Sheep dog trialling a sport like rugby
If there is one thing you never assume when you are talking to Alastair Sherrard and Allan Smith, it is that sheep dog trialling is all about farming and is not a sport.
‘‘It makes me quite angry when people say sheep dog trialling isn’t a sport. You have to become a team with your dog,’’ Mr Smith said.
‘‘ We practise and train just as hard as any other sportsperson. The only difference between rugby and dog trialling is they use a ball and we use sheep.’’
Mr Smith has a passion for sheep dog trialling that spans decades.
He has been a member of the Putaruru-TirauMatamata Sheep Dog Trial Club for many years and was responsible for getting Mr Sherrard, who is now the club’s president, involved.
‘‘You could say I got roped into it,’’ Mr Sherrard laughed.
‘‘But I have developed a love for sheep dog trialling. It’s like you are in partnership with your dog. Everyone’s perception of what a good dog is differs.’’
The popularity of sheep dog trialling has dwindled in recent years.
Mr Smith said it was the change in farming practices that had seen a decline in sheep farming and sheep dog trialling.
‘‘That’s what makes dog trialling an older man’s sport. Farmers are more into cows and dairy farming now.’’
The Putaruru-TirauMatamata Sheep Dog Trial Club’s 72nd Annual Trial will once again return to the Kakahu Hills Farm at Okoroire from this Friday and Saturday. About 50-60 triallists and 160 dogs will descend on Kakahu Hills to compete.
Each day competitions will start at 8am and entries in each category close at 10am each day. There is an entry fee of $6 for each dog in open, intermediate and maiden categories. Sheep dog triallists from all over the North Island will attend.
‘‘We want to make sure our guests are always looked after, there is a lot of camaraderie.’’
Team: PutaruruTirau-Matamata Sheep Dog Trial Club president Alastair Sherrard and Star.