers from South Africa, Scotland, Norway, Holland, Switzerland and Italy. Oh yeah, and Canada, but since I consider us a North American group, I don't really count them as International. Ian Brownlie brought Bess, his 5 year old 2005 Scottish National Champion, and Jill, a 2 year old bitch that is the 2007 Scottish nursery champion and an exceptionally talented young dog. He made the finals with Jill and to watch such a young dog put forth great effort was a joy. Ian followed us to Meeker. He is a nice chap to have around and a very clever handler. Ron Schnoeke was over from Holland as was Johan Beelie. Both brought their wives who, interestingly, spoke better english than their husbands and I enjoyed the exchange with them very much. Henrik Neilson brought the whole family, including wife and young son. He was the only one of these three who made the finals, but all ran better than you might expect considering how different everything was for them. Not to mention crating the dogs for 18 hours, then jumping them out in 80+ degree heat at 6,000' altitude and expecting their best. It's amazing to me just how adaptable our dogs are. Jaran Knive from Norway is a highly respected and very successful European handler. He's 30ish I would guess, dresses funny and is not overly friendly. I never spoke to him and did not see him speak to anyone else except one other European handler and his very pretty, very young, very blonde girlfriend. He went to the post in shorts and a t-shirt with horizontal black and white stripes. He looked like he should be poling a boat through a Venetian canal or a golfer, depending on your point of view, and he didn't run very well at the trial.
Faansie Basson from South Africa and his gracious wife, El Marie joined us for the second time, and for the second time Faansie made the finals with very talented, very well trained dogs. His win of the first qualifying trial came early in the day and he made it look easy, which it was not. Faansie and El Marie are lovely folks and we enjoy them immensely. It was wonderful to have them back trialing with us and I forgot how much I like them until I saw them again. They too went on to Meeker with us and from there, to the Irish International Supreme before going back home to South Africa. I hope they come back to run with us sooner than later.

My favorites, and the all-around most likeable guys, were Alberto Stern from Switzerland and Patrick Palmeri from Italy who are shown with me at the Meeker handlers dinner in the picture above. In spite of the fact that Patrik could not speak one word of English we had a great time with these two. Alberto more than made up for it by being fluent in at least 5 languages and interpreted for Patrik when gesticulating and miming didn't work. What a pleasure to have these two around and I hope they're back among us soon. No matter how they ran, they remained steadfastly upbeat. At Meeker Alberto found success and made the finals. Patrik entered the "for fun" arena trial held at the fairgrounds on Saturday night and came third. We were thrilled for him and he put on quite a show cutting out 3 head from a flock of 30 or so and driving them through 2 sets of gates to the pen. It's a hoot and organizer and trial committee memeber, Bruce Clatterbaugh, said next year there will be an open bar to go along with the festivities. Oh dear!

Soldier Hollow is a lot of fun and I consider it the best party of the year. It's not a big field, but it's tricky and the yearling, replacement ewes are big and strong and tough, tough, tough. The usual suspects ran hot and won this year. Beverly Lambert and Amanda Milliken were bunking together in Bev's RV and because they won just about everything, and because the trial pays like a slot machine, we referred to them as "the rich twins." Bev says this is the last year for her wildly successful Pippa and I made a point to watch what was one of her last competitive runs. It was great to see her finish so strong and I hope she goes on to the National Finals and kicks ass. As far as I'm concerned she won it last year even if the judges put her second, and if any dog deserves the title of national champion, it's Pippa.

The weather was so hot, the crowds were huge, the pomp and circumstance was in place and the hosts, Mark and Dina Petersen and the venue manager, Howard Peterson, did it again. The trial was a tremendous success. I recongnize what a huge, year-long effort is put forth to give us this $20,000 sheepdog trial and I appreciate it very much. For all the scores and results, please visit

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