THE Trans Tasman Sheepdog Trial at Warwick in July saw Palen Creek trialler Amy Lloyd take third place in the open event, after being awarded Novice Handler of the Year by the Queensland Working Sheepdog Association.
It was Mrs Lloyd’s second Trans Tasman competition.
“I took a team of five dogs, four males and one female, all differing in ages and abilities,” she told the Times this week.
According to Mrs Lloyd, the trial didn’t start off quite as she had planned.
“I was drawn to be first handler out for the weekend, which makes it hard as you don’t know what the sheep are like and where you will have to place your dog to hold the weight of the sheep well without being deducted points.
“I had nominated Victa to be my second dog out.
“I went through the first day in the lead, and it wasn’t until the final day I went into the finals in sixth position.”
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According to Mrs Lloyd, her placing came down to a matter of timing.
“In my finals run I did not have a timer on me, so I was unaware of when my 15 minutes would be up,” she said.
“I was quite unlucky to have time run out just before I closed the pen, meaning I lost 30 points for not completing the final section of the course.
“I was so pleased my run went well and Victa handled the sheep as calmly as he could because the sheep used in the finals seemed to be more difficult and lighter than many others.”
Garry Barker and Geoff Gibson, who both had multiple dogs competing for Queensland representatives 2017, placed first and second, Mrs Lloyd said.
The Queensland Working Sheepdog Association AGM took place on Saturday, July 29, followed by a dinner and the annual trophy presentation, where Mrs Lloyd was awarded Novice Handler of the Year.
“I’ve been lucky to have had a successful year trialling,” she said.
“It’s harder to gain points when you are out of Encourage and competing against handlers that have been doing it for many years.
“I just missed out on Encourage Handler of the Year last year by a matter of a few points, so this year being awarded the Novice Handler of the Year Trophy just reminds me that I am heading in the right direction with my dogs and knowledge.
”From here, I will keep aiming for success in the sport. I also have three pups at home I want to train myself to hopefully trial. All three pups have the nature and style I am looking for in my team.”
Next, Mrs Lloyd is heading to the Queensland championships at Allora from August 24.
“Last year I was lucky enough to have two dogs place in the top 20, so it will be interesting to see how I go this year.
“Anything can change; it all depends on the sheep, the weather, the judge and how your dog wants to work on the day,” she said.