1. Judging for all courses should be based on efficient, practical work. The stock should be moved calmly and steadily, neither too fast nor too slow, in a fairly straight line through the course. Points (whole or half) are deducted according to the extent that the performance varies from the ideal. For instance, there will be minor points deducted for some deviation from the line of the course, more points deducted for more deviation from the line. Where there are minor inefficiencies such as some weaving of the stock, minor deductions should be assessed, and where the stock are moved ineffectively or inefficiently (galloping, major stops/starts or well off the logical line of approach), more points should be deducted. If one head of stock escapes or is left behind, this is to be penalized throughout the course. Scoring should take into account the total value given to the section. Where one scoring section contains more than one task or separate element, this should be taken into account proportionally in scoring the overall section. In general, minor deductions will consist of a range of from 1/2 point up to 2 points; heavy deductions will involve from three points up to nearly all the points available for that section or portion of the section where applicable; severe deductions will involve nearly all or all points available for the section or portion of the section where applicable. A score of zero on one or more scoring sections will result in a non-qualifying score.
2. On obstacles, points will be deducted for stock missing the obstacle. In general, a near miss with an overall straighter line between obstacles will lose fewer points than a great deal of deviation from the line with the stock eventually going through the obstacle. There may be more of an emphasis given to the accomplishing of an obstacle in a ranch trial. The “last head of stock” passing through or by an obstacle means the rear of the last animal in the group.
3. Each obstacle or element of a course must be attempted, but excessive retries at obstacles or elements should be avoided. If, after two attempts, an exercise has not been accomplished, the handler should move on to the next element, or after several attempts may be asked to move on by the judge. The handler may ask, and the judge indicate, if a particular effort constitutes an attempt. To count as an attempt, the occurrence should be significant in nature: e.g., the stock completely passing an obstacle, chute or pen and going some distance away from it. The judge must be consistent with regard to nature and number of attempts. At no time shall over-working the stock be allowed. If, due to circumstances such as a notably difficult group of stock or other factors, the judge indicates the exercise is finished after several attempts, or if time runs out before the obstacle or element is completed, the judge may still give a score above zero for that scoring section if a good attempt has been made, although such score will reflect the heavy penalties assessed for not successfully completing the element (this includes the final pen).
4. If no attempt is made at an obstacle or element of the course, a score of zero is given for that obstacle or element. This includes obstacles or elements not attempted due to running out of time during the previous obstacle or element, or the handler making no attempt to stay at a designated limit line or handler’s post. This is distinguished from a situation where a genuine attempt has been made, but in the end was not successful, in which case deductions may be made up to but not exceeding the value of that section. If a handler starts to move on before the judge considers an attempt has been made, the judge should so notify the handler.
5. Within each scoring section, some account should be taken of the overall working manner of the dog relative to the way the stock are handled. A dog whose work results in calm, collected movement of stock, without error and without stress, is to be the most highly valued. The dog should show a calm, yet firm, demeanor toward the stock; it should show evidence of ability to think for itself as well as obedience to commands. It should be in smooth, sustained control of the stock, not merely following stock or showing mechanical obedience in the presence of stock which by coincidence happens to make an obstacle. Some account may be taken of the degree of difficulty of the stock, but caution should be used in this and consistency of scoring must be maintained.
6. With regard to the dog, points are deducted, from 1/2 to 1 to several points, depending on the extent of the deviation from the most calm and efficient movement of the stock and the requirements of the level entered. This may include (but is not limited to): splitting the stock; needlessly circling the stock; spinning in circles; allowing or causing escapes; excessive disturbance of the stock or an aggressive manner toward the stock; lack of attention to the stock; sniffing; fouling the arena. An unnecessary but mild nip will be penalized, and several such nips will be cause for removal. An unnecessary hard grip or a severe grip will be cause for immediate removal. The dog may be removed at any time for lack of control or overrunning the stock, with a non-qualifying score given.
