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International Sheepdog Trials
including UK Agility 4 Nations Event
Thursday 15th to Saturday 17th September 2005

Mr John Maginn with seven year old Fly, representing Ireland

Thursday September 15th saw the usually tranquil Howle Hill transformed into the venue for this enthralling three-day event.

On the opening day visitors, competitors and stallholders alike were buffeted by wind and rain, with only the dedicated followers remaining. However, by "finals day", the elements were far kinder and Saturday saw blues skies and visitor numbers swelled in anticipation of an exciting day, where additional attractions included falconry displays and a variety of trade stands.

Local chairman Paul Evans explained that the International Sheepdog Trials have taken place for the last 99 years, and were being hosted this year for the first time in Ross on Wye.

Having already competed against 150 other dogs, the top scoring 15 dogs from each country go forward to these trails making the total 60 dogs entered. Each dog/shepherd has to complete a course in an allocated 30 minutes. The course comprises the dog having to gather a group of sheep from an allocated area, bring them to the middle of the course through a set of fetch gates, leave them and then collect a second group and repeat the process. Then with the group together comprising of 15 sheep, follow a route, usually triangular in nature through sets of gates. Finally, five of the sheep have been fitted with collars, the dog has to separate these from the group and herd them into a pen, completing the course.

Pictured is previous "One Man and His Dog" winner Mr Raymond Campbell McPherson, representing England with his 6 year old dog Roy. Mr McPherson has been running dogs for over 60 years and has won two world Championships in America, and was twice winner of the International Supreme Championship in 1975 and 1979 with a previous dog Zac.

Also Mr John Maginn, representing Ireland with his 7-year-old dog Fly. They have been working together for 7 years and Mr Maginn won the Irish National Championship with Fly’s grandfather Glen. The event was eventually won by Neil McVicar with his dog Spot, the Team Shield was won by England, the Driving Champion was Ray Edwards, representing England and Young Handler was Michael Galagher who represented Ireland.

In addition to the Sheepdog Trails, the UK Agility 4 Nations Event took place. Sponsored by CSJ Canine Specialists Foods, the Agility event is divided into Individual and Team categories. The Individuals carry out 3 runs each, firstly Jumping, followed by Agility and finally Steeplechase – each fault gains a 5 second penalty and the fastest dog over the three days is declared the winner. The rules are the same for the Team category where each team comprises of 6 members, and the best 5 results are counted.

Pictured are Scrag aged 8 a working sheepdog representing Wales, also Corrie Cas a 3 year old border collie representing Scotland, and Binka also 3 year old representing Wales. To show that Agility is not just the domain of Border Collies, Pi a 4 year old Kelpi represented England as did 2 year old Pomeranian Alfie who if not the smallest agility dog in the world at a weight of 1 and a half kilos must be the lightest!

The Individual Winner was Marilyn Wiseham representing Wales with her dog 7 years old Bess. Runner up also representing Wales was Susie Josty with her dog Sprat Attack. The day belonged to Wales as they also won the Team event, pictured are Team Members, Stuart Harmes (Capt.) with Binka, Susie Josty with Jack, Vicky Shelton with Fraggle, Marilyn Wiseham with Bess, James Coxon with Sam and Jo Fraser with Scrag.