David Henry's Holly

Profile: David Henry's Holloy

How many years had you been in sheepdogs when you got Holly? Did you train her, or was she already trained? From whom did you purchase her?

Holly was my first Border Collie. I purchased her for $100.00 from a man named Gordon Cline who lives in Tazewell, Virginia. I have done all the training myself.

What were Holly's greatest strengths? What were her chief weaknesses?

Holly’s strengths are her heart, her courage, and her desire to work like no other dog I have ever been around. She has tremendous balance and has always remained keen and happy to work regardless of the heat, livestock, or training pressures that I have exposed her to. I was gathering sheep for a neighbor once and Holly overheated to the point that she could not stand on her back legs. She remained in a sitting position and tried to drag herself toward the sheep. She did not want to quit working and would have died that day if I had not stopped her. I regret allowing her to work to that point and I guess I have been Holly’s chief weakness. Having said that, she did not have a natural feel for sheep and she would constantly push them too fast. When I first started Holly, things I did in her training created a fear in her that her sheep were going to escape. Whenever something went wrong during the drive, she would flank around and start bringing sheep to me, FAST! She felt that she had to constantly be in control of the sheep.

How long did it take you and Holly to succeed as a team in sheepdog trials?

As luck would have it, Holly won her first trial. It was at Seclusival in May of 1995 in Nov Nov. In July of 1996, I ran Holly for the first time in open at Jeff Hoffman’s. She won her first open trial that day and is still going strong.

Was there any one moment that caused you to realize that she was a very special dog?

I don’t think there was any one moment. I think that it was a series of events that built on one another. When I saw her handle tough situations on the farm, that day that she would not stop working even though she was overheated, and the fact that she was strong enough to do real work and still be competitive at trials, but I guess the real deciding factor was how hard it has been to find a replacement for her. When you go through dozens of dogs over the years, from many different kennels and bloodlines, only to find that nothing quite compares to what you have, it is then that you know you have been blessed with a truly great dog!

What were the greatest challenges that you and Holly faced together?

I think our biggest challenge was the fact that we were both so inexperienced.

How successful was Holly as a brood bitch? How many litters did she have? To whom was she bred? In general, what qualities did she tend to pass on to her offspring?

Holly was only bred once to Kent Kuykendall’s Coon. She had three puppies by C-section, one male and two females. Unfortunately none of the puppies turned out to be what I was looking for.

What was the most exciting/gratifying trial in which you and Holly participated?

I guess I would have to say the 1999 National Finals. Holly and I were 13th in the first go, 3rd in the semi finals, and 5th in the final round.

Is there anything else about Holly that you'd like to add?

Through a wonderful dog named Holly, God has opened a whole new chapter in my life. I have made friendships that will last a lifetime, and had the opportunity to travel all over the United States and Great Britain with these wonderful dogs. I will never be able to repay her for all she has done for me!

When Ordinary Humiliation
Just Isn't Enough