7. With regard to the handler, points are deducted, from 1/2 to 1 to several points, depending on the extent of the deviation from the most calm and efficient movement of the stock and the requirements of the level entered. This may include (but is not limited to): over-commanding; excessive handler assistance; touching the dog; touching the stock unless specifically allowed by the exercise; commands given in harsh tones; making threatening gestures toward the dog or stock. Heavy deductions are given for: failing to remove the lead at the designated time; prematurely leaving any designated limit line or handler’s post; physically moving or guiding the stock unless specifically allowed by the exercise. Physically correcting or attempting to correct the dog, abusive tone or language, threatening or hitting the dog, hitting or roughly handling the stock, will be cause for severe penalty or removal.
8. If stock escape from the dog’s control but remain within the limits of the course, the handler may attempt to retrieve them. If this can be done and control reestablished with reasonable efficiency and smoothness, the handler may proceed, with penalties given for the loss of control. Should there be more than two complete escapes, or failure to reestablish control within a reasonable amount of efficiency, the run will be halted and a non-qualifying score given. If the stock leave the designated limits of the course, the run is halted and a non-qualifying score given.
9. Additional requirements or penalties may not be inserted by the judge at variance with the rules or course description. For example, in the HTD I or II classes a judge may not deduct points for the handler going to the positions described in the rules for those classes rather than remaining at the handler’s post; a handler in HTD I or II who remains at the handler’s post does not receive “extra credit” for doing so, although they may do so if they choose.
10. Judging should be balanced, impartial, consistent, and focused on the efficient, calm accomplishment of the tasks. While overall consistency of judging is highly desired, it is to be recognized that between judges there may be slight differences of interpretation. This is acceptable so long as the judge remains clearly within the rules and is consistent with what is stated at the handler’s meeting.
JUDGING HTD COURSES
When waiting for the stock to settle upon being set out, the handler should send the dog in a timely fashion as soon as the stock have settled. On the outrun, the dog should move around the stock at a sufficient distance so that the stock are not disturbed before the balance point is reached, but neither should the dog be off contact. The dog should not cross over on the outrun, and should come to the balance point so that the stock begin to move (lift) smoothly and calmly toward the handler. The outrun is judged from the time the dog is set in motion until the stock has been lifted. In an arena the fence may interfere with the distance the dog needs to keep from the stock in order to avoid disturbing them; any penalties assessed will need to take this into account if it proves to be a factor. Points are deducted, from 1/2 to 1 to several points, depending on the extent of the occurrence, for (but not limited to): dog anticipating start of outrun; dog crossing behind handler at start of outrun; dog stopping on outrun; redirects; too narrow an outrun; dog off contact; dog causing the stock to shift position before completion of outrun; a minor split. Heavy deductions are given for: dog running straight at the stock; a major split; crossing over during outrun; handler leaving the post or designated area before indicated for that level.
The fetch should be directly to the handler’s post. The stock should go to the right of the post if the first wear/ drive panel is on the left, or vice versa. The line of the fetch should be judged from where the dog lifts the stock. In an arena situation this may need to take into account whether the fence was a factor in causing the dog to disturb the stock as it approached them on the outrun, thus moving the point at which the lift takes place.
Once the stock have reached the post, they should go to the right of the post if the first wear/ drive panel is on the left, or vice versa. If one or more of the stock pass the handler’s post on the wrong side, or if all the stock pass the handler’s post on the wrong side but near to it, the stock should be taken on to the first wear/drive obstacle. If the stock run down the course without coming near the handler’s post, they should first be brought near it before being taken on to the first wear/drive obstacle. Points are deducted, from 1/2 to 1 to several points, depending on the extent of the occurrence, for (but not limited to): one or more head of stock deviating from the line of the course; the stock running too fast; the stock stopping on the course; the stock retreating on the course; one or more head of stock going past the post on the wrong side. Heavy deductions are given for the stock escaping the dog’s control and running away a great distance.
