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Having Fun at Trials
Stockdog Program starts in Europe!
By Sandra Zilch (Aussie Times, March/April 2004)

Everybody was very excited when the first Stockdog Trial in Europe started in June 2003. “How would the dogs work in a situation like this? With strange stock? What would the judge say? Would he like the workmanship of the dogs and the handling of the inexperienced handlers?” These and more questions came up during the preparations of the trial.

We already had had some fun trials for “training” before. One of them was in December of 2002, on a VERY cold, windy and rainy day on JJ Ranch in the Netherlands. My husband and me had been driving all the way from Germany with some dogs. Boy, it was cold. You had to get through the course on a field covered with ice rain. But it was fun, believe it or not...

Roger Stevens was the judge that was invited for the first ASCA sanctioned trial. He stayed in the Netherlands for about two weeks to do clinics and judge two ASCA sanctioned stockdog trials with all kind of lifestock available. This was the beginning of ASCA´s stockdog program in Europe.

Later in the year of 2003, Maarten Walter came over to do a clinic and sheep trial in Sweden and also in Germany. And finally, Marie Murphy too agreed to come over and do a clinic and judge a sheep trial in Sweden and a trial with all kind of livestock again in The Netherlands. Many handlers could get their first titles on their dogs. Now we have no reason anymore to think that we and our dogs could not be good enough for ASCA trials. And more and more people over here are getting interested in this stuff.

The conditions were not always too good. We had a very hot and dry summer in Europe (not only a cold and rainy December (!)) and trialing was a real challenge for people and dogs and stock of course. I remember people telling me about the first trial day with Roger Stevens judging when a storm came up and it was difficult to even see the cattle in the arena because of all the sand that was blowing around.

All these trials were organized by people from WEWASC. The Western Europe Working Australian Shepherd Club is only the second ASCA Affiliate Club in Europe and concentrates mainly on stockdog trials. We now have members from Switzerland, Austria, Germany, Belgium, The Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden, Finland and Norway. We also have two members in the US.

There are more events already planned for 2004. We will have our first trial with two judges at a time and hopefully we will also have obedience trials too. If you like to visit us in Europe and see more great pictures from our events, go to www.wewasc.com