These were very tough sheep and Stormy was quite young, but she handled the sheep with confidence. She earned the first half of her Herding Capability Test title, and received lots of praise.
The 2002 Samoyed Club of America National Specialty took place in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. Lots of fun working events were offered, alongside the conformation show. Lightning and Nimbus hiked with nearly 20 other Samoyeds (including their brothers Loki and Draco) on the Appalachian Trail. Our boys, seen on the right, hiked in their royal blue Wolf Packs Reflector dog packs. Their brothers are next to them wearing their purple Banzai dog packs.
The picture above shows Lightning pulling 14 times his body weight in the SCA Novice Weight Pull. He worked his heart out for me, and pulled the second highest weight that day, 757 pounds! He made 12 pulls in all, increasing by 50 pounds each time. All of his pulls were under 6 seconds, with the exception of his last which was under 7 seconds. Several people commented that Lightning really lives up to his name!
Lightning also worked sheep, and completed his Junior Herding Dog (JHD) title at this event. He did a lovely job of moving three sheep around a field the size of a football field, and through several gates, in a controlled manner.
Our puppy entered the arena with much enthusiasm for running after those sheep or play with the other dogs present. Many of the people there were surprised that an energetic northern breed non-herding group puppy could display proficiency in herding, and were surprised that he was entered in the trial.
When our turn came, the crowd's interest level spiked. Lightning walked into the arena like he owned it. Debbie Pollard, one of the judges, introduced the Samoyed breed to the audience with a nice historical reference to their reindeer herding heritage. Lightning did a perfect sit and stay, controlled the sheep with grace and style, and returned them safely to their pen. The audience applauded loudly. Lightning looked very pleased with himself, nether knowing nor caring about his new title. He just enjoyed moving those sheep!
After 10 minutes we rested the stock and the pup until all were recharged. Then it was back to the pasture with Roy. Just as much enthusiasm was evident as Lightning completed his second session of about 10 minutes. Our good boy didn't bark at the sheep, even though he was thoroughly excited to be running with them. What a neat way to work the mind and muscles of a trail dog! Herding will definitely be a fun way to keep our young pup fit for his future working career.