Farm life on Oakwood Grange

World Sheepdog Trials


It’s Friday 15th July and Katherine and I have just got back from Ireland and the 2005 World Sheepdog Trials, held at Tullamore. The Irish Trial Committee did a fantastic job producing such an interesting country fair and on the Sunday numbers in the area of 15,000 apparently came to the event, which is a pretty staggering amount of people. But the wonderful weather, albeit a little hot, certainly helped the organizers have such a successful trial. The trial was made up of two days of qualifying, the Thursday and the Friday. Then on the Saturday there were 42 semi final runs, followed by 16 finalists on the Sunday for the double lift course.

Working with the Smithy

Smithy demonstration at the 2005 World Trials

Approximately 240 dogs competed in the qualifying trial from 21 countries and on three separate qualifying fields. The dogs that ran on each field, each day, competed against the other dogs on that field and on that specific day and on the second day of qualifying, the sheep were rotated to different fields. Basically the one field they ran the little horned hill sheep and the other two fields ran Suffolk cross sheep, with a quite different approach in their style and speed around the course, with the little horned sheep being a lot swifter than the Suffolk.

On the Saturday the 42 semi finalists competed on the main field with the smaller, horned hill sheep. It was an excellent course for the semi finals on a beautiful parkland field and the sheep were exceptional for that day.

My daughter Katherine came to the trial with me and so we had two cameras operating, making it a little more interesting, I hope. She was a lot better at asking for interviews than I am and so we managed to talk to most of the handlers in the semi finals and finals, although there were some who completely refused, but not many.

Crew 2005 World Trials

Our crew from the 2005 World Trials in Ireland

We are planning on producing three different programs of the trial. A 2 hour highlights of the whole event, then a 2 hour program on the semi finals, and finally a 2 hour program of the top six or seven runs, depending on how many full runs will actually fit into the 2 hours. For a change we are going to be producing these programs in DVD, and that’s why we are going to the two hours. The ISDS has had an interest in a program on the top runs of the final day and that is why we are doing the program on the top finalists. As for the semi final program, it seemed to me that there was a good reason to include many of these top competitors into a program, such as Tommy Wilson’s run for the United States, Scott Glen’s run for Canada and many others. Without a separate program covering the 12 hours of the Semi Finals, there would be very little time to show much of the Saturday’s runs in the highlights video. We were glad to have been able to sponsor Scott Glen in his travels to Ireland and so it’s important to cover some of these runs.

My job right now is to capture the 30 plus hours of footage from the two cameras onto our hard drives, so we can start the process of scripting, storyboarding and then editing. The editing is Katherine’s job for the rest of the summer. I hope that you will be interested in theses programs. Rural Route Videos will be handling these videos for all our customers in North America and other NTSC customers, like Japan and some of the South American countries that require NTSC. The ISDS will be handling the programs for the other areas of the world, Europe, Australia, New Zealand etc. The programs will be available by the beginning of September, in time for the International in England.

I would like to congratulate all the handlers on their efforts and commitment and the continued sportsmanship that is shown in this sport, where the almighty dollar is secondary to the culture of the Border Collie.

The next World Trial has been agreed upon for 2008, although I expect there’ll be a great deal of thought put into it’s timing and location over the next little while. I’ll also be making up some pages about the World Trial event for my web site.

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