The South Australian Course:
- The course begins at a Casting Peg from which the dog is sent to gather and bring the three sheep to the handler.
- Once around the peg in an anticlockwise direction the worker may move to the first obstacle, the Gap; consisting of 2 .7metre panels with a .9 metre gap between them.
- After negotiating this workers can move on to the Race which is 2.7metres long .9 metre at entrance and .76 metre at outlet to which 2.7 metre wings are added to provide a 1.8 metre mouth.
- Next comes the Bridge again 2.7 metres long .9 metre wide with 2.7 metre wings and 1.8 metre mouth. A 1.35 metre ramp gives sheep access to the platform .6 metre above the ground.
- From the Bridge competitors move to the final obstacle a 2.7 metre by 1.8 metre pen with a 1.8 metre gate set square to the mouth. The trial ends when the gate is shut on the sheep or time elapses.
- Workers stand in a ring set 2.4 metres from the edge of each obstacle. A corridor of 9 metres runs between each section of the trial, with points lost for straying outside. Other deductions are made by the Judge for errors like lack of progress, the dog not stopping on end of cast, hunting sheep off course and the dog turning tail. Dogs are disqualified for Crossing (coming between worker and the sheep), Biting and Inferior Work.
The Field Trial Course
- The worker casts the dog from the 30’ circle, draws the sheep through the circle and remains in it until the first obstacle (the Gap) is negotiated.
- They then proceed to go around the flag in an anticlockwise direction without stopping, keeping the sheep on their right hand side. Points will be deducted if it is necessary to stop at the flag to negotiate it correctly.
- At the second obstacle (the Race) the worker remains in a 6’ circle until the sheep are well clear of the longest rail at the exit, after which they approach the third obstacle.
- At the third obstacle (the yard and Bridge) they firstly open the yard gate, keeping the sheep and dog under control, and then move to the 6’ circle where they stay until the sheep are in the yard. They then shut the yard gate, open the bridge gate and stand back in the tyre at the bridge until the sheep are worked over. They shut the bridge gate (keeping the sheep and dog under control) and then proceed to the fourth obstacle.
- When the sheep are in the pen, the worker steps out of the tyre and closes the gate. If a sheep escapes before the gate is closed it must be opened again and the worker must return to the tyre and negotiate the obstacle again.
- 5 sheep are to be used for each run. If sheep numbers are limited, three sheep will be used.
- A maximum of 16 minutes is to be allowed for each competitor to complete the course.
- Scale of points: Gap – 3, Race – 4, Yard/Bridge – 8, Pen – 10
- The cast will be shortened for the Novice class. Competitors in the novice will be required to bring the sheep through the casting ring (as above), but then will walk to the edge of the obstacle and work the gap from there. Novice dogs are not required to drive their sheep through the gap.
- Measurements for the obstacles shown in the diagram are approximate and may vary slightly, depending on the availability and size of the panels. The measurements of gaps and openings to obstacles will be as indicated.
Trans Tasman Course
- As with the South Australian course, the Trans Tasman course begins at a Casting Peg from which the dog is sent to gather and bring the three sheep to the handler.
- Once around the peg in an anticlockwise direction the worker may move to the first obstacle, the Gap.
- The worker must stand in the set beside the obstacle until the sheep have cleared the Gap, then the worker must follow the sheep through the Gap, at which point they begin the New Zealand section of the course.
- Together the dog and handler drive the sheep from behind along the corridor and into the free working area at the mouth of the Maltese Cross.
- Without entering the obstacle, the handler and dog push the sheep straight through the Maltese Cross. The dog then turns the sheep to the right and brings them through the second part of the obstacle, with the help of the handler who must remain in the free working area.
- The handler and dog then drive the sheep to the next obstacle, the Bridge.
- There is a free working area at the base of the Bridge where the handler may assist their dog to guide the sheep over the obstacle.
- Once the sheep have cleared the Bridge the course returns to the Australian carry, where the handler must walk along to the Pen while the dog brings the sheep.
- The handler must stand in the set by the Pen until the sheep are all in the Pen.
- When the handler is confident that the sheep are settled they step out of the set and shut the gate. The trial ends when the gate is shut on the sheep or time elapses.