Scott Glen is a world famous sheep herder and I caught up with him in between preliminary and final rounds at Aggie Days this past spring. He’s got a mild manner about him, methodical and intentional in his way of responding. I really enjoyed our conversation and learned a lot about Stock Dogs!
Scott has a Facebook page which is nearing 3,000 followers as well as a great website – up to date, keeps everyone informed. His wife Jennifer keeps it up when they’re competing and the website also houses some great images. Scott is going to be competing in the World Sheepdog Trials in the Netherlands this year- a pretty big deal!
Let’s get into some Q&A…
When did you first start competing?
I did my first trial in 1984.
What was your inspiration to get into this world?
A year before I entered my first trial, I went to Lethbridge to Sheeporama. They had sheep shearing demos so I wanted to go and check it out, since I brought a few sheep with me. In between the shearing, there was a dog demo.
I sat as long as the demo went, and I was a little shy to ask questions. I found out who did the demo, phoned him and asked if he would train my dog. He said he would for $200 a month, and then asked, “Does your dog have eye?” I knew little about the sport… and thought to myself; well I sure wouldn’t send you a blind dog!
(For those who don’t know, since I sure didn’t either…it means the intense stare that the Border Collie has).
Is it common for other people to train dogs that aren’t their own?
It is common enough to give me a living! But more and more, people are doing it on their own. It’s satisfying, but very time consuming. I’ll take dogs in for just the winter and start training them up in October or November and then go home in April or May. They’re usually around one year old.
I like a dog with a kind eye, not a wild eye. It’s an eye into the soul. Wild eye, wild dog!
How long does it take to train up a dog for trials?
Oh, I’d say a couple of years. You can train them in everything but you can’t train experience.
Is this the first time you’ve been to Aggie Days?
It is! I’ve been to the Calgary Stampede before, I won the Stock Dog Trials in 1997 and 1998.
Why did you decide to come to Aggie Days this year?
Well, I’m gone so often now, I hardly see my fellow Albertans! I don’t do arena trials much anymore, they’re fun. My specialty is field trials.
Where have you travelled to compete?
Austria, Germany, Ireland, England, Wales, all over North America.
Do you ever get nervous competing on the world stage?
I get nervous at every trial. I’m even nervous here… you have to have some nerves, there is a fine line. Nerves can work for you and I can practice at home and not be nearly as precise at the trial. But it can also work against you.
What are some fun things that people might not know about trials?
Its super competitive, but we are a community. There is good camaraderie.
AltaPete means aim high. Where did that name come from?
That is my Scottish family motto on our Glen Coat of Arms.
Best of luck to Scott as he embarks on his journey to compete in the Netherlands- may we be lucky enough to see him compete at the Agrium Western Event Centre in the near future!
You can catch all the wild and wooly competition during this year’s Calgary Stampede World Stock Dog Championships, happening Saturday, July 8 and Sunday, July 9, 2017 which is the world’s richest indoor stock dog trial! You won’t want to miss it…
(From a Stampede veteran here is a pro tip: there’s great Air Conditioning in the building for a break from the heat! Yahoo!)