A Step Back In Time. A revival of a century-old sport is making its debut in Cypress County. Short video preview Introduction: Imagine relaxing in a field in the late summer sunshine, the sweet smell of alfalfa hay in the air, along with a hint of something delicious to eat. The sounds of neighbourly conversations and children’s laughter rises and falls around you and then the swells of excitement ripples through the crowd. An old and magical sport is unfolding before your eyes, and you find yourself cheering at something you may have never expected to find exciting: a group of sheep making their way into a small pen. The gate closes, a whistle splits the air, and a Border Collie proudly accepts her praise due, as spectators break into a spontaneous applause.
The Cypress Hills Sheepdog Trial will provide spectators the opportunity to step back in time. Sheepdog trials originated in Britain and New Zealand in the late 1800s as a way for shepherds to show off their talents of their canine partners, and the sport has surged in popularity in the 21st century. Top sheepherding teams from across North America will participate in the trial.
Setting: Set on over 160 acres of rolling Cypress Hills at Canine Solutions, Mildred Barry’s farm. The trial promises to entertain, educate and captivate audiences. The competition is based on classic courses designed in the United Kingdom and North America and will be set on hilly, wide-open terrain that will challenge the contestants and a sloped edge creates a natural amphitheatre for spectators. There is no herding event that embraces the history and beauty of this sport quite like this.
Competition: In competitions, handler and dog work together to complete a series of tasks based on jobs required of working farm dogs. Competing sheepdogs are frequently Border Collies because of their speed, intelligence and ability to apply compassionate pressure to move sheep. Participating dogs and their handlers come from a wide range of experience and abilities. Some dogs are full–time farm workers; some are pets that have been trained purely for the sport. Regardless of the dog’s background, each handler’s expectation is the same: that dogs handle the sheep in a calm, efficient, compassionate manner through the set course.
Details: Friday Saturday Sunday July 19-20-21 7:00 am to 5:00 pm
Where: Canine Solutions Cypress County
General Admission: FREE Bring tent chairs refreshment.
Location: From Medicine Hat: go East on the Trans Canada Hwy to Dunmore. Turn right at Co-op gas station onto Eagle Butte Road. Go South 15 km and turn right onto TWP 102. Take first left onto RR 52. Watch for signs.