Last tilt of trial season a good one

Omarama dog triallist Scott Hunter and Lucy won the short head and yard at the South Island sheep...
Omarama dog triallist Scott Hunter and Lucy won the short head and yard at the South Island sheep dog trial championships in Marlborough last week. PHOTO: JULIE EDWARDS
When Scott Hunter headed to the South Island sheep dog trial championships in Marlborough earlier this month, he knew he had to make the most of the experience.

As the judge of the long head at the New Zealand championships at Mangamingi, in Taranaki, next week — a role which he described as a privilege — Mr Hunter is not able to run his own dogs at the event.

So the South Island championships were effectively the end of his own trialling season — and he finished in style, winning the short head and yard title with 5-year-old bitch Lucy to take his first island title.

Back home last week on Berwen Station near Omarama, which he manages, Mr Hunter said he had gone to Marlborough with faith in his dog, but "a wee bit of luck" was also required.

He was "pretty happy" with his first run, but did not see all the other competitors’ runs to gauge how he had fared, and it was always a little nerve-racking to see if his name was going on the daily leaderboard. He was on the long head leaderboard until lunchtime on the Wednesday but then came off it, only to go on the board for the yarding the following day.

Mr Hunter was second with 94.5 points, just one point behind veteran Poverty Bay triallist Merv Utting, after the first run, but then won the run-off with 82 points to claim the title.

He described Lucy as a "pretty honest little dog" who always gave her best.

Asked the origin of her name, he said "it just happens when you’ve got kids, they name all the pups. It’s the way it is, you can’t argue with it".

Lucy was a "very good" farm dog who had a great nature and was easy to work with. She was a dog whom he had probably always known had the capability to win a title. Everything lined up at Marlborough and it was very satisfying, he said.

Mr Hunter grew up in Dipton and then went shepherding, including in the North Island and North Otago. He has been managing Berwen Station for the Croft family for the past 12 months, and he felt lucky to be allowed to pursue the sport he enjoyed.

He and his wife Carla had been heavily involved with the Omarama dog trial club, a strong club with a lot of young people involved who would be coming through the sport over the next few years, alongside some experienced campaigners.

He heaped praise on his wife and their two children, saying if it was not for them, he would not be able to participate in the sport.

Mr Hunter’s father-in-law Lloyd Smith, the prominent East Otago triallist, was third in the final of the straight hunt with his dog Jackson. He had been a "great help" to Mr Hunter over the years.

He was also lucky to have had a lot of people who he had worked for and also friends who had helped him with his interest. First and foremost, it was more about improving his dogs to make work easier, rather than being focused solely on dog trials.

It was a sport in which you only got out of it what you put into it, and he did as much training as he could. He had eight dogs, which included a couple of pups.

With a lot of young ones in the area that were keen, that also helped to "fuel the passion", and he was also happy to help them out.

Mr Hunter praised the organisers of the championships, saying the event was a credit to them. The sheep were "awesome", and the courses had been great.

With dry weather and poor prices besetting the rural sector, it was great to get away for a week and enjoy time with mates.

With about 250 dogs to judge at the New Zealand championships, Mr Hunter was looking forward to a big but enjoyable week.

In other southern results, Patearoa’s Matt Clark was sixth in the zigzag hunt with Stage.


 - Long head: Murray Child (Maungakaramea) and Brie, 193.5 1, Leo Edginton (Tolaga Bay) and Larry, 189.5 2, Neil Evans (Omihi) and Lad, 188.75 3, Brian Dickison (Greenvale) and Mack, 188 4, Chris Ensor (Oxford) and Ally, 187.5 5, Shaun Haynes (Bay of Islands) and Sue, 183.75 6, Leo Edginton and Roxy, 182.5 7.

 - Short head and yard: Scott Hunter (Omarama) and Lucy, 176.5 1, Laurence Rau (Matawai) and Kip, 172 2, Merv Utting (Poverty Bay) and Guy, 158.25 3, Ben Millar (Elsthorpe-Waimarama) and King, 157.5 4, Bernard Arends (Weber) and Parker, 157 5, Stuart Millar (Glenroy) and Laddie, 156.5 6, Rachel Law (Whangamomona) and Shrimp, 145.25 7.

 - Zigzag hunt: Hamish Linton (Pelorus) and Edge, 197.25 1, Ned George (Wairoa) and Fred, 197 2, Craig Johns (Raetihi) and Clay, 195.25 3, Trevor Rumbal (Taumarunui) and Ross, 195 4, Allen Irwin (Whatatutu) and Joss, 177.25 5, Matt Clark (Patearoa) and Stage, 170.5 6, Hamish Thompson (Parapara-Makirikiri) and Rain, 162 7.

 - Straight hunt: Hamish Parkinson (Kaitieke) and Grit, 194.7 1, Guy Redfern (Kaikoura) and Grudge, 194 2, Lloyd Smith (Waihemo) and Jackson, 193 3, Fergus Smith (Mangamahu) and Chompy) 192.25 4, Clark Chrystal (Waikoau) and Rip, 191.25 5, Leo Edginton (Tolaga Bay) and Sheildzy, 191.10 6, Fergus Smith and Punch, 190.75 7.


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