Course Director Guidelines


The following guidelines are to assist you with your duties as the Course Director. These guidelines are, for the most part, not part of ASCAs Stockdog rules. These guidelines are suggestions and recommendations to aid in the running of a safe and trouble-free trial and can be done by more than one person other than the course director.

1. General

You must be a member of the Australian Shepherd Club of America (ASCA) and must be present for the entire trial. You, along with the Judge are in charge of the trial. It is your duty to make sure that all ASCA rules are followed during the trial. You need to be knowledgeable of the stockdog rules, so that in the event of disputes or accusations you will be able to handle them before they reach the judge.

2. Judge

The Course Director may be responsible for choosing the Judge(s) for the trial. At least 3-4 months, preferably up to 12 months, before the trial, the selection must be made and the Judge(s) needs to be contacted. The Course Director should ask at this time if the Judge charges a fee for judging.

The Course Director should also ask at this point about their preferred travel arrangements. Most Judges fly in, once in a while they may prefer to drive in. Also ask if the Judge will be traveling with a dog. Some judges like to fly in early and fly out late, others do not. Let the Judge tell you what the best arrangements are and be clear on how reimbursements are to be made. Clarity now will be rewarded with no misunderstandings later.

Plan early on for a trusted and reliable club member to pick up and drop off the Judge at the airport. It helps greatly if the person knows what the judge looks like. Do not let the Judge wait at the airport or require him/her to find their own transportation.

If the trial includes a clinic, the Judge should be asked up front if he or she will teach the clinic. Frequently the Judge will ask for a percentage of the clinic entry fee.

Once the Judge has been obtained, the Judge needs to be sent an official letter from the affiliate club thanking him/her for accepting and detailing when and where the trial is to be held.

The Course Director may be responsible for all travel arrangements for the Judge. Good record keeping (receipts) is important. Tickets can be sent directly to the Judge by the travel agency.

Judges lodging needs to be set up before the trial as well. If the Judge will be staying at a motel, make sure that the reservations are confirmed well in advance and then double check the reservation as the trial dates are near. If there is private lodging available, ask the Judge if he or she would be comfortable there. The judges are your guests so make sure that wherever they stay is clean, has cordial people and is convenient to the trial grounds.

No later than a month before the trial, the Course Director should call the Judge and make sure that the travel arrangements are set, tickets have been received, lodging has been taken care of, etc.

Judges food and drink needs are to be constantly taken care of, be aware of any special needs or diets the Judge might have. Never allow a Judge to go hungry or thirsty. Alcohol is not allowed (for the Judge) until he or she is completely done judging for the day. Do provide shelter, shade and whatever else might be needed depending upon the weather for the Judge while judging. Offer to break for lunch or other reasons, do not let the Judge work from sun-up to sun-down. ASCA rules prohibit the total number of dogs a Judge can judge in a day to 40.

3. Trial Flier

All the information required for a flier needs to be forwarded to the affiliate club member in charge of publicity. This information needs to be finalized at least four months before the trial so that the flier can be prepared and publicity can be done in the right time frame. The flier also needs to be sent to the ASCA office and one to the Judge(s).

4. Trial Grounds

As soon as the club decides to hold a trial and the dates are known, the Course Director may be responsible for obtaining the site. The following requirements exist:

The trial grounds must have at least one arena within ASCAs legal size specifications

(100 x 200 ft). Room for convenient livestock pens and movement to and from the arena is also an important consideration. Water should be readily accessible. Shade and shelter from the weather needs to be considered depending on what time of the year the trial is held. Always plan for the worst weather.

Location and accessibility of the trial grounds should be a factor as well.

Rental costs of the grounds needs to be negotiated and finalized. Normal costs can range from free to $1,500 per day and can include nothing or everything. Ask about additional costs such as: electricity, security, camping, hired help, panels, barns, etc. It is highly recommended that all final agreements be in writing.

Insurance should be taken care of as well, such as proof of insurance which can be provided by ASCA.

5. Course Setup

The following pieces of equipment are necessary to build arena, size depending on whether its for a duck, sheep, or cattle arena.

panels- at least seven panels (not solid) are needed for each arena

pen- panels tied together

stakes- enough to secure the panels

pens- holding pens, re-pen, free-standing pen; all can be built out of lumber, wire panels, etc. The better the pen set up, the

easier it is to move the livestock.

fencing- if the arena cannot hold in the livestock; additional fencing needs to be put up in the arena.

Post-pounder, wire/twine, wire cutters, pliers, hammers

marker- survey tape or other to mark the Open handlers lines

twine or wire- no trial can be held without copious amounts of these

The set up of course panels are usually absolute. But, in the event of odd-shaped arenas, you may position the panels such that they do not comply exactly with the rule book. In the event that a variation is needed, consult with the Judge(s) and make a determination.

6. Other Materials

Numerous other items need to be procured. Table for entries, entry forms, pens/pencils, rubber bands, arm bands, most of which are supplied through the club.

Stopwatches, pencils, calculator and clipboards will be needed for the scorekeeper (1) and timekeepers (2).

Ribbons are normally ordered on a yearly basis. It is important to double-check the availability. Following is a list of required and optional ribbons.

