Sheep Dog Trials 2014 – A Round Up (sorry!)
The world of sheep dog trials has been very busy lately, with the Welsh, Scottish, Irish, English, International and World Sheep Dog Trials following hot on each other’s heels over the last few months. As sponsors of the International Sheep Dog Society, Gilbertson and Page have been equally busy keeping up with them; chatting to customers at the stand at each trial and providing the well-deserved prizes. Here’s a round-up of the news from the trials, including the winners, of course.
The Irish National Trial
The first of the nationals to take place, the Irish national trial took place on the An Grianan Estate, Burt, Co. Donegal from the 24th to the 26th of July. About 150 competitors from the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland and the Isle of Man took part with the top 15 going forward to represent Ireland at the International Trial. The winner was John Maginn with Mozz, while a promising Young Handler Claire Somers-Cashen with her sheep dog Clare would go on to do great things this year. The Brace winner was Frank Cashen with Jip and Alex.
The Welsh National Trial
Hosted by the Welsh National president Alun Jones at Tyn Rhyd, Selattyn, Oswestry from the 31st of July to the 2nd of August, the Welsh National Trial offered all attending panoramic views of the Ceiriog Valley, the Berwyn mountain range and a whopping seven counties. However, they managed to tear their eyes away from the scenery to see Medwyn Evans with Meg win overall and go on to captain the Welsh national team. The Brace Winner was Kevin Evans with Greg and Kim, whilst Arran Games and Choc won the Young Handler category.
The Scottish National Trial
The only female winner of a national trial for 2014 was the Scottish National Champion Julie Hill with Ban, who was triumphant at Bedrule, Denholm, Hawick on the 9th of August. Julie and Ban, along with Mac, were International Brace Champions last year, so Julie is certainly one to beat! In second was Ian Brownlie with Mo, the 2013 International Sheep Dog Trial’s Supreme Champion. Young Joe McKenzie with Tweedie won the Young Handler’s event at the Scottish National, whilst Brace winner was Hamish MacLean with Roy and Kim.
The English National Trial
The new president of the English National Sheepdog Society, Dick Roper, hosted the English Trials at Broadfield Farm, Eastington, Northleach, Gloucester between the 15th and 17th of August, where the top 150 dogs in England were be whittled down to 15 winners to go through to the International Trials. The winner was James Howard and Wisp, who would go on to Captain the English National Team, whilst the Brace Winner was Ricky Hutchinson with Sweep and Fly. Young handler winner was Rachel Page-Murdoch with Mona.
The International Sheep Dog Trial
The fifteen winners plus two brace winners from each national trial form a national team to go through to the International Trial where they compete in qualifying events on the first two days. The fifteen best from these events go through to compete in the Supreme Championship course on the third day, which consists of a tricky ‘double fetch’ in which the dog must fetch ten sheep to the middle of the field before returning to fetch another ten.
The location of the International Trial rotates between the four nations each year. This year it was Ireland’s turn and the trial was held on the Hamley family farm at Kilbegnett in Co. Roscommon from the 12th to the 14th of September. The International Supreme Champion was James McGee with Glencregg Silver. The young handlers did particularly well with the aforementioned Irish National Young Handler Claire Somers-Cashen coming out best on home turf.
The World Sheep Dog Trial
First held in 2002, the world sheep dog trial is a tri-ennial event (every three years) and was the ISDS’s solution to the huge number of international sheep dog handers who wanted to get involved in the International Trials. Re-organising the International would have been a logistical nightmare and so the World Trial was born. The 2014 World Trial saw handlers from 25 countries enter, with 240 dogs taking part. South Africa and Spain competed for the first time in 2014 amongst regulars from Norway, the Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden and Germany, to name just a few.
The 2014 World Trial winner was Michael Shearer with Bob from Scotland, followed by Kevin Evans and Greg from Wales and Ricky Hutchinson with Sweep from England. Jaran Knive with Bea from Norway was fourth and the only female handler in the final, Susanne Lejuez with Kryri Jaff from the Netherlands, came ninth.
The International Sheep Dog Society website was a valuable source of information when compiling this blog post. Formed in 1906, the society now has over 6000 members from all corners of the globe, who compete regularly in qualifying sheep dog trials in their home regions, culminating in the annual International trial and, every three years, the World Sheep Dog Trials. Carefully bred to preserve intelligence, stamina, agility and natural herding instincts (never bred for appearance), any sheep dog registered with the ISDS can be looked up in the stud book to discover details on parentage to aid breeding decisions. The Trials therefore also form a handy marketplace for matching suitable breeding partners.