TOP DOGS IN ACTION
ENGLISH NATIONAL SHEEPDOG TRIALS & SUFFOLK ON SHOW: JULY 28-30
THE English National Sheepdog Trials are coming to Suffolk for the first time in the 100-year plus history of trials organised by the International Sheep Dog Society (ISDS). And to celebrate all that the county has to offer, Suffolk on Show will be showcasing local food and drink, countryside crafts and skills, and rural businesses.
“The events give visitors the opportunity to watch the very best of working sheepdogs, in the magnificent setting of Haughley Park, and to enjoy a wonderful family day out,” says organiser Bob Wilden, chairman of the East Anglian Sheepdog Society (EASS) and owner of The Woolroom East Anglia. Highlights include three days of trials by England’s top 150 sheepdogs and their handlers, plus demonstrations of dogs working in pairs. Information on the trials, and advice on dog training and behaviour, will be provided by The Freedom of Spirit Trust for Border Collies.
“For me, the stars of the show are the dogs and handlers who have come from all over the country,” says Tom Huddleston, ISDS chairman. “These teams are the best border collies and handlers in England. Most of the dogs are the unsung heroes of the fields and hills of our land. At the end of the competition we will see champions, who will go on to compete against the champions of Ireland, Scotland and Wales.” One local competitor is shepherd and grazier Ed Hawkins from Nedging. After taking part recently in the World Trials in the Netherlands he is looking forward to competing on home territory with his dog, Troy.
Alongside the trials, Suffolk on Show exhibitors will be encouraging visitors to sample their wares – favourites such as Alder Tree ice cream, Stokes sauces, and The Suffolk Coffee Company, are joined by Casa de l’Oli, DJ Wines from Monk Soham with their delicious handmade fruit wines, fruit liqueurs and mead, The Lamb Charcuterie Company, and Walking Wok. The Suffolk Baa, run by Complete Event, features Calvors fine craft lagers and ales from Coddenham, Adnams ales from Southwold, Aspall Cyder brewed in Debenham, and fruit liqueurs from DJ Wines. Don’t miss the specially created Suffolk Summer Punch.
The Arts and Crafts marquee includes demonstrations and exhibitions from wildlife artists, artist blacksmith, feltmaker, woodturner, knife maker, landscape photographer, and jewellers and quilters. The Museum of East Anglian Life, celebrating its 50th anniversary, is showing archive footage alongside period enactments, and Vikings from the Woodbridge Riverside Trust are travelling with their replica longship. Visitors can mint their own coins and grind their own corn.
Traditional farm animals, including the Suffolk Trinity of black-faced sheep, Red Poll cattle and Suffolk Punch horses, will be in attendance. On Saturday only, the East of England Co-op is hosting a ‘brainy dog’ who works for the Headway charity. They are also offering the chance to win a hamper of their Sourced Locally goodies.
The events are sponsored by Gilbertson and Page, PPG Industries, Ipswich Building Society, East of England Co-op, Anglian Water, The Wool Room, Muntons plc, and Jeffries of Bacton, and are supported by Babergh and Mid Suffolk District Councils. Proceeds go to local charities.
Ed Hawkins with his dog, Jess, and nephew Lucas Shaddick, at this year’s Suffolk Show.
Niki and Bob Wilden, organisers of Suffolk on Show