Sheep dog trials hailed as ‘the best yet’

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By Tavistock People | Thursday, August 05, 2010, 10:00

Hundreds of visitors and a record turnout of canine contestants made this year’s National Qualifier Sheepdog Trials “the best yet”, according to organisers.

The event, hosted at Pennywell Farm near Buckfastleigh, saw 62 handlers and their dogs competing fiercely for the title.

Pennywell Farm owner Chris Murray said: “We’ve had an absolutely splendid day, couldn’t have asked for anything better.

“For a start there were more dogs than ever before, which has meant that the competition is harder than ever and the crowds have really been treated to a wonderful experience. The weather was great and the audience were the best ever – I think we’re rivaling Wimbledon in terms of cheering and clapping.

“Sheepdog trials are no longer on the television but we’ve had a lot of visitors commenting on how much they miss it and what fun it is.”

Handler Ian Bickle and his sheepdog Star, from Tavistock, said they had been thoroughly tested during the event.

“The sheep have been really testing and disobedient though – it’s because they’re all female,” he said.

The National Qualifier Sheepdog Trials, organised by the Devon & Exmoor Sheepdog Society, are designed to test the skill of the dog handlers as well as the sheepdogs, with entrants usually training all year before the trials.

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