Time to get in be­hind dog trial

Matamata Chronicle - - Conversations - ABBY BROWN

Dogs be­ing whis­tled into ac­tion as they stealth­ily shep­herd sheep use to be a com­mon sight at A&P shows all around the coun­try.

‘‘You don’t see dog tri­al­ists in ac­tion very much any­more,’’ ac­cord­ing to Alas­tair Sher­rard, pres­i­dent of the Pu­taruru-Ti­rauMata­mata Dog Trial Club.

Dur­ing the up­com­ing trial in Oko­roire hunt­away dogs will punch (bark) three sheep up a hill over two dif­fer­ent cour­ses – straight hunt and zigzag hunt.

Head­ing dogs will pull three sheep down a hill into a pre­de­ter­mined quad on the long head course and through two gates, and into a pen for ‘a yard’ on the short head course.

This lo­cal event can at­tract up to 70 dog tri­al­ists with around 150 dogs over the two days from all over the North Is­land, all chas­ing points so they can qual­ify to com­pete in na­tional events.

Sher­rard said judges are com­ing up from the Hawke’s Bay which may re­sult in a larger con­tin­gent of com­peti­tors from there.

Two lo­cal club mem­bers who have com­peted in North Is­land and na­tional run-offs, Al­lan Smith and Bob Berger, will be vy­ing for points. Tro­phies and prize­money will be awarded at the end of the day.

Cap­ture the ac­tion, from 8am, on Fe­bru­ary 25 and 26 at 483 Kakahu Rd in Oko­roire. En­try is free to the pub­lic. Mata­mata-based Starfish So­cial Ser­vices has re­ceived sup­port for new premises from Mata­mata-Pi­ako District Coun­cil.

At last Wed­nes­day’s meet­ing the coun­cil re­solved to fund up to a max­i­mum of $5000 to as­sist Starfish with costs of re­source con­sent to re­lo­cate a build­ing onto its site in Rawhiti Ave.

The build­ing will be used for youth coun­selling, men­tor­ing, al­ter­na­tive education and af­ter school care/hol­i­day pro­grammes.

In its fund­ing apli­ca­tion, Starfish said: ‘‘We be­lieve the new class­room fa­cil­ity will pro­vide us with the abil­ity to fur­ther serve the greater com­mu­nity.

‘‘To date we have ex­pe­ri­enced won­der­ful sup­port through­out the com­mu­nity for our ser­vices.’’

Es­tab­lished in 2009, Starfish is also in­volved in district col­lab­o­ra­tion with youth ser­vice providers and the coun­cil to de­liver youth-led ini­tia­tives.

‘‘They work for the whole district,’’ mayor Jan Barnes told the coun­cil meet­ing.

Coun­cil­lor Brian Hunter said Starfish is a great or­gan­i­sa­tion which helps the youth of the district.

Starfish hope to move the build­ing on-site this month.

PHOTO: TERESA HAT­TAN

Last year’s Pu­taruru Ti­rau Mata­mata Dog Trial, held in Oko­roire, had at least 58 en­trants, in­clud­ing Owhango’s Lex Grat­tan and dog Brie.

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