Wear/Drive Through First Obstacle
The wear/drive through the first obstacle begins at the point where the stock first pass the handler’s post. There should be a close turn around the post, with the handler standing at the post. The wear/drive through the first obstacle ends when the last head of stock has passed entirely through or past the first obstacle. Points are deducted, from 1/2 to 1 to several points, depending on the extent of the occurrence, for (but not limited to): one or more head of stock deviating from the line of the course; the stock running too fast; the stock stopping on the course; the stock retreating on the course; one or more head of stock not going through an obstacle or going through the obstacle the wrong way; wide turns around the post or after the obstacle. A 2-point deduction is given for the handler passing the post (as defined in number 3 of the HTD I section under HTD Courses) before the stock have passed it, and for the handler going through an obstacle in the HTD I class. Heavy deductions are given for the stock escaping the dog’s control and running away a great distance.
Wear/Drive Through Second Obstacle
The wear/drive through the second obstacle begins when the last head of stock has passed through or beyond the first obstacle. There should be a close turn just past the first obstacle, lining the stock up for the second obstacle. The wear/drive through the second obstacle ends when the last head of stock has passed entirely through or beyond the second obstacle. Points are deducted as for the wear/drive through the first obstacle, with the addition of a heavy deduction being given for the handler pre-maturely crossing the handler’s line (which includes the plane of the opening of the 1st obstacle) in the HTD II class.
Wear/Drive To Pen
Scoring for the wear/drive to the pen begins when the last head of stock has passed entirely through or beyond the second obstacle. There should be a close turn just past the second obstacle, lining the stock up for the pen. The wear/ drive to the pen ends when the nose of the first head of stock reaches a point even with an imaginary line approximately 10 feet from the pen and at a right angle to the designated wear/drive path between the second obstacle and the pen. Points are deducted as for the wear/drive through the first obstacle.
Scoring for the pen begins when the nose of the first head of stock reaches a point even with an imaginary line approximately 10 feet from the pen and at a right angle to the designated wear/drive path between the second obstacle and the pen, and ends when the pen gate is closed with the stock inside.
The stock should go directly to the pen and enter the pen without circling it. All stock should be penned. Points are deducted, from 1/2 to 1 to several points, depending on the extent of the occurrence, for (but not limited to): stock running too fast to the pen; stock stopping on the way to the pen; stock going past or circling the entrance of the pen; stock being hurried or rushed at the pen or crowding up against the gate or handler; one or more head of stock leaving the pen after having entered it. Heavy deductions are given for the stock escaping the dog’s control and running away a great distance; handler entering the pen other than to remove the stock after the pen has been completed; handler dropping the rope if required to hold it; handler failing to close the gate after the animals have been removed when another exercise is to follow. A severe deduction is given for failure to pen all the stock; however, this is not an automatic disqualification and a score may still be given, taking into account the general difficulty of penning the particular stock.
Hold (HTD III only)
The hold begins with the handler opening the pen gate to remove the stock. The handler and/or dog may enter the pen or may remain outside. Removing the stock should be done calmly. The gate is closed again and the stock are moved a short distance from the pen for taking the ribbon off of the sheep, shedding the ducks, or splitting the cattle. Points are deducted, from 1/2 point to 1 to several points, depending on the extent of the occurrence, for (but not limited to): excessive time taken in removing and settling the stock; unduly disturbing the stock; repeated unsuccessful attempts to take the ribbon off of the sheep, shed the ducks, or split the cattle; using the fence or side of the pen to help accomplish the exercise (no penalty for using the fence in splitting cattle); doing the exercise outside the lower 1/2 of the arena. Heavy deductions are given for: the handler failing to close the gate after the stock have exited the pen; hooking the ribbon with a crook; holding an animal with a crook and/or by hand around its neck or body. Severe deductions are given for: taking the ribbon as the stock come out of the pen; grabbing an animal by skin or wool, or taking the stock to an outlet gate to hold them. (If, in the case of sheep, a shed is used instead of the ribbon removal, judging is as indicated below under “Judging HRD and RLF Courses, Sorting Exercise.” If, in the case of ducks, touching a duck is used instead of a shed, points are also deducted from ½ point to 1 to several points for unsuccessful attempts to touch the duck’s back, or deliberately touching any part of the body other than the back; severe deductions are given for roughness in touching the ducks.)
