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Utility Day ~ 25th Sept 2005

An account by former committee member Heather Donnelly

I was looking forward again to the Utility Day, having had a great day out at the last one held last April.

We were fortunate again to have the use of Ann Jordan's lovely home and paddocks to put some of our dogs through our chosen disciplines. The weather was fine and warm and fortunately the showers held off until the very end of the day when most people had gone home or were having a last cuppa.

Jackie Delaney took over Ann's kitchen and did a brilliant job of feeding everyone. Doing this in someone else's kitchen is no easy task!

I have to start as usual by mentioning the scrummy food. In fact it was so good that Chairman Bob, who was booked to go to Belfast champ dog show changed his mind, as he cannot resist Doreen Hutchinson's home made puds. Doreen was also kept busy judging both the Silver and Gold KC Good Citizens tests all day. Joan Cattell judged all the Bronze KC Good Citizens and with the many entries it took her most of the day! I believe there were many members from 'Beacon' Agility Club in attendance.

Ann Jordan was busy testing dogs' (and their owners') ability to work and handle sheep. Fortunately no owner got stampeded during the session! There seemed to be some fine performances with some dogs showing much natural ability although I believe that others were over keen and caused 'rope burn' marks on their poor handlers hands!

Lyn Norton, our secretary, with partner Tony in tow, were organising new members and keeping scores. Lyn also rolled up her sleeves and helped with the breed standard assessments and worked one of their Border Collies in the Reliability Test. One of the components of this test is for the dog to be recalled and then dropped at a mock curb and this proved difficult for many dogs. When Lyn's tri coloured male attempted this exercise he was so overwhelmed by Bob's presence that he rolled on his back exposing his bits! The dog kept rolling over so poor Lyn had no choice except to abandon this part of the test!

Sheila Gay helped judge the Reliability Test and was also kept busy judging the Obedience and Breed sections. Most dogs entered in the breed assessment section passed and it was so nice to see Working Sheepdogs, working bred Border Collies as well as show-bred Collies (Border & Bearded). As most dogs hadn't been ringcraft trained some pulled their handlers and jumped around with enthusiasm and unfortunately movement couldn't be assessed this time, so a few will need to take this part of the test next time.

Steve Jenkinson was kept busy all day assessing the Agility Section and even if people didn't pass the test this time they seemed pleased with their dogs attempts. What is so nice about the Utility Tests, and making it different from other competitions, is that if you don't succeed the first time you can have several attempts which is all very encouraging. I also saw Steve with camera in hand, so look out next edition of 'Border Heartbeat'!

I was delighted to have two entrants for the 'working trials' section which comprised of a 15 min aged track followed by a search square. The first dog, a show bred Border Collie, ably handled and trained by Madaleine Hand, did a brilliant track with all 4 articles out of the square, very impressive to watch and one which will do well in the future.

Sheilagh Hyde and Jan Brearley were kept busy doing whatever was necessary helping the day to be most successful and rewarding for everyone. I can't mention all the successes in this report as there were just too many this time.

I invited two 'agility friends' along this time and both seemed to enjoy themselves and at the end said, "Isn't it nice to just spend a whole day out, without pressure, just dogging!"



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