Dog trialling wisdom being passed on

Black & Tan Young Guns co-organiser Kim Clark and dog Pound at the event launch in Northern...
Black & Tan Young Guns co-organiser Kim Clark and dog Pound at the event launch in Northern Southland on Sunday. PHOTOS: KIM CLARK/ BLACK & TAN
A series of training days aiming to get more young people competing in dog trials was launched in Northern Southland on Sunday.

Event co-organiser Kim Clark, of Piano Flat, said about 40 people attended the first Black & Tan Young Guns training day on North Range farm in Castlerock.

‘‘We dodged the rain and it was a perfect Southland day.’’

Alexander Macgregor (left) gains instruction from mentor Brian Sparrow.
Alexander Macgregor (left) gains instruction from mentor Brian Sparrow.
About a quarter of the people at the event were dog trialling mentors and the rest were aged between 14 and 30, who wanted to start or progress in the sport.

Mentors included Matt Clark, Andrew Law, Des Macgregor, Russell Peek and Brian Sparrow.

To be eligible for the free training, participants needed to be younger than 30, living in Southland and have never won an open trialling event.

Iris Brugman gets advice from mentor Russell Peek.
Iris Brugman gets advice from mentor Russell Peek.
Each young gun nominated a dog for the season.

If a dog had won an open event, it was still eligible to attend the training days.

New triallists often had good dogs but did not know how to work them, Mrs Clark said.

Dog triallist Kirsty O’Connor watches the action.
Dog triallist Kirsty O’Connor watches the action.
Many young people did not compete in dog trialling because they did not consider themselves to be good enough, she said.

‘‘That’s not true and we’ll get you to a point where you’ll give it a go.’’

The sport was traditionally an ‘‘old man’s game’’ and could be daunting for young competitors.

Asking an experienced triallist for advice could be intimidating but the young gun mentors were approachable and explained trialling rules, judging and lingo and how to work huntaway and heading dogs, she said.

‘‘They’re there to help and they’re happy to do it.’’

As a way to level the playing field, young guns will compete in the same trials as seasoned competitors but their scores will be collated separately.

Points will be tallied at the end of the season and then the top five huntaway young gun triallists and the top five heading dog young gun triallists will have a run off competition.

The first trial where the young guns will compete for points will be at Mt Linton on November 26 and 27.

‘‘That’ll be a good taster.’’

The next training day will be held in January.

Mrs Clark said Westpac NZ gave her $5000 towards running the training days.

‘‘It was a huge help.’’

Event sponsors include Black & Tan, PGG Wrightson Retail and Purina Pro Plan.

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