Required: first through fourth, three sets per livestock (ducks, sheep, cattle, started, open and advanced) for a total of 9 sets. High in Trial, one set per livestock.

Optional: High Aussie, High Other Breed (could be multiples), High Junior, High Sheep, High Cattle, High Ducks.

Trophies are normally put together on a random basis. First place in each division and class should qualify for a trophy as should High in Trial awards.

7. People

Other than the Judge and the Course Director, other jobs exist as well which need to be coordinated by the Course Director.

There should be two timekeepers and one scorekeeper assigned to the Judge. They can change throughout the day, as long as they know what their job is. Often the scorekeeper is one of the timekeepers. See the ASCA Stockdog Rules for exact job requirements. It is a good idea to give this job to someone who is not trialing and really enjoys watching all the runs.

The stock handlers should be lined up a few weeks before the trial. These people will be responsible for moving the livestock from the pens into the re-pen or arena. The Course Director is responsible for managing the stock handlers to make sure they know how and when the livestock is to be handled. Cattle and sheep require at least two stock handlers. Ducks also require two people. Again, the better the set up with gates and chutes, the less the work is for the stock handlers and the less stress there is placed on the livestock.

The taking of entries should be done by someone other than the Course Director. Frequently, just before the trial, the Course Director is very busy and does not have the time to handle the paperwork associated with entries. This job includes filling out the Judges Books and preparing the run-order.

8. Duties During The Trial

Just before the trial, the Course Director will need to prepare the run order. This is done by finding out how many dogs are entered in each class and division and having a drawing to establish run-order. Once the run-order is established, it should be recorded on the Judges Book as well as posted in a visible place for all the trialers.

Next is the handlers meeting where the Judge gives his opening speech to the handlers. The Course Director should gather all the handlers and introduce the Judge.

The next step is to make sure the stock handlers are ready and the timekeepers and scorekeepers are also ready. As soon as the judge has finished speaking and all the people are in place, the trial can start.

9. The Trial

The Course Director has the ability to notify the Judge of certain events during the trial. These are all covered in the rulebook. Basically, during the trial the Course Director needs to watch all the runs, keep an eye on the livestock and make certain all the Judges needs are taken care of.

Also, the Course Director needs to be preparing for the next event, such as setting up for the next livestock class.

The run order needs to be updated with each run and handlers need to be called when their turn comes.

10. Cleanup

Once the last run is over for the day, the livestock need to be taken care of first- water and food. If the arena can be taken down, now is the time to rally the forces. The more people participating with the taking down, the quicker its over with. Do not forget about the Judge at this point. He or she should be filling out the Judges Book and other paperwork at this time.

Do keep an eye on the time so that the Judge does not miss his/her flight out. If the Judge is staying the night locally, arrange for transportation as soon as the Judge wants to leave the grounds. Frequently, with trials that last multiple days, the Judge, trialers and club members will congregate after the trial at a restaurant for dinner.

11. Paperwork

The Course Director is responsible for the initial trial paperwork which is due to the ASCA Business Office no later that 45 days prior to the trial. The information on this form is self-explanatory. Such questions as livestock breed can be answered generically (meat calves, brown ducks).

The Course Director will receive a packet from ASCA containing the latest Stockdog Rules, Judges Book Form and other paraphernalia. The Judges Book and other forms needed to be filled out and returned to the Business Office by the Course Director. It is highly recommended that the Judges Book be filled out during the trial since the Judge has all the scoresheets.

Final paperwork should include payment to the Judge for services rendered, a thank you card and perhaps a Judges gift. Hopefully, if the job is done right, the Judge will be glad to return to judge one of the affiliate clubs trials.

Veterinary care should be no more than one phone call away. Establish a relationship with a vet, contact the vet before the trial and communicate the fact that you may need him or her on short notice.

12. Livestock Health & Safety

Proper care of the livestock is very important. In the past, members of the SPCA have attended trials to make sure we take good care of the animals. Also, our trials are open to the regular public, including media, and often well-attended so be overly cautious with how the livestock is treated.

Feed and water need to be available as required. The owners of the livestock will specify what to feed and when to feed. Fresh water should always be available when the livestock are in holding pens. Make sure you have enough water tanks to give all of the livestock a fair chance to get a drink.

Holding areas need to be safe and sound. Good fencing is required to prevent animals from escaping and causing injuries to themselves. Holding areas need to be positioned in an area that the least amount of effort will be used to move the stock from the holding pen to the arena. Panels and fencing need to be sturdy and anchored so that they can withstand livestock pressure.

Overall reduction of stress needs to be high on the Course Directors list of priorities before, during and after the trials. Stress can come from out of shape or sick livestock, over-running, bad feed, bad handling, or even just basically being moved to a new place. Common sense and some awareness of the proper care of animals needs to be present. It is a good idea to make sure the livestock handlers understand why and how the livestock can be moved in a quiet and controlled manner.

13. Follow The Rules

While these above guidelines are meant to be suggestions, if there is any doubt, it is important that the Course Director be very familiar with the ASCA Stockdog Rules, especially when it comes to the safety of the livestock. The Course Director plays an important role during the trial and should therefore follow these rules as written (see ASCA Stockdog Rules Chapter 3.3 Section 6 and Chapter 3 Section 14.1 regarding Course Director responsibilities).