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.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

My Conversation with Richard Millichap

Richard and ##Dewi Tweed

Richard Millichap graciously agreed to answer some questions for me after winning this year's International Supreme Championship with ##Dewi Tweed, a son of my Lad that I imported from Rich in 2006. I asked the questions, Rich's wife, Lisa, did the prodding, and Richard took time from his busy farm and basking in the glow of his huge win to answer me. I appreciate it very much.

Twice before he has been runner up, and I wasn't the only one who knew it was just a matter of time before he earned top spot. He was reserve once with Ben, Tweed's grandfather, and once with Taddymoor Cap, a Ben son and older full brother to Taddymoor Mirk, another dog I imported from Rich in 2008. Hendre-Owen is the South Wales hill farm where Rich lives with his wife, Lisa and 2 daughters, Carly and Leah. In addition, the farm is shared with his parents, Donald and Bette. If you ever get the chance to visit, you will not find a more beautiful spot or a warmer welcome, and of course, the world class sheepdogs are a nice added bonus.

1. I know you were born and raised on Hendre-Owen Farm. How long has your family been farming there? My family has lived at Hendre-Owen since 1939.

2. Will you tell us a little bit about the farm please?
Hendre owen is a large hill farm of approximately 800 acres. We stock beef cattle and sheep.

3. Will you please give us an idea of what a typical day is like for your dogs working on the farm?
There is no depending what I can be doing. Depends on time of year etc. Spring and late summer and autumn is the busiest time for the dogs. Dec to feb would be the quietest times for the dogs. The dogs are out everyday. They have some work everyday. Spring involves working alongside myself with the lambing shifting ewes and lambs to different parts of the farm. Summer involves the big gathers for shearing, earmarking, etc. Early autumn gathering takes place to wean lambs, lambs and ewes for sales, tailing and cleaning and general shepherding duties.

4. You've competed successfully at the International with 3 generations of dogs, patriarch and Res. Champ, Ben, son and daughter, Res. Champ Taddymoor Cap and Taddymoor Jen and grandson, Champion ##Dewi Tweed. You could have won with any of the 4, but which one is your favorite and why?
I feel very lucky to have had the 4 dogs, each one special in their own way. All loyal and determined. Ben is special because he was the first of the generation to bring me success. Cap was excellent and was consistently good at home and trialling away from home. Jen is reliable and refined and a pleasure to handle. Tweed has done so well at such a young age and I am sure he has not yet reached his full potential. its difficult to choose a favourite as they are all special in their own way.

5. What youngsters do you have coming up behind your current open trial dogs, Jen and ##Tweed and how far along are they?
I have a young 18 month old bitch who I feel may have the ability to achieve good results. And a 6 month old daughter of tweed that looks promising but has a long way to go.

6. I bought ##Tweed's sire, Lad, from you in 2007, and you told me at that time, that he was the hardest dog you had ever trained up to that point. How are he and ##Tweed alike and how are they different?
Lad and Tweed would be alike in the way that they are always coming forward onto their sheep, and both took a bit longer to settle than the average young dog. Tweed would be more flexible at distance than lad.

7. 6 months later I bought Taddymoor Mirk from you. How did I get so lucky?
You got Mirk because I was in the fortunate position of having other dogs around me (Cap, Jen and Tweed) at that time, although I do sometimes regret parting with him. You were a very lucky lady with me allowing you to take him home. In my opinion Mirk also has what it takes to win an international.

8. At the Welsh National this year, you and ##Tweed were the last to qualify and make the Welsh team. What did you make of your chances going into the Supreme trial?
In the welsh national I was positioned joint 8/9 on same points with tweed and jen. I had confidence in both dogs. Although I was placed 15th in the qualifying with him I felt confident. I'd been here in this position before with Cap in Ireland and was runner up in the Supreme and so was Bobby Dalziel 15 in the qualifying in Margam in 1989 and was Supreme Champion that year.

9. I've seen your dogs work at Hendre-Owen Farm, and after reading about the Supreme course with 800 yard rather blind double gathers, it seems like your dog was perfectly suited for it. Were you worried about the big gathers and how did you feel watching ##Tweed run out on both?
To be honest my dogs are used to big gathers so were well prepared for a course like the one at Penrith. They are used to having to think for themselves on some occasions. After watching him outrun on the first gather and getting there without a command just gave me more confidence.

10. Your mom and dad, Donald and Bette, your wife Lisa, and daughters Carly and Leah are your biggest fans and your family is extremely close. How have they influenced you in dog trialing and how did they help you become champion?
My family are my greatest supporters. Always encouraging me to go on. My father is an extra pair of eyes from behind and a steadying influence. Lisa, Carly and Leah are always encouraging me and behind me all the way. My mother has pleasure in watching me competing and all my family are proud of what I have achieved through my own hard work.

After the interview, I talked to Richard about the possibility of him coming over to judge our National Finals. Not only is he a supremely talented hand, but I have run under him, and his knowledgable judging is fair and straight-forward. He was polite enough to say "thank you, I'll think about it." Unfortunately I am not expecting him since the events have conflicting dates and he clearly has another Supreme Champioship squarely in his sights.

No comments:

Post a Comment