A dog's life at annual trials

Tony Wall with Dame at the Omarama dog trials yesterday.
Tony Wall with Dame at the Omarama dog trials yesterday.
Tony Wall likens dog trialling to golf, rugby or any other sport - you only get out what you put in.

Mr Wall (55), who was competing at the Omarama Collie Dog Club's 94th annual trials yesterday, said the top triallists were those who put in the practice.

Mr Wall manages Simons Pass, a 6070ha property in the Mackenzie Basin, and has been dog trialling for about 30 years.

He did a motor mechanic apprenticeship after leaving school and started shepherding when he was in his early 20s.

His friends took part in dog trialling and he had always been keen on dogs.

Mr Wall usually attends six to eight trials during the season.

He was at the Waitaki Collie Club's trials at Hakataramea on Monday and will compete at his own local event, the Mackenzie Collie Dog Club's trials, at Tekapo on Friday and Saturday.

He is also judging at the Waihemo trials, near Palmerston, next week.

Requirements for a top dog included breeding, temperament and being able to be trained.

Some dogs did not have the temperament for intensive training, he said.

Highlights for Mr Wall included making two New Zealand championship run-offs, with huntaways, which was "a bit of a thrill".

Asked how his season was going, he laughed and said "terrible".

He has nine dogs at home and was running two huntaways and one heading dog at yesterday's trials.

Part of the enjoyment of dog trials was the camaraderie among triallists and he knew most of those at Omarama.

The trials attracted strong entries, with competitors from as far afield as Rangiora and Outram.

Both the weather and the sheep played their part.

Oamaru triallist Angus Ferguson, who has been attending the Omarama trials for about 30 years, said they were good, but tough, courses.


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