World Sheepdog Trials
Photographs and Reports about the World Trials will be added in this section over the course of the project.
If you have any photographs relevant to this section, please do send them in.
A Brief History of the ISDS's World Trials
For some years prior to the holding of the first World Trial in the UK, there had been “invitation” events where UK handlers acquitted themselves well against the home opposition.
The first American World Trial Championship was held in 1973 and won by Raymond MacPherson with Nap. Three years later he retained his title with Tweed. Dogs of power and authority, Tweed and Nap coped well with very different climatic conditions and challenging courses. The 1973 Championship was run over three days on three separate courses in Pennsylvania and Maryland. Nap took on all comers to gain a very impressive final score of 290 out of 300 points, whilst another of Raymond’s dogs, Speed, gained third place. Dividing them was J Templeton’s unlucky Fleet who was to lose his life so tragically in a motel fire only days later. John Templeton’s other dog, Cap, came fifth, having been crowned International Supreme Champion the previous year. Tweed took the 1976 Championship held in Maryland with 276 out of 300 points. By Gilchrist’s Spot, he proved the value of his breeding by giving Raymond his second title.
In the New Zealand World Championships, Allan Heaton and Clarence Storey both represented Britain; Clarence in 1973 and Allan in 1975. In his book “Sheepdogs My Faithful Friends” Eric Halsall questions whether there could ever be a true World Championship. He perceived that there would be difficulties in varying standards of rules and judging. Clarence Storey commented that he and others who went out to work their sheepdogs in other countries’ trials were “pioneers” and Archie McDiarmid, one time Chairman of the ISDS, insisted that the world championship should be “a real one embracing every country willing to take part. It must give every competitor a fair and equal chance.” These comments would have been of undoubted value in determining how to proceed with such an ambition but the staging of a true World Trial in this country was impeded for some time by restrictions surrounding the rabies threat.
It is interesting that Jim Easton, then Chairman of the ISDS, was instrumental in facilitating the holding of a World Trial by evidence he presented to government. The rural community was reeling after the terrible impact of Foot and Mouth Disease in 2001. No trials had been possible here and that had impacted severely on the Society as a whole. Trialling resumed in 2002 with stringent biosecurity measures in place but a real fillip was given with the staging of the first World Trial in Bala. This prestigious event is held every three years and has produced some really classy runs. In the inaugural year Aled Owen triumphed with Bob. In Tullamore, in 2005, Gordon Watt’s reliable York took the honours. Three years after that, in 2008, Aled added to his silverware by gaining the title with Roy. At the rain soaked World Trial in Lowther in 2011 James McGee’s lion hearted bitch, Becca, was rewarded with the trophy. In 2014, at the tip of Scotland in Tain, a Scot, Michael Shearer with his dog Bob, gave the home crowd a lot to cheer about. Then, last year, the host country was the Netherlands when the Trial was held in Herenweg. Fittingly, it was won by Jaran Knive with Gin.