Avonlea Queen Anne's Lace,


HTCH Lacie

U-CDX, U-AGII, HTCH, DC Avonlea Queen Anne's Lace, CDX, HX, AX, AXJ, NAP, NJP, HTD III-s, HTD I-d, HRD III-s, STDs d, ROM1, Lacie, began her herding career at about 8 months of age, March 1995, when I took her to Linda Franklin's to see if she had any herding instinct. Lacie turned on and from the beginning was covering, balancing, and controlling her stock. I decided then that I would continue training her. Previously, I had put tested titles on a couple of Shelties. Since I had no stock or stock close by that I could use, I assumed the tested levels would be as far as I could go with Lacie, too. I decided to try to get to Linda's once a month for training, since it was about a three-hour drive one way, and see where that got us. At some point, I decided working with Lacie and sheep was fun, so asked Linda if she thought it was possible for me to be able to compete at the trial levels with this dog. Her comment was, "by training only once a month, it will just take you longer." That was enough of a "yes" for me. Armed with the knowledge that I could do this, I decided to continue to train Lacie as long as she and I were having fun. We would go as far as we could, no matter how long it took.

Lacie 3rd and 4th High In Trial's - 15KB
Lacie and Jane Herding

That was over eight years ago. During that time, Lacie, on average, hasn't seen sheep more than once a month, probably less. I know the first year I could count the times I'd had her out on stock on one hand! There were times when I managed to find a closer place to train and got her out more, but then there were months on end when we didn't get out at all. I traveled up to 6 hours to go to clinics or friends' homes to find sheep we could work. I just kept plugging away. Lacie was always willing, kept improving and having fun, so I kept driving and training and learning!

Lacie and Jane Herding
Lacie and Jane Herding
Lacie Herding
6 AKC High in Trials
Multiple AHBA High in Trials and AHBA Reserve HIT

Lacie was a dream to train, especially for a novice such as myself. I would go to a training session beginning at point A when we arrived. We'd leave at the end of the day at point C. I'd not be able to go for a month or more and would expect her to be back to either point A or at least point B, but with Lacie it was usually point E or F. It was as if she had, in between lessons, thought about what we had done and moved ahead from wherever we had ended. I'm sure if I had had the knowledge and experience, she'd have been trialing sooner! Her biggest handicap was her novice handler and trainer!

Lacie Herding - 18KB
Lacie Herding at Cappy Pruitt Clinic May 2002 - 18KB
Lacie's version of a Border Collie - 19KB

Highlights of her herding career are numerous. She was one of the first Malinois in the Midwest to be competing in the trial level classes, so almost everything she did seemed like a first. The very first time we went into an arena together, I strode in with my dog, looking confident and relaxed. Internally, I, of course, was a nervous wreck as it was my first time on a trial field! Lacie, however, was ready. She was comfortable on stock. She didn't grip or push too hard. She knew her flank and stop commands. She and I were going for it! Unfortunately, even before the sheep were out on the field, the judge came running up to the fence threatening my "coyote". "If that coyote even looks at the sheep, I'll have you off that field so fast your head will spin and neither you nor your dog will ever herd again! These sheep have been harassed by coyotes before and I won't let your coyote bother them!" I was stunned and now terrified! My dog was NOT a coyote! Luckily Lacie did her usual superb job in spite of the fact her handler was in tears most of the run. She had managed to earn her first herding trial leg and her first placement. Although some people still call her a coyote, I wear my coyote shirt proudly, as she's one good herding coyote!

Lacie Herding, HC - 16KB
Lacie Herding - 20KB
Lacie Herding, September 2002 - 16KB

Unfortunately, though, that attitude was the norm when we started herding. Very few Malinois competed past the instinct level and most judges and clinicians were terrified of them. Luckily for Lacie, she soon had everyone eating out of her paw. She almost immediately started winning HITs or RHITs. One such win was accomplished with a run she had after dark as the trial ran longer than planned. The judges were using flashlights to show me where the sheep were! Throughout the years, judges, stockowners, and spectators have come up to us after her runs and said how much they enjoyed watching her. They enjoyed it not because she was a different breed, but because she was so calm, could handle any type stock, and always did a nice job. Once we were in the advanced classes, we started consistently competing against border collies at most of the trials but Lacie continued winning HITs and RHITs. She rarely had a "home court" advantage. We would show up at a trial never having been at that location before, never having seen those particular sheep before, and probably not having trained for a month or more, and still she'd manage to beat the local competitors. Our biggest problem was trying to get to more than one or two trials a year. While Lacie was competing in herding, she was also being shown in conformation, obedience, and agility. Attending herding trials was, therefore, often difficult not only because they were so far away, but also because they often conflicted with other events Lacie and I wanted to enter.

Lacie Herding Nova 2002 - 20KB


ABMC, 2001 National
    HIT "B" Course

Lacie and Jane at the 2001 ABMC National Specialty Herding Trial

Lacie is now nine years old. She finished her HTCH by going RHIT in typical Lacie style. The day after she finished I told her if she wanted to continue to compete, we would. She just had to show me that she wanted to continue by doing well in our next trial. Once more Lacie rallied to the challenge and qualified with a 91 for an insurance leg. I guess Lacie and I will continue showing up at herding trials for as long as she continues to have fun and wants to herd!

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