NATIONAL SHEEPDOG TRIAL, HALL ACT
Celebrating 74 years of sheep dog trialling in the Nation’s Capital
DATE: WEDNESDAY MARCH 15TH – SUNDAY MARCH 19TH 2017 WHERE: HALL SHOWGROUNDS, HALL, ACT
- A highly-competitive and challenging sport.
- A fascinating insight into Australia's rural life.
- A compelling sometimes nail-biting spectator experience.
- An example of extraordinary team work.
The National Sheep Dog Trials are all these things and more.
A sheepdog trial is a competitive dog sport in which herding dogs move sheep around a field, fences, gates, or enclosures as directed by their handlers. In Australia, there are several events, but the key element is the control of three to six sheep by highly trained dogs under the control of a single handler. Both time and obedience play a part, as competitors are penalised if a sheep strays from the prescribed course.
The Nationals' course is considered to be one of the most challenging in Australia and attracts competitors from all over the country.
Qualifying events are held throughout the week with finals conducted on Sunday 19th March. Spectators are welcome. Expert commentary will be given during the trial and any member of the public wanting to learning more about sheepdog trials will be able to get more information at the event. Trainers and handlers will be on hand to answer questions from spectators. So, come along and get a fascinating insight into Australia's rural life.
The event runs from Wednesday 15 March to Sunday 19 March.
Entry – FREE Wednesday to Friday, Saturday & Sunday 18yrs & over $5 per person or $15 per car
MEDIA CONTACT: Charlie Cover, Phone (02) 62262563 Email email@example.com FOR MORE INFORMATION: http://www.nationalsheepdogtrials.org/
About Herding Dogs
Herding dogs belong to breeds developed for herding. Their ability to be trained to act on the sound of a whistle or word of command is renowned throughout the world. The Border Collie, the Australian Kelpie and Australian Koolie are the most common breeds of dogs used in sheepdog trialling in Australia.
About the Event
The Trial Course is laid out with race, bridge and pen representing the obstacles the sheep dog encounters in his daily work. Handlers (called workers) and their dog have 15 minutes to complete the entire course. Each competitor starts with 100 points, some of which are deducted for errors by the dog and the worker, or obstacles not negotiated. Should the dog cross between the sheep and the worker they are deemed to be out of control and disqualification results.
The cast, lift and draw represent the muster and delivery of the sheep. In a good cast, the dog should go wide (either left or right) and not stop until it is behind the sheep or on a point of balance where it can move the sheep and bring them in a reasonably straight line to the worker.
The worker then walks up the arena in a straight line indicated by flags, and ideally, the dog should keep the sheep close to the worker within an area 7-8 meters wide. The worker then proceeds to the race where he stands in a ring 3 meters to the side of the race entrance and remains there until the sheep have cleared the obstacle.
To negotiate the race and the bridge the dog must not only "cover" the sheep to stop them escaping, but "force" them in the right direction. Usually it is with these obstacles that the sheep find any weaknesses in the dog's working of them. When the bridge has been cleared, the worker walks in a straight line to the pen and the trial is not completed until the gate is closed.
Points are deducted when the sheep are off course or escape, or when the judge considers the dog is not working, the dog turns tail, or the worker wanders off course or stops to assist the dog.