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Dog triallists are a dedicated bunch.
Father and daughter Clark and Lana Chrystal left home in the North Island at 1am on Saturday to catch the Cook Strait ferry, before driving six hours on Sunday from Amberley to Alexandra for the South Island sheep dog trial championships.
While Mr Chrystal was an experienced triallist and had competed in many run-offs, it was his daughter’s first time competing in the championships.
Miss Chrystal (20) got her first dog when she was 16 and ran him when she was still at school. She went shepherding two years ago and this was her third season competing in the sport.
She grew up on a dairy farm — having a dairy farming, dog trialling father did cause some amusement — and she now worked on a large property on the Napier-Taihape Rd.
She was "super excited" to qualify two huntaways, Belle and Carla, for the South Island championships. "I couldn’t believe it," she said.
Her father got both dogs as pups and he broke Carla in, while Belle was the first huntaway she had broken in herself. Belle qualified first and then Carla was a last-minute qualification just over a week ago.
The courses were big at Earnscleugh Station and very different from those in the North Island, and Miss Chrystal admitted she felt "a little sick" when she first saw them on Sunday.
She had also never worked merino sheep and expected to be very nervous.
"I’m just hoping that my dogs do the best they can and not be naughty," she said.
But she loved seeing the results of the work she put in to her dogs paying off and to have the opportunity to compete.
Her father was a role model; someone she looked up to in the sport, and she enjoyed travelling down and spending the week with him. "He’s a bit of a hero, yeah," she said.
Later this month, she would line up for the New Zealand championships, which were only about an hour and a half from where she worked, so it would be a much shorter commute.
The leaderboard at the South Island Sheep Dog Trial Championships at the 4pm call yesterday (in no particular order). —
Long head (judged up to run 53): Brian Dickison and Cole, Kevin O'Connor and Jax, Anthony Barton and Joy, Alistair Dickson and Bruce, Steve Murphy and Edge, Ed Aubrey and Bell, Stuart Millar and Laddie.
Short head and yard (judged up to run 35): Roger Tweed and Trump, Brendon Stewart and Swift, Graham Duff and Jess, Alistair Campbell and Flo, Neil Evans and Lad, Philip McMurray and Mist, Mark Copland and Deb.
Zigzag hunt (judged up to run 65): Jo McIntyre and Sam, Steve Kerr and Charge, Boyd Tisdall and Gee, Bruce Parkinson and Holly, Josh Brennan and Rock, Hamish Parkinson and Force, Steve Kerr and Holly.
Straight hunt (judged up to run 57): Henry Hindmarsh and Crim, Cam Bain and Hercules, Michael Benton and Ernie, Brian Sparrow and Jerry, Grant Calder and Apps, Steve Kerr and Rich, Robbie Calder and Angus.
-- Sally Rae