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Northern Colorado Herding
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JULY 8 - 12, 2024

sym•po•si•um—a meeting or conference for the discussion of some subject, esp. a meeting at which several speakers talk on or discuss a topic before an audience. A collection of opinions expressed or articles contributed by several persons on a given subject or topic.

Rawhide BuffaloQuincy tending

Haydee A courseBilly with Ducks

At Rancho Terra Norté we believe in creating a community of learning and this year’s Summer Symposium is designed to bring together herding enthusiasts of all levels in one place for a week-long emersion of all disciplines of herding (AKC A, B, C and D courses, ASCA, USBC, AHBA, and FCI Traditional Style Courses, test and trial levels). 

New symposium format for 2024 - at the opening of the symposium, we will be sorting dogs and their handlers into learning tracks based on experience and capability. Each track will include 8 working sessions (2 each day), a combination of core classroom sessions and elective classes/workshops. We have designed a herding and a tending line for each track. As the week progresses – you and your dog will be allowed to move up and down in skill levels or across herding & tending as necessary. You can substitute a working session to audit a class at a higher level than your dog is currently working.   

For those who are just starting to learn about herding & tending – the Green Track classes are taught by wonderful instructors who pride themselves in developing sound foundations on their students and establishing safe working habits. For stock dogs (Aussies, Cattledogs, Border Collies, Collies, Corgi’s, Rotties, Bouviers, Shelties, ect.) the Introduction to the Bubble coursework is designed to help handlers and stock dogs to acknowledge spatial awareness, livestock flight zones, work on stops and call offs, and learn basic techniques for controlled movement. For tending breeds (German Shepherd Dogs, Belgians, Briards, Beaucerons, Picards, Dutch Shepherds, ect.) – the Introduction to Tending coursework is designed to help handlers and their tending dogs to acknowledge an artificial bubble – the border, develop self-control, stops, and call-offs. Core classroom sessions will introduce new exhibitors to herding competition venues (AKC, AHBA, ASCA, FCI) and stock related issues.  There are several new classes including: Beginner's Guide to Tests, Herding Terminology, How do Dogs Learn, Stock Psychology, and the Novice Walking Tour to Trialing.

For those who understand herding basics and whose dogs are working off lead at the PT or Started level in competition—there are fundamental building and intro to trial course sessions for both stock dog herding and tending training. The Blue Track classes are designed to continue to develop self-control, rating livestock to achieve fluid movement and control, introduction of obstacles, gathers, and pen work. Again there is a line for stock dogs and another for tending dogs. The core classroom sessions will include course mechanics along with electives.

Those handler and dog teams who are working at the intermediate and advanced levels will be on the Orange track and honing their skills and understanding of more complex concepts – for stock dogs: working at a distance, driving away and co-driving, penning, sorting, and the shed. Tending teams will have work sessions on perfecting the placement, the narrow graze, bigger gathers, and building initiative.

Course Mechanics & trial strategy sessions are designed for those dog & handler teams that are working on that competitive edge. As always, our instructors will be available for private lessons in late afternoon/evenings. You will have an opportunity to sign up and pay for private sessions during the symposium.

Since livestock is an essential component to any herding program—Wednesday morning we will hold our "hands on livestock practicum" where students will learn how to grab and hold stock, assist in giving vaccinations, worming and record keeping.

Through our continuing partnership with the Dupzyk Ranch Foundation, we are putting a bigger focus on European Traditional Style Herding techniques with the return of visiting foreign SCC judge Benoit Voisin of Evreux, France. Benoit will be judging our French Course Trial on Friday, July5th, the AHBA Rural Large Flock Trial, July 6th, and the AHBA Ranch Trial on July 7th. Benoit will also be the evaluator on Sunday evening July 7th when we are staging a European FCI style Natural Herding Aptitude Test (NHAT) demonstration with Benoit as evaluator. While this is an unsanctioned event, it will give participants the opportunity to have their dogs evaluated by our visiting foreign judge.
Cost is $35/dog.

Benoit brings his vast experience as a municipal shepherd (the human-kind) to the symposium faculty and will be teaching the tending sessions during the week. He will also be presenting a lecture on the herding program in Europe on Thursday afternoon. Come put your French on....... Benoit's classes will be popular, register today - space is limited.

On Sunday evening July 7th we will be hosting a GSDCA Temperament Certification Test (TC) with Debbie Kaiser as evaluator. Cost is $35 per dog and limited to 25 dogs. All breeds are eligible. Click here to enter

Along with our Hand's On Practicum on Wednesday morning, there will be a field trip to North Pond Farm for a morning of actual day grazing. For the stock dog teams – Cathy Sumeraki will be leading a Pack Walk from RTN and discussing dog pack behavior. In the early afternoon – there will be Scentwork I and Scentwork II workshops being taught by Dave Stanford. Also, Jill Grant will be teaching an Introduction to Tracking lecture on Tuesday afternoon, followed by a Tracking Workshop on Thursday afternoon. We will also offer workshops on Carting, Barnhunt and Farm Dog Prep throughout the week.

Back in 2024 by popular demand - The RTN Buckle Challenge - High Combined Trial Dog and Test Dog! RTN is offering a commemorative buckle for the Trial dog who has the highest accumulated score tabulated from all the trials held in conjunction with the symposium. All levels are eligible. Test dogs also have challenge buckle for the test dog with the highest accumulated score tabulated from all the test opportunities offered during symposium week. Click here for more details.

Looking for another reason to attend RTN’s Summer Symposium? How about spending a week at the foot of the Rocky Mountains during the best part of the summer season? Here on the high plains—we enjoy sunny breezy days that cool off in the evenings. Escape the heat of the city and join us! Want to stay on site? Here is the link to reserve a dry camping space for your tent, trailer, motorhome. No electricity or water/sewer available. Generators permitted (6 am – 11 PM). Overnight RV registration

Concessions will be available on site during the symposium - if you would rather let us cook, purchase a Lunch Ticket and we will have the daily lunch special ready for you when you come off the field. Or you are welcome to bring your own food and drinks. Also be sure to bring a chair and shade for you and your dogs. Since herding is best accomplished when practicing appropriate social-distancing, we feel the symposium will provide a safe environment for you and other students/instructors.

Can’t come join us in Colorado this year - we do provide the opportunity to participate in most of the afternoon classroom sessions remotely via Zoom. You can sign up for just classroom sessions and still be part of the symposium. Click here.

If you have more time than $$$ in your checkbook - check out our expanded Symposium Internship Program that is generously supported by our partnership with The Dupzyk Ranch Foundation. There are a limited number of Internships available for students. Internships are for class tuition only , does not cover private lessons, lunches or RV parking. Exchange a few hours of sweat equity for tuition! Click here for an application.