JUDGING HRD AND RLF COURSES
Due to the individual nature of these courses, some forethought will need to be given to their judging. There must be sufficient time prior to the event for any judging questions to be clarified. Every effort should be made to achieve consistency in judging. Overall, the judging of HRD and RLF courses will be similar to the judging of HTD courses; the differences are primarily in the pattern of the courses and the nature of some of the obstacles and elements.
The gather is similar in outline to the “Outrun/Lift” and “Fetch” of the HTD course, and is to be judged as indicated under “Judging HTD Courses,” above.
General judging requirements are as outlined in the sections “Wear/Drive to First Obstacle” and “Wear/Drive to Second Obstacle” under “Judging HTD Courses,” as applicable.
General judging requirements are as outlined in the sections “Wear/Drive to First Obstacle” and “Wear/Drive to Second Obstacle” under “Judging HTD Courses,” as applicable. More weight may be given to the accomplishing of the obstacle, with less emphasis on line, but this is to be kept in balance and excessive retries and/or overworking of stock are not to be allowed. Judging is also to take into account the type of obstacle (e.g., chute or bridge), whether or not the handler and/or dog is allowed to enter it, and any other applicable factors.
General judging requirements are as outlined in the section “Hold” under “Judging HTD Courses,” above. Judging should take into account the handling of the stock during the sorting exercise relative to the type of sorting exercise it is, and whether or not the sorting is to be done in a particular place and/or specified animals are to be sorted.
Sorting should be done in an orderly fashion, without excessive pushing and crowding at the gate or unnecessary pressure by the dog. Stock may be gently blocked by hand or, when use of a crook is allowed, by the crook. Stock may not be dragged, pushed around roughly, hit, grabbed by wool or skin or touched unnecessarily.
When a shed is included, the shed should be done by the dog rather than the handler and the animals that are shed off should be held apart briefly, clearly under the dog’s control; the judge will indicate the end of the shed. Minor deductions will be given for some handler assistance, heavy deductions will be given for extensive handler assistance and for failure to maintain control of the animals that have been shed off.
When the exercise involves the handler catching and physically holding a sheep, a gentle but secure hold should be effected, with the judge indicating the release of the sheep (the hold should be very brief). The judge or designated person may demonstrate a proper catch and hold at the handler’s meeting. Catching and holding should be used sparingly and should generally be limited to the intermediate and advanced levels.
Sorting or holding must be done with care and consideration toward the stock. Roughness, inappropriate or improper use of the crook or hand in such sorting exercises will be severely penalized.
Pens, Including Repen
General judging requirements are as outlined in the section “Pen” under “Judging HTD Courses,” above. In addition, judging should take into account the nature of the pen (e.g., whether take pen, pen on the course, repen), whether or not the handler and/or dog is allowed to enter it, and any other applicable factors. All gates must be closed unless specifically required to be left open.
Optional elements not covered under “Judging HTD Courses” should be judged according to their requirements; e.g., for an exercise involving the stopping of the group and keeping it in a particular place, points would be deducted for such factors as the entire group not stopping, the animals being disturbed while being kept in place, animals straying beyond any designated limits, etc. In the case of required pauses or stops, these can be included for their own sake, or as part of another exercise, or used in situations where, due to the nature of the course, the judge may need to change position to better view a part of the course. If a set time limit is used for a stop, this should be clearly indicated ahead of time, timed by the judge’s assistant, and the end of the stop indicated to the handler by the judge.
JUDGING HTAD COURSES
Judging of HTAD courses should follow the above guidelines as applicable.