Palen Creek sheepdog trial ready for flocks of local spectators

BILL'S MOMENT: Amy at the pen with Bill, who placed second at Toowoomba in the improver and recently went on to win that category at Tara. Photo: Supplied
BILL'S MOMENT: Amy at the pen with Bill, who placed second at Toowoomba in the improver and recently went on to win that category at Tara. Photo: Supplied

A GAP in the sheepdog trial circuit of south-east Queensland gave Amy Lloyd of Palen Creek the idea to create the Scenic Rim’s own short course event, giving locals the chance to experience this traditional country sport on the city’s doorstep.

“The Queensland Working Sheepdog Association (QWSDAI) holds only one short course per year at Warwick show,” Mrs Lloyd said.

“We thought with a lot of members living within two hours of our property, why not hold more short courses throughout the year to encourage newcomers into our sport and fill in some quieter months when there aren’t any other trials on?

“Short courses have a different set of rules and obstacles compared to three-sheep trials – the course is all about you and the dog working together to move the sheep, whereas three-sheep trials you are to stand in one place at each obstacle and the dog has to do the work.”

It was Amy’s husband Luke who suggested the Lloyds learn about working dogs

“He browsed the internet for our options on training and dogs and found Dale Formosa in Greenbank, and we started attending his clinics,” Mrs Lloyd said.

“Originally, I would just attend a three-sheep trial here and there, but as the interest grew, I became more serious. Now, almost six years on, I try to attend every trial I possibly can because I am very passionate about the sport.”

Three years ago the Lloyds moved onto 200 acres at Palen Creek, where Mrs Lloyd predominantly trains her dogs with the help of Geoff Gibson of Yangan, one of four competitors to represent Australian against New Zealand in three-sheep trialling.

“In the lead up to a trial, I make sure I put as much time into my dogs as possible, whether it be training out on sheep or just daily runs around the property following the quad,” she said. 

“I still get quite nervous when I go to compete… many factors play into your run, it’s not just you and the dog hopefully working well together, it also depends on what three sheep you are selected. Sometimes you have two that co-operate and one that just doesn’t want to be out in the paddock.

“Short course events see a range of handlers compete either in the novice, open, or both, usually over two days. Each run you are given a time limit between 5-8 minutes.”

According to Mrs Lloyd, who co-ordinates the Palen Creek trial, each day of the weekend event holds separate novice and open competitions.

“Last year, we had 50 to 70 entries each day of our trials. It is a laid-back, enjoyable and welcoming weekend.”

Short Course Sheep Trial, July 1-2, Netherby Farm, 11658 Mount Lindesay Highway. Contact Amy Lloyd 0401 602 702 or go to the QWSDAI website.