Every man and his dog ready for championship trials

THERE won’t be any talking pigs or overly cooperative sheep, but there will be some of the best sheepdogs in the country at the 2014 NSW Sheepdog Workers Championship Trials in Molong next month.

Molong Sheepdog Workers Committee treasurer Heather Woodhouse said the championship, now in its 82nd year, was one of the most prestigious on the NSW Sheepdog Workers Incorporated calendar, and it appears set to stay that way for some time yet.

“It’s our championships until we don’t want it anymore,” Mrs Woodhouse said, with the Molong event doubling as the NSW Championship Trials for the past 30 years.

“The open trials are a very prestigious event.”

Aside from the open championship, the NSW Novice Trial, the AW and WE Bunting Memorial NSW Improver Trial will all be decided.

Dubbo’s Pip Hudson, and dog Kiwi Golda, will return in a bid to win back-to-back open titles.

Mr Hudson and Kiwi Golda will go up against handlers and dogs from as far as Western Australia in the open event, with organisers expecting close to 300 competitors.

Mrs Woodhouse said it takes years of training to achieve a working bond between handler and dog, and the best of the best would be on display come the finals of the championship on Saturday, March 22.

“It’s a bond between handler and dog,” she said, when asked what separates the best from the rest.

“When something needs to be done, it takes the slightest command, a whistle or word, for the dog to get from the race, to the yard and then the pen. That dog sometimes knows more than the handler.”

Dogs will work three sheep over a series of courses beginning on Tuesday March 18.

The best herders in the early rounds will progress throughout the championship.

“A dog that races and rushes at the sheep is never as good as a dog that takes its time,” Mrs Woodhouse said.

“Some of the younger dogs are like a bull at a gate.”

Nominations for the 2014 New South Wales Sheep Dog Workers Championship Trials close on March 